San Diego Now Allows “Tiny Homes” in Backyards

San Diego City Council voted on July 21, 2020 to allow homeowners to install movable tiny house on wheels to be installed in their back yards to be used as additional livable space for family members or as a rental unit.  .

The Tiny House on Wheels is similar to an Accessory Dwelling Unit aka Granny Flat aka Companion Unit in that it    can help homeowners cover their mortgage payments by generating rental income.  In January 2020 State of California passed laws that made it easier and faster for home owners to build Accessory Dwelling Units on their properties by lowering fees, reducing building setbacks and reducing parking requirements.  The Tiny Homes is another option for homeowners to add livable space on their property.

“It’s a win-win-win all the way across the board,” Councilman Scott Sherman said. “It’s a small bite of a large elephant when it comes to solving some of our housing challenges in the city.”

The Tiny Homes are increasing popular as TV shows like Tiny House Nation have shown how to live in a space less than 400 sq ft.   Most of these Tiny Homes are actually a RV known as a Park Model.  They are similar to a Manufactured Home in that they are built in factory and transported to the site set on piers/pads to make them a livable space.

Tiny Home as Back Yard Rental or Extras Space for Family is now faster and easier to build

Cities in California that have also approved these Park Models Tiny Homes to be used as rental properties on a single family home parcel are   Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno and San  Jose.     Many families are using these new

“Innovation is key to addressing our housing crisis,” Councilwoman Barbara Bry said, noting that the new law would also boost the local economy because San Diego is home to some tiny home manufacturers.

“We are building many Accessory Dwelling Units in San Diego and costs typically are  $110,000 and $160,000  for the house and while Tiny Houses usually cost between $60,000- $90,000  including transportation and installation.  There are many variables when building an Accessory Dwelling Unit including logistics of the lot. Location of utilities design and specifications,”   says Bill Cavanaugh, Principal,    US Modular Inc an ADU general contractor. Specializing in prefabricated construction. “Tiny Homes are another option for homeowners to consider when evaluating building an Accessory Dwelling Unit on their property.  The other options include garage conversion, site built ADU or a Prefabricated ADU.  Time and budget typically are the final deciding factor and we help guide clients to the best option for their needs” continues Cavanaugh

Many area residents are renting out Accessory Dwelling Units for over $1500 a month while a Tiny home is smaller and rents may reflect the smaller space.  Although the State and City laws have removed some of the restrictions to building an Accessory Dwelling Unit in your back yard – it’s still a process that requires a team of designers, engineers and a contractor knowable in the rules regulations of the cities.  USModular, Inc. is a full service general contractor specializing in the design, permitting, and construction of Accessory Dwelling Units including Tiny Homes.