Maine Tiny Home News
Is a remedy for tiny homes on the horizon? Oct. 28th, 2019
Last week, Maine’s Legislative Council admitted a bill into the second session that would make changes to the rules governing mobile tiny homes. The move comes after business owners complained over the summer that the new regulations enforced by the Secretary of State’s Office were unworkable and would force their businesses to close.
Two legislative requests promoting the same solution were put forward by Rep. Patrick Corey of Windham and Sen. Mike Carpenter of Aroostook. Rep. Corey’s bill was shot down 4-6 while the council approved Sen. Carpenter’s measure 10-0. Sen. Carpenter’s bill “defines what a tiny house is and allows for their titling as camp trailers or trailers,” according to materials distributed at last week’s meeting of the Legislative Council.
Kittery Passes New ADU Ordinance With 30 Day Rental Minimum Oct. 28th, 2019
KITTERY, Maine — The Town Council passed a revised accessory dwelling unit ordinance Monday night, but not without debate around whether the ordinance should include a ban on short-term rentals.
As passed, the ordinance, which is designed to encourage more ADU development as an affordable housing option, includes a 30-day rental minimum, outlawing short-term rentals from the small, specific type of housing that is attached to a larger structure and typically less than 1,000 square feet.
However, the council did approve a grandfather clause, which gives a six-month grace period until the new ordinance is enacted. Until April 28, 2020, ADUs constructed under current ordinance can be used as short-term rentals.
Lawmakers submit nearly 400 bills for consideration in Second Session Oct. 8th, 2019
LR: 2859 — An Act To Amend the Motor Vehicle Laws To Authorize Registration and Issuance of Certificates of Title for Tiny Mobile Houses
In June, the Secretary of State sent a letter to municipal clerks to prohibit them from registering, assigning VIN numbers to and titling tiny homes. Instead, individuals who want to move their tiny homes will need to contact the Secretary of State to obtain a one-time use permit to move it from point A to point B.
One of the most devastating effects of this change is that banks will no longer finance the cost of a tiny home, thereby preventing individuals, particularly those of low and medium incomes, from buying one.
LR 2859 seeks to give mobile tiny homes their own classification in state law and expressly directs the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to title and register mobile tiny homes. This will give banks the assurance they need to issue a loan and give owners the freedom to move their tiny homes from point to point without delay.
Maine Housing conference: Innovation key for affordable housing industry Oct 2nd, 2019
More than 500 housing advocates, developers, real estate brokers, and other stakeholders attended the day-long 2019 Maine Housing Affordable Housing Conference, held at the Augusta Civic Center.
David Libby, CEO of Town & Country Federal Credit Union, spoke about his organization’s collaboration with Tiny Homes of Maine to help fund developments for “tiny homes,” which are 800 square feet and less, and often mobile.The credit union, as well as some other lenders, are finding ways to navigate state laws that make funding for tiny homes difficult, Libby said.
Changes to tiny home policy may be on the horizon Sept.25th, 2019
In June, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles stopped registering, assigning vehicle identification numbers to, and titling tiny homes.
It’s because tiny homes don’t fall under the definition of either a trailer or a manufactured home.
They plan this Fall to discuss the best policy but, for now, you have to get a one-time permit to move a tiny home.
“We would be considering it kind of like if you would move anything else that’s oversized,” said the Secretary of State’s Communications Director Kristen Schulze Muszynski. “We would go ahead get a permit and move it. That permit would be good for that one move so if you wanted to move it again, you would have to apply for another permit to make an additional move.”
They hope to come to a conclusion in time for it to be addressed next legislative session.
Mobile Tiny Homes In Maine Hit A Major Roadblock Sept.19th, 2019
In early 2018, Maine tiny living got a boost when the state’s building codes were amended to include guidelines for the dwellings. The standards defined a Maine tiny house as a residence with less than 400 square feet, allowed sleeping lofts, permitted ladder access to lofts and approved skylights as points of emergency egress. The Maine code amendments did not take into account or cover the portable tiny houses.
But this modern day nomadic lifestyle hit a roadblock in Maine his past summer when municipalities were notified by the Maine secretary of state’s office that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles would no longer register, assign vehicle identification numbers to or title tiny homes on wheels.
Tiny houses shaping up to be a big deal in South Portland, but their future is undetermined Sept. 10th, 2019
SOUTH PORTLAND — City officials are at an impasse as to whether to allow tiny homes in the city.
In addition to crafting zoning, Community Planner Justin Barker said the council needs to look at several policy options for movable and permanent locations, as there are no policies in place and permanent housing for tiny homes isn’t now allowed in South Portland.
“There’s a lack of clear definitions on what determines a tiny home,” Barker said. “But we should be focusing on utilities’ connection to public sewer or septic, which is critical to ensure safety of public health. Connection to public sewer requirements or fully working sewer system is in the works.”
ADU hearing digs into affordability question August 15th, 2019
The City Council and Planning Board have been asked to deliberate on an “accessory dwelling unit” ordinance. The package would tweak city rules to allow for accessory dwelling units or “in-law apartments,” along the way empowering homeowners to create small apartment units largely within their homes. The rules today allow such uses, but only for family members or caregivers to live in — and they must be destroyed once the property is sold or the intended tenant no longer lives at the property.
A Maine couple built their own tiny house, then the town declared it illegal July 14th, 2019
The owners of a 196-square-foot tiny house in Alna may pursue a petition after learning the town considers the structure illegal.
Building Codes for Tiny Homes Relaxed: Appendix Q Adopted
A year-long effort to remove obstacles in the state’s building code for Mainers interested in pursuing a so-called “tiny home lifestyle” has been deemed a success by a Maine lawmaker who originally sponsored a bill to address the issue.
How are small farms surviving? Airbnb July 11th, 2019
While larger farms get by with government subsidies, smaller farms are turning to the rental economy.
Airbnb recently released data showing that last year there were 57,000 rural listings on the site. An Airbnb spokesperson said that from February 2018 to February 2019, 943,534 guests stayed at a farm they found on Airbnb, booking more than 745,000 nights.
Hosts with farm listings earned more than $81 million. In Maine, where the Sinisis live, 51 percent of rural hosts told Airbnb in a recent survey that income raised through the site has helped them stay in their homes.
New tiny house building codes open doors for increased tiny living in Maine January 26th, 2018
Fans of the tiny house movement in Maine are celebrating an addition to the state’s building codes rules creating the first statewide construction guidelines for the dwellings.
The new standards include defining a tiny house in Maine as a dwelling less than 400 square feet, allowing sleeping lofts, permitting ladder access to lofts and approving skylights as points of emergency egress.
Towns are still free to accept or deny tiny house construction, but Rep Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, a proponent of the new rules who has been working on the issue since he proposed a bill in 2017, said now they have legitimate uniform codes upon which to base their decisions.
Berry chose to abandon his bill and pursue the change through rulemaking, which requires no legislative approval and which he said put the rules in place quicker.