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Tiny homes have grown in popularity over the past few years as sustainable and affordable housing options. Maine has embraced this trend by passing laws and regulations ensuring individuals building or buying tiny homes do so safely and responsibly.

Maine's Tiny Home Rules and Regulations

Maine's Tiny Home

Maine's Tiny Home Rules and Regulations

Tiny homes have grown in popularity over the past few years as sustainable and affordable housing options. Maine has embraced this trend by passing laws and regulations ensuring individuals building or buying tiny homes do so safely and responsibly.

The governor, Janet Mills, signed off on a law in July 2021 that outlines the specific rules and regulations for Maine residents building or buying tiny homes. 

These guidelines are designed to protect both the homeowner and the public. They provide a safe and legal way for individuals to enjoy the benefits of tiny home living.

The law also gives a tiny house the same status as a single-family dwelling, allowing it to be used as permanent or vacation housing. This ensures tiny homes meet the same standards of safety and livability as other dwellings in the state.

In this article, we will highlight the rules and regulations covering the erection of tiny homes in Maine and the upcoming community popping up across the state. 

Maine's tiny home rules and regulations

Over the past few years, Maine has been creating and enforcing laws to regulate the safety and livability of tiny homes. 

The tiny house law passed includes all aspects of the building, living, and transportation process. They ensure a safe and comfortable lifestyle for all Maine residents.

The tiny homes of Maine are subject to different rules and regulations for permanent structures, temporary structures, and transitional structures, such as accessory dwelling units (ADU).

However, the common ones include:

  • Every tiny home must have a skylight or roof window to satisfy the emergency escape and rescue requirement.
  • The minimum ceiling height for habitable spaces and hallways is 6 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 4 inches for bathrooms, kitchens, and other components.
  • Lofts in tiny homes must have a minimum of 35 square feet of space and are an exception to the 6 feet 8 inches ceiling height.
  • Ladders to the loft should have a minimum rung width of 10 inches and 10 - 14 inches spacing between rungs.
  • The headroom in stairways accessing the loft should be at least 6 feet 2 inches.

Rules for permanent structures

Permanent structures refer to tiny homes designed and built for long-term living. They must meet the same safety and livability standards as traditional single-family homes. 

This includes building codes, zoning regulations, and energy requirements.

The rules and regulations for permanent structures include:

  • They must be no larger than 400 square feet, excluding lofts. This includes necessary structures, such as porches and decks.
  • The home must be built on a foundation or a trailer for use as a permanent foundation.
  • The home must meet all local building standards and energy efficiency requirements.
  • All plumbing, electrical, heating, and ventilation systems must be up to code.
  • The local building inspector must approve the home for safety and livability.

Rules for temporary structures

Tiny House
392 square feet tiny house

Temporary structures are defined as tiny homes designed for recreational or transient use. They can be built on wheeled platforms towable by a vehicle and are not intended for long-term occupancy.

However, you can still use them as permanent dwellings, provided they meet certain standards.

The rules and regulations for temporary tiny homes include:

  • The maximum size of the home is 400 square feet, excluding lofts. This should include necessary structures, such as plumbing, electrical, and heating systems.
  • The home must not exceed the dimensions allowed for operations on public roads, including width and height. This will vary depending on your local laws.
  • The home must be approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles for highway operation and safety.
  • It must be towed by a vehicle without motive power.
  • If on a chassis or frame, it's considered within the Motor Vehicle regulations. It requires a title similar to a vehicle or RV intended for highway travel.

Rules for transitional structures

Transitional structures refer to tiny homes used as accessory dwelling units (ADUs). These are typically used for short-term and long-term rental purposes.

Transitional tiny homes must meet local zoning regulations, building codes, and energy efficiency requirements. 

The rules and regulations for transitional structures include:

  • They should be at most 400 square feet in size. A transitional structure should include a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living area.
  • The home must be on a permanent foundation or trailer. You may also use a wheeled platform for temporary and transitional housing.
  • The home must meet all local building standards and energy efficiency requirements.
  • A local building inspector must approve the home for safety and livability.
  • Transitional tiny homes must meet the same standards as permanent structures, including plumbing, electrical, and heating systems.
  • Additionally, the home must meet all local zoning regulations for accessory dwelling units. This includes requirements for detached structures and occupancy limits.

What Maine counties allow tiny houses?

Most counties in Maine allow tiny houses. These include Wiscasset, New Gloucester, Chelsea, Stonington Hollis, and Old Orchard Beach, among others.

Most counties have similar rules and regulations regarding tiny houses. In general, tiny houses must meet local building codes and zoning regulations. 

They must also be on a permanent foundation, or they may be on wheels if they meet size and safety requirements.

Can you permanently live in a tiny house in Maine?

You can permanently live in any town in Maine as long as you comply with all local building codes, zoning regulations, and energy efficiency requirements.

According to the definition of 'Tiny Home' in title 29-A,  a tiny house can be used as a permanent dwelling if it is built on a permanent foundation or trailer and meets all local building code requirements.

In addition, dwellers must take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and livability of their homes. This includes obtaining approval from the local building inspector.

Maine gives towns the authority to allow tiny house dwellings. Towns can allow dwellings as long as they meet all local zoning and building regulations.

Living permanently in a tiny house can be an affordable and sustainable way of life. But it does require careful planning and adherence to local rules and regulations.

How tiny can a house be in Maine?

Tiny homes in Maine are limited to 400 square feet. This does not include lofts or secondary structures. A tiny house on wheels must be approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles for highway operation and safety.

Additionally, it must meet all local building codes, zoning regulations, and energy efficiency requirements.

A tiny house must also have a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living area to be approved as a primary or accessory dwelling.

The regulation of tiny houses in Maine is still evolving. If you are interested in the tiny home industry, it is important to stay informed about the rules and regulations in your area.

Where can I build a tiny house in Maine?

You can build tiny houses in most areas of Maine as long as they meet the local building codes and zoning regulations. The Maine state law on tiny homes puts them on equal footing with single-family dwellings. 

So, tiny homes must meet the same standards as any living space permanently constructed in the area.

The tiny home industry is still developing, so it is important to stay informed about local rules and regulations. 

Before you begin construction on a tiny house in Maine, make sure you have taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety and livability of your home.

Do I have to pay property taxes for my tiny house?

Tiny home owners in Maine must pay property taxes. The taxes are based on the value of one's house and the local tax rate.

It is important to remember that tiny homes are subject to the same regulations and taxes as any other living space.

Where can I park a tiny home in Maine?

You can park tiny homes in most areas of Maine as long as they meet local zoning and building regulations. The towns have the authority to allow tiny house dwellings.

You can also put tiny houses in your backyard if they meet the local zoning and building regulations. In addition, tiny homes must meet the same standards as any living space permanently constructed in the area.

Are there tiny home communities in Maine?

Currently, there is no tiny home community in Maine. However, tiny house dwellers can park their tiny homes on private land with the owner's consent. There are also RV parks where you can park your tiny home.

Louie Morrison, a real estate developer, is working on creating the first tiny home community in Maine. He is colloborating with contractors, engineers, developers, and local officials to make tiny home living a reality in Maine.

He intends to build 37 tiny houses on Bangor's Martel Mobile Home park. They will be connected to public utilities. Bangor real estate developers will also provide tiny homeowners access to a community garden, recreation area, and other amenities.

The tiny home lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular in Maine and worldwide. With careful planning and adherence to local rules and regulations, tiny homes can be an affordable and sustainable way of life.

Takeaway: Know the rules and regulations of tiny home living in Maine

Tiny home living is becoming increasingly popular in Maine to help with the rising cost of living. Before you begin building or purchasing a tiny home, you must familiarize yourself with the local rules and regulations.

A tiny house must not exceed 400 square feet and must meet building codes, zoning regulations, and energy efficiency requirements. 

Additionally, tiny homes are subject to the same taxes and regulations as any other living space.

No matter where you are in Maine, tiny homes can be a great way to save money and reduce your environmental footprint. With the right guidelines and regulations, tiny houses can become viable and sustainable housing options.

For more information on tiny home living, visit our website at tinyhouse.com to learn how we can help you make tiny living a reality.

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