- Tiny house regulations and codes may vary by city, town, or county.
- Tiny houses on wheels are treated as RVs and restricted to R-5 zones.
- Tiny houses on foundations or manufactured homes, face fewer location restrictions. They will require a conditional use permit and building codes will need to be met.
- Tiny homes on municipal property must be connected to water and sewage.
- Interest in tiny houses appear strong state-wide, however, there are currently few tiny houses in the state at the present time. At the moment, tiny houses aren’t “officially” allowed in the city of Anchorage, but with a conditional use permit it may be possible. Areas around the cities are slightly more flexible, but no specific tiny house building codes exist yet
March 10, 2020 City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska Approves Tiny Houses for Dwellings:
The City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska creates history for the tiny home industry. The second and final reading for ORD 20-02S (A) passed at a vote 6 to 0 and is a great win for movable tiny homes. Sitka, Alaska has approved tiny homes on a foundation, but what is groundbreaking, is they have written an ordinance that amends Appendix Q that applies to movable tiny homes. From the floor joists up, the tiny home will be built to the IRC Appendix Q.
The chassis on which a tiny house is placed or constructed, including all components attached to the chassis, shall be of adequate structural strength to resist all dead and live loads imposed upon it and/or required by applicable safety standards. The Building Official may require third party certification to ascertain compliance with this section.
Legal Classification: Tiny House On A Chassis
It is somewhat of a hybrid standard, built to local building codes, though Sitka created their own classification which allows for full time living with conditions. The trailer will need to be registered at the DMV for transport purposes and the trailer should be structurally rated to support the load which is placed upon it.
Highlights Of ORD 20-02S( A)
Tiny Home On A Chassis Limited To A Maximum Of 400 Square Feet
A Tiny home on a chassis is limited to a maximum of 400 square feet including all additions and appurtenances, not including lofts. Any loft in a tiny house or tiny house on a chassis will be considered a sleeping loft and shall have an emergency escape openings as required by the 2018 International Residential Code Appendix Q.
The chassis on which a tiny house is placed or constructed, including all components attached to the chassis, shall be of adequate structural strength to resist all dead and live loads imposed upon it and/or required by applicable safety standards.
Tiny Home Built Outside Of Sitka
A tiny house on a chassis constructed outside of Sitka may be used as a residence or sleeping quarters if the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the building official that it has been constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code.
Excerpts Of ORD 20-02S (A)
6.12.190 Use as residence or sleeping quarters.
- 319 A. No mobile home, manufactured home, recreational vehicle, or other motor vehicle, tiny
- 320 house, or tiny house on chassis shall be used as a residence or sleeping quarters unless:
- 322 1. Such unit or vehicle has a designated spot within a mobile and manufactured
- 323 home park, recreational vehicle park or other area specifically designated by the
- 324 chief of police; or
- 326 2. Such unit or vehicle has a permanent spot on other private property, its
- 327 placement on such property as a residence meets all zoning requirements, and
- 328 such unit or vehicle meets the standard size requirements and sanitation
- 329 requirements of a residence under the Sitka General Code.
- 331 3. In the case of a tiny house, the unit has been constructed in accordance with
- 332 the International Residential Code as locally adopted and amended, has been
- 333 inspected as required by the International Residential Code, and has been issued
- 334 a certificate of occupancy by the building official.
- 336 4. In the case of a tiny house on chassis, the unit has been constructed from the
- 337 floor joists up in accordance with the International Residential Code as locally
- 338 adopted and amended, has been inspected as required by the International
- 339 Residential Code, and has been issued a certificate of approval by the building
official. A certificate of approval is valid only for the specific location at which the unit has been installed and inspected.
Both tiny homes on a foundation and movable tiny homes, will require a building permit.
Image Above: Sitka, Alaska Photo Courtesy: Sitka Sentinel
Various other deferred jurisdictions may have a different view on whether they allow or accept the concept as meeting the intent, if not the letter, of the adopted codes. You would need to contact those jurisdictions directly.
Outside of the deferred jurisdictions, the State of Alaska does not regulate detached single- and two-family dwellings. If the tiny house is being used for an application where you have more than two non-separated dwelling units (e.g. IBC Group R-2), then you’ll need to work with the State.
Mark Panilo- Chapter President; Alaska Chapter of International Code Council
If you would like to review regulations for another state, click here