Table of Contents


Introduction and Welcome

What’s in This Book

How to Read This Book

Who Should Own This Book

What Is a Tiny Home? 

Who Can Approve a Tiny Home?

Government and Industry Regulation Authority

Chapter 1. Six Legally Occupiable Types of Tiny Homes

Tiny Home Language: THOF and THOW

Two Types Are Built on Foundations: THOF

Three Types Are Built on Chassis with or without Wheels: THOW

When Is It Legal to Occupy a Tiny Home?

Where Can I Put a Tiny Home?

Can I Put a Tiny Home in My Backyard or My Friend’s Backyard?

Who Can Build a Tiny Home?

Chapter 2. Tiny Homes Built on Foundations

Definition of a Dwelling 

What Inspectors Are Looking For

Shortcut Through the Regulations: California Building Standards Code (CBSC)

What Is Title 24? The Long Way through the Regulations

Title 24 Is Composed of 12 “Parts”

Part 1: California Administrative Code

Part 2: California Building Code

Part 3: California Electrical Code

Part 4: California Mechanical Code

Part 5: California Plumbing Code

Part 6: California Energy Code

Part 8: California Historical Building Code

Part 9: California Fire Code

Part 10: California Existing Building Code

Part 11: California Green Building Standards (CALGreen Code)

Part 12: California Reference Standards Code

What Is an ADU?


Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 3. Factory-Built Housing - Built Off-Site and Assembled in Pieces on a Foundation


HSC 19971



FBH Construction Standards

FBH Handicapped Accessibility Standards

FBH Fire Sprinkler Systems

FBH Fire Sprinkler Systems

That Squiggly Symbol

Inspection Milestones

Insignia of Approval

Installation Inspections

Modification Inspections

Inspections Fees

Title 25. Housing and Community Development

Article 1. Application and Scope

Article 2. Definitions

Basic Requirements

Article 3. Administration and Enforcement


Installation Regulations 

Shipping Containers


Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 4. Tiny Homes on Chassis and Wheels - Recreational Vehicles

Definitions of Recreational Vehicles (RV) 

California DMV RV Types

Authority: Who Checks RVs and Tiny Homes in Mobile Home and RV Parks?


NFPA 1192

Once Your Tiny Home on Wheels Is Built, How Will the HCD Inspector Know What’s Inside the Walls and Whether It Is Compliant with NFPA 1192?

What Is RVIA?

Differences between a Traditional RV and a THOW-RV

Where Can You Live in a Tiny Home on Wheels?

Local Rules Allowing Tiny Homes on Wheels

Cargo Shipping Containers—Another Alternative?

The Pros and Cons of Cargo Containers


Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 5. Bigger Tiny Homes on Chassis and Wheels - Park Models




Health and Safety Code—HSC 18033

ANSI Standard A119.5

Documentation in Quality Control Manual

Where to Put a THOW-PM

Local Rules Allowing Tiny Homes on Wheels

What Is an ADU?


Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 6. Manufactured Homes - Built Off-Site and Assembled in Pieces on a Chassis On-Site

Size Matters

Setting Up an MH


The Laws



MH Construction Standards

MH Fire Sprinkler Systems

MH Fire Sprinkler Systems on Private Property

MH Fire Sprinkler Systems in Mobile Home Parks

Do Mobile Homes Attract Hurricanes?


Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 7. Camping Cabins - Buildings without Plumbing 

Definition from HSC Sections 18862.5


HSC Section 18871.11 Camping Cabins Standards

Title 25, CCR Section 2327. Camping Cabin Regulations

Yurts and Tentlike Structures

Treehouses and Other Unconventional Buildings 

Why These Regulations Matter

Local Enforcement Agencies

What Is a Panic Safety Requirement?


Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 8. Starting a Tiny Home Business

Manufacturing Tiny Homes on Wheels for Sale

Selling Tiny Homes

Business Start-Up Help

Follow-Up Questions

Chapter 9. Getting Started

To Foundation or Not to Foundation

Handicapped Accessibility

Do You Need “Luxuries?”

Surviving the Elements and Choosing a Building Site


Sustainable Living

Styles and Aesthetic Preferences

Services and Emergencies

Neighbors and Other Frenemies 

California Coastal Commission


The Steps to Building Your Tiny Home

Stay Legal

Enforcement and Prosecution for Sales, Rental, or Occupancy

Benefits of Tiny Living

Follow-Up Questions

Appendix 1. How to Contact the Authorities and Important Links 

Appendix 2. Acronyms and Abbreviations

Appendix 3. California DMV’s Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook Summary

Purpose of This Booklet 

License Classes and Requirements

Noncommercial Class A Requirements

Pre-Trip Inspection for Noncommercial Class A License

Noncommercial Class B (45' Housecar) Requirements

Driving Test Sites

Recreational Trailer Endorsement

Types of RVs

Equipment and Operating Controls for All Drivers

Safe use and control to develop familiarity with the rules for the following systems: headlight use, tires and wheels, exhaust system, mirrors, and rear-looking TV systems.

Defensive Driving Techniques for All Drivers

Loading and Overloading Information for RVs and Trailers

Handling Emergencies—Information for All Drivers

Driving Your RV Safely

Towing Your Trailer Safely



About the Author