Leasing Land to a Tiny Home

Tiny home living is one of the most affordable and environmentally sustainable lifestyles there are. 

As a result, the global number of tiny homes is growing by leaps and bounds. At the same time, finding a place to locate a tiny home can be a significant challenge. 

Landowners can provide tiny homeowners a place to settle by renting them a spot on their land, benefitting both from the rental income and from building community. Leasing can also be an opportunity to trade skills, such as tending the land or home care assistance, for rent. Be creative! Find a mutually beneficial agreement. 

What to Know About Locating a Tiny House

Where you can put a tiny house in WASHINGTON depends on:

  • What standard it is built to (that is, the rules governing design and construction)
  • Who permits and inspects it (which depends on where it is built)
  • Local zoning codes (the rules for what types of houses go where)

What standard it’s built to and permitting the house itself is the tiny homeowner’s responsibility.  Landowners interested in leasing should be aware of what zoning codes apply and what permits might be needed for utilities, including tying down moveable tiny homes.  (See below for place-specific information on city and county permitting and zoning requirements.) 

Building standards

Building standard by type of tiny house and their pros and cons

Definitions and typology
Washington State.

Definitions and typology of tiny homes and tiny home communities for Washington State.

L&I Permitting Requirements

WA State Department of Labor and Industries tiny house building and permitting requirements.

Learn More About Zoning and Permitting Requirements

Both the city of Port Townsend and Jefferson County allow tiny homes, although of different types (see the above information sheet for types of tiny homes).  In general, it is easier to locate tiny-homes-on-wheels in the county, although moveable tiny homes (both tiny homes on wheels and skid-built tiny homes) built to the IRC standard and permitted as modular homes are also allowed in the city.  Site built tiny homes (tiny homes on foundations) have the same permitting requirements as any other house or ADU but more land is required in the county (outside the urban growth area of Irondale-Hadlock) than in the city. 

In Jefferson County (excluding city limits)

Tiny-homes-on-wheels are not counted towards density maximums, while site-built tiny homes are. 

Moveable Tiny Homes

Site Built Tiny Homes

aka Tiny Homes on Wheels

aka Foundation Built Tiny Homes

Approval from Environmental Health for water and septic hook-ups is required.  Contact EH at 360-385-9444 for more information.

Building permit required from Dept. of Community Development.  Call 360 379 4450 for Customer Assistance or visit during walk-in hours (see brochure). 

See Brochure #16 for additional info.

See Brochure #19 for additional info.

In Port Townsend

Tiny homes built to IRC standards, either site built or modular homes, are allowed anywhere a conventional home is.  Site-built tiny houses are permitted and inspected by the City’s Building Services.  The forms can be found at: https://cityofpt.us/planning-community-development/page/forms-documents.  Moveable tiny homes are permitted by the state’s Department of Labor and Industries but the tie down and water and sewer hook-ups are permitted by the city. 

How to Connect

Word of mouth, friends-of-friends, and networking are all good ways to find out who might have land to lease or who might be looking for a space to place their tiny home.  Tell your friends and community you are looking and ask them to keep their ears open.

You can also place a notice that you are looking for a place to rent or a tenant in local media.  We suggest:

  • Housing Link: Housing Solutions Network hosts a web page connecting people seeking homes and people providing them.
  • Jefferson County, WA Rentals: This is a private Facebook group for home and rental searches.
  • Next Door: Next Door is a social app for neighbors where you can connect around housing needs and more.

 

Learn More About Land Leases

Land leases vary in their length of time. Some are up for renewal renew every month while others renew every year. Longer land leases are more suited to foundation-built tiny houses. 

There are a number of reasons to consider a land lease agreement (similar to a rental agreement) which outlines rules and obligations for the lessee when it comes to the use of the land.  Whether you decide to formalize the agreement, it is important to know each other’s expectations (the do’s and dont’s) when it comes to the use of the land. It’s helpful for both sides and getting it in writing can provide security. 

Tiny Home Communities Webinars

The webinars took place from October through December 2020. The goal for this series is to answer many of the questions you might have about tiny home communities, such as: How do you build them?  Where can you locate them?  And would a tiny home community be a good fit for me? The series features presentations by local, regional and national tiny home community development practitioners.   

 

Webinar #1:  Tiny Home Community Development Basics

This webinar introduces the basics of tiny home community development, featuring a presentation by Alexis Stephens on the many tiny home communities springing up around the country.  Alexis with her partner Christian has documented the tiny house movement for the past five years. Currently, she is a board member and on staff at the newly formed Tiny House Industry Association.

 

Webinar #2:  Tiny Home Community Development Strategies

This webinar features information and inspiration from a variety of presenters to guide you on your tiny home community journey, whether you are looking to build a small or large community. Teresa Baker, Co-Founder & President of the Board of Directors for Los Angeles Tiny Co-Built Homes (LATCH) Collective, tells the story of the LATCH resource collective.  Other presentations focus on financing and housing cooperatives.  

Local 'Tiny Shelter Village' Projects

These videos feature the Jefferson County’s tiny shelter villages, Peter’s Place and Pat’s Place. The Villages, built in 2019 and 2021, got their start in the Tiny Home Communities HAT when two of the Community Build Project founders joined forces. The HAT continues to support the Villages by advancing the adoption of more humane and economically sustainable zoning ordinances by the city and the county. To learn how you can be come involved, visit the Community Build Projects Facebook page.

These free resources are provided as part of our Share Our Spaces campaign