Welcome Super Advocate Corrine Watson

Written by Janet Thome

We want to thank and welcome Corrine Watson, the founder of Tiny Homes Of Maine as a new commercial member of THIA. Corrine has earned the title of super advocate because she spearheaded the effort in Maine to create a Tiny Home bill, LD 1981 that recently passed.

Tiny homes hit a roadblock in Maine this 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.

The Tiny Home Industry Association reached out to Corrine and Dan Fitzpatrick, the President of THIA, gave her invaluable support and guidance, along with Alan Plummer, Code Enforcement Officer at Town of Mechanic Falls, Maine.

”An Act  Regarding The Regulation Of Tiny Houses ”

LD 1981, sponsored by Senator Michael Carpenter was signed by Governor Janet T. Mills Brown on March 18th, 2020. This bill proposes to define what a tiny house is and to allow for the titling of a tiny house as a camp trailer or a trailer.

 Code Enforcement Officers Do Not Play A Role In Inspecting ” Tiny Homes”

The following guidance comes from the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Office of the Attorney General as of Friday April 10, 2020.

The regulation of “tiny homes,” as defined in 29-A, is to be the exclusive purview of the Secretary of State through the statutes of Title 29-A. As such, municipal code enforcement officers do not play a role in inspecting “tiny homes.” It is safe to assume that any living space that is issued a tiny home title has been determined by the Secretary of State to meet the statutory definition of a tiny home and is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Secretary of State, not subject to inspection by municipal code enforcement officers.

To simplify, if a tiny home has a title from the Secretary of States Office it is not under the jurisdiction of a local code official except for zoning. The title is going to read tiny home and it would have to meet NFPA 1192 or ANSI A119.5 (recreational vehicle standards). This will be determined by the Secretary of State and will not require an inspection by a local building official. If the tiny home is built on site or does not have a title issued by the Secretary of State it would fall under typical building code jurisdiction.

Family Owned Business Started In 2017

Since selling their first tiny home in 2017, Tiny Homes of Maine has been designing and building custom tiny homes and tiny spaces for customers across Maine. The family-owned business is on a mission to make the tiny home dream attainable for more individuals.

Why Choose Tiny Homes of Maine?

Tiny Homes of Maine offers a customizable design-build solution, including a 3D virtual walk through to help customers envision their tiny lifestyle. “This allows customers to experience the space before they buy, which is so important when going Tiny,” says Corinne.

Design-Build Expertise

Corinne and her husband Tom have the design expertise to ensure form and function, and their manufacturing and building industry backgrounds guarantee solid construction. Tiny Homes of Maine can also design, build and deliver mobile offices, retail space, art studios, vacation cottages and more. There is also an option to order a partially finished tiny home.

Common FAQ

  1. What are the dimensions of a Tiny Home on wheels? The outer width is 8.5′, the total height is 13.5′ and the max length (including the towing vehicle) cannot exceed 60′. Most Tiny Homes range between 20′ to 30′ feet long. The square footage, including the sleeping loft, can be up to 400 square feet.

  2. What’s the situation with utilities? Our standard 8×30 Allagash is all electric with a 50 amp supply. Typical connection to water, sewer and electric is the same as a mobile home. The electric also can be plugged in using a 50amp RV extension cord. Options for off-grid are available.

  3. What’s the situation with sewage? Our Tiny Homes come with a Nature’s Head Composing Toilet. Grey water from your Tiny Home will have to be disposed of in an approved way. Check the State’s subsurface wastewater rules.

  4. Can a Tiny Home on wheels accommodate more than 1 person? Yes! Our standard 8×30 Allagash has an option for a main floor bedroom AND 2 sleeping lofts. You can also have a completely custom Tiny Home designed and built.

  5. Are there zoning regulations that do not permit Tiny Homes? As of 4/2/19 only Portland, Maine has explicitly prohibited Tiny Homes. See the Codes and Zoning page for more info.

  6. I am a retiree and don’t want to climb up into a sleeping loft, do you offer alternatives? Yes, absolutely! We can customize the perfect space for you which could include the sleeping area on the main floor with storage in the loft or a guest bed. The 8×30 Allagash has an option for a main floor bedroom.

  7. I would like a Tiny Home, but not on wheels. We can design and build Tiny Homes not on wheels, but there is more work to do on towns allowing this to be built off-site and banks are not likely to finance these structures.

  8. Can you live in a Tiny Home in the winter? Yes! Our Tiny Homes are well insulated and can withstand harsh Maine winters. You will need to skirt/insulate around the bottom of your home or heat the water coming in and grey water going out (same set up as a mobile home).

  9. How do I insure my Tiny Home? Contact your current company for a home owner’s policy or contact Celeste at United Insurance (207) 797-9400 .

  10. Do you offer financing? You can ask your local bank for an RV loan. Our Tiny Homes are issued a title from the state which most banks require for financing.

Tiny Home Plans

Tiny Home Codes And Zoning In Maine

  • There are 3 categories for Tiny Homes (all under 400 square feet).

    • Site built Tiny Homes – typical stick built home constructed on site which follow existing regulations for building inspections, permits and zoning rules.

    • Tiny Homes not on wheels – a completed tiny home built off site and transported to the site to be installed permanently. Typically these structures have to follow the same rules as above if it’s being used as a habitable space. Currently most towns will not accept tiny homes built and inspected in other towns, but we are working on this so stay tuned:)

    • Tiny Homes on wheels – (aka THOWs or Moveable Tiny Home) LD1981 was passed on 3/18/2020 which defines a “state certified” Tiny Home (on wheels) as a vehicle that needs to follow either RV or Park Model RV standards. Typical building inspection and permits do not apply here.

  • State certified THOWs should not be an issue with building codes, but there are still hurdles with local zoning ordinances.

  • All Maine towns are required to follow the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code (MUBEC) for habitable dwellings. In January 2018 the state adopted the IRC Appendix Q for site built Tiny Homes. More info found on the State’s website. The Tiny Home appendix is Chapter 5 page 7. This only applies to permanent Tiny Homes.

  • Maine is a Home Rule state meaning each municipality has local authority to allow THOWs if they want to.

  • We have been advocating for all Tiny Homes since 2015. We’ve met with several state building officials, local municipalities and land use attorneys to help towns establish a process for tiny homes. As of 4/2/2020 only Chelsea, Maine has updated their ordinance to allow THOWs. The city of Portland, ME has been the only city or town to explicitly prohibit THOWs.

  • Our THOWs typically come with Nature’s Head composting toilets (no water used) which are allowed, but the grey water from your sinks and showers have to go somewhere. If you have a pressurized water system (aka running water) you’ll need to connect to public or private sewer. There is the option for holding tanks, but you’d have to get them filled and emptied frequently for full time living.

  • Maine does have rules for draining grey water into the ground, but they are old and conflict with state plumbing codes. Subsurface Waste Water Rules.

  • Now that there is a definition of ‘Tiny Home’ in Title 29A of Maine Law it should be easier for towns to update their zoning ordinances to allow them. ASK YOUR TOWN TO DO THIS!

  • If you are speaking with someone at your town office that is not knowledgeable about THOWs you can have them contact us for answers:)

  • Per LD1981 state certified THOWs are issued a state certificate of title which is needed for financial institutions. If you are looking to finance the purchase of a THOW, ask your bank or credit union about an RV loan for our Tiny Homes.

Codes And Zoning

Try It Tiny, Before You Buy And Enjoy The Craftsmanship Of Tiny Homes In Maine

The Crows Nest: Built By Tiny Homes Of Maine

The Crow’s Nest Tiny House sits nestled on Old Crow Ranch, a 70-acre working livestock farm, a true example of thriving Maine farmland. You’ll be surrounded by fields and pine woods in Durham, Maine. Just outside Freeport and only 30 minutes from Portland, this cozy space makes a calming retreat away from the city – for a night or for a week. Fall asleep listening to the peepers and gazing at the stars, drink your morning coffee while looking out at the cattle & chickens grazing in the fields.

Book Your Stay

Tiny Homes Of Maine do not have a showroom. The tiny homes are built in Houlton, Maine.

The Back Story On The Tiny Home Roadblocks And Tiny House Bill LD 1981

Website

corinne@tinyhomesofmaine.com

(207) 619-4108