Are you confused by all the latest tiny house news relating to regulations and building code? Today, Lee Pera is joining the show to help us untangle all of the regulatory happenings in the tiny house world. In this conversation, we delve into various topics including the IRC, Appendix Q, and ASTM efforts to create tiny house standards. Lee shares recent developments in the regulatory landscape and explains what they mean for living tiny legally. This episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast provides valuable insights into the legal landscape of tiny house living and practical advice for those interested in building or living in a tiny home.

In This Episode:

  • Tiny house legal landscape 🏡 : Lee shares insights on navigating regulations and building codes in the tiny house industry, including the IRC, Appendix Q, and ASTM efforts to create standards.
  • Global tiny house movement 🌍 : Discussion on the global appeal of tiny houses and intentional communities, as well as the challenges and opportunities in different countries and regions.
  • DIY vs professional builders 💡 : Exploring the benefits and considerations of RV certification, financing options, and the importance of building standards for both DIY builders and professional builders.
  • Tiny homes on wheels 🚚  : Examining the challenges and opportunities of building and living in tiny homes on wheels, including construction regulations and creative approaches to navigating zoning requirements.
  • Financing and mortgages 💰 : Discussing the potential for offering mortgages on tiny homes, the affordability of traditional mortgages versus high-interest RV loans, and the challenges banks face in providing financing for movable houses.
  • Sustainable practices ♻️ : Addressing sustainable practices such as composting toilets, natural and eco-friendly building materials, and the importance of working with local communities to avoid gentrification and displacement.


Links and Resources:


Guest Bio:

Lee Pera

Lee Pera

Lee is a geographer and community builder. She lived in 28 houses in six countries before landing in Washington, D.C. where she built her own tiny house on wheels and started a tiny house community. Lee shares her expertise as a tiny house consultant, helping communities and cities implement zoning changes for tiny house development and leading workshops for individuals who want to know where they can build or park a tiny home.




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More Photos:

The front of Lee Pera's tiny house


Front Porch


Lee Pera tiny home



More Photos:

Tour of Lee Pera's tiny house


Lee Pera Tiny House Tour of living space


Sleeping loft

Lee Pera tiny home living area

Lee Pera 0:00

I think I was more in the camp of these aren't RV's we're just kind of putting them in that category because they're on wheels, but really they are traditional house construction and you and I having built our own, you know, I think we've seen a lot of builders, it's difficult you have to really be technical to figure out how to safely build these on a foundation, the attachments and everything

Ethan Waldman 0:26

Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 270 with Lee Pera, are you as confused by all the latest Tiny House news relating to regulations and building code as I am? Well, my guest today Lee Pera is something of an expert in this area. And she is here to help us untangle all of the regulatory happenings in the tiny house world. In this conversation we talk about the IRC and Appendix Q. We also talk about the ASTM effort to make tiny house standards and how they kind of intersect. There are some recent developments that have happened and I thought it would be worth having Lee on the show to tell us what they are and what they mean for living tiny legally. I hope you stick around for my conversation with Lee Pera. I love to cook in my tiny house kitchen but I don't always love to clean up. And one of my big concerns with going tiny was losing the convenience of a dishwasher. That's why I'm so excited to share today's sponsor with you the FOTILE two in one in-sink dishwasher. It's a dishwasher built into a sink and it's perfect for tiny house living. This innovative appliance is perfect for modern living in compact spaces. With its efficient design. It saves lower cabinet space and fits perfectly into a standard 36 inch cabinet base, making it ideal for tiny homes. But it's not just about saving space. It's about saving time and water to the FOTILE to in one in-sink dishwasher offers a quick wash cycle of just 20 minutes, getting your dishes clean in no time. 45 minutes standard and 80 minute intensive washers are also available. Plus it saves nearly 50% of the water a regular dishwasher would consume. With its ergonomic top loading design. You don't need to bend over like you would with a traditional dishwasher, making it perfect for small kitchens. When it comes to cleanliness, the FOTILE two and one in-sink dishwasher doesn't disappoint. With five standard washing and rinsing cycles and a 360 degree cleaning system. It eliminates 99.99% of E coli and other common bacteria from your dishes promoting a healthy kitchen environment. Are you worried about installation? Don't be FOTILE provides a comprehensive DIY installation tutorial online. And they're offering Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast listeners a special extended five year limited warranty. There are over 30 million families around the world enjoying FOTILE's full range of cooktops, ovens, range hoods and in-sink dishwashers, they've channeled 20 years of experience and expertise into these innovative compact dishwashers. This amazing dishwasher has a rating of 4.7 out of five on Lowes website. Visit to learn more and purchase your FOTILE two in one in-sink dishwasher today. That link will be in the show notes to upgrade your tiny home kitchen with FOTILE and experience the convenience of modern living in a compact space

Alright, I am here with Lee Pera, Lee is a geographer and community builder. She lived in 28 houses in six countries before landing in Washington DC, where she built her own tiny house on wheels and started a tiny house community. Lea shares her experience as a tiny house consultant helping communities and cities implement zoning changes for tiny house development and leading workshops for individuals who want to know where they can build or park a tiny home. Lee Pera Welcome back to the show.

Lee Pera 4:23

Hi, Ethan. Good to chat with you again. Yeah, so

Ethan Waldman 4:26

glad you're here. I guess the I'll tell our listeners that the you know, I always love chatting with you. But the impetus for this conversation is that you shared in your email newsletter a press release from IRC talking about some updates to the appendix q that they're working on. And I was hoping that we could just like rewind a little bit. I know all these you know, people hear about codes and zoning and stuff Often they kind of tune out. So can you give us just like a brief history of, of the IRC, Appendix Q efforts and tiny homes in general? Yes.

Lee Pera 5:12

So I'm hoping I'm getting the dates. Right, right. We've even you and I have been in the tiny house movement for over a decade now. And, but I think it was around 2015. And Andrew Morrison and some other builders, including zap Griffith, Norgaard. Like there were a bunch of folks who started working with the International Code Council to develop tiny home build standards. And I distinctly remember sitting in my loft and measuring for Andrew, he was trying to reach out to all of those of us who had already built tiny homes on wheels, to incorporate what we had done in our home so that they could get the build code, right, right. They didn't want to exclude anyone. So I was really impressed with that I was impressed with the fact that they were actively reaching out to the DIY community, to see how we had built because most of us, if we were trying to build safely, we were following building code to the best of our ability. But there were certain things there was no code for there wasn't a code for a loft in a tiny house or a ladder stair design. So they were involved in that process, I believe, for a couple of years until it got the way the International Code Council works is you have to, you know, basically, first you submit a proposal, this is what we want to address in the next iteration. And then there's a whole series of meetings over the course of three days, where they review all of these proposals and accept them or not. And so it was in 2018, or late 2017, when they had those meetings. I don't know where they were someplace in Kansas or something. Yeah, and then that was adopted. Now, when I teach workshops on zoning and parking, I've always told people, just because you're building on wheels, doesn't mean you shouldn't be following this, because Andrew always said that they were going to plan to eventually, hopefully three years, six years down the line, say okay, instead of a foundation built home, what if the foundation is a flatbed trailer, I'm very sorry, I think there's a loud dog up outside. That doesn't come through.

Ethan Waldman 7:16

It's okay, I can hear it. But it adds, it adds a little flavor to actually maybe you should tell, tell the listeners like where you are.

Lee Pera 7:25

I am in Mexico City. This is where I live. Now I'm actually going to tour a container home build factory here later this week. Cool. I'm probably going to be helping some friends start a community here as well. So I've been Yeah, doing my community stuff all over the place. But I went to high school in Mexico, so so this is like a second home

Ethan Waldman 7:43

for me. That's awesome. That's awesome. And actually, I maybe like, after we do this conversation about about codes and stuff, I'd love to hear about, you know, the tiny house movement in Latin America, if you can share anything about that. So

basically, the idea always was let's, let's update the IRC code so that it can account for small buildings under 400 square feet. But with the idea in mind that down the road, we can kind of replace that foundation with a trailer and kind of update it further.

Lee Pera 8:24

Oh, I think there were a lot of people who were upset. They're like, Why? Why are you only addressing tiny homes on foundations, you're missing the whole DIY movement. But that was you have to start someplace. Right. And so they felt like just saying like tiny homes on wheels was too far of a leap when there wasn't even any code yet for a tiny home. So I appreciated the you know, they explained very well their strategy with that. And I knew it was going to take time for them to get there to say okay, now how about a flat bed foundation? Yeah, as as the foundation, but and so I think that's where we saw the RV code and ATSM kind of come in and say, Well, okay, we don't have anything yet. Still. We want to start something so that there's some sort of standards for tiny homes on wheels. Okay. Now at that point in time, I was still living in Washington DC. And it was when Steve Weisman was at Tumbleweed Tiny homes and he came through and we actually had a meeting with the RVIA folks. And at that point in time they said we don't want anything to do with tiny homes on wheels. We have our be standards and I've always tried to make that clear to people if just because you're buying a tiny home on wheels that RVIA certified that doesn't tell you really anything about the safety of building that home it tells you the safety about the electrical, the plumbing, are the standards are different therefore, our v's and so that was back in maybe 2017 2016 I can't remember the timeframe. But so then you kind of had these two forks in the road. There were folks who were like, You know what, we want to go down the RV certification route, because it's faster, it seemed faster. I think I was more in the camp of these aren't RV's, we're just kind of putting them in that category because they're on wheels. But really, they are traditional house construction. And you and I having built our own, you know, I think we've seen a lot of builders, it's difficult, you have to really be technical to figure out how to safely build these on a foundation, the attachments and everything. So I was always trusting in the folks who were part of that original ICC code. I did trust them that they were eventually going to move forward with trying to get standards for tiny homes on wheels or movable tiny homes as we're calling them now.

Ethan Waldman 10:51

Sure, okay. And just for because we introduced some new acronyms or so many acronyms are the RVIA is that is RVIA. Associated with ASTM? Well, yeah, so

Lee Pera 11:03

ASTM did I say ATSM? I always mix that up.

Ethan Waldman 11:06

You did say ATSM. But that's okay.

Lee Pera 11:09

Okay. ASTM is like a national accreditation, they accredit and create standards for everything. Right. So our RVIA is just that's the accreditation or the Standards Board that falls under. So are the Industry Association. Their code is probably called something else, but we all call it RVIA certification.

Ethan Waldman 11:30

Okay, okay. Got it. So, so the fact that ASTM is kind of picking up tiny house on wheels standards as its own thing, separate from RV standards is, is something of a wind shift in their direction or in their desire to get involved with tiny houses.

Lee Pera 11:52

Yeah, I was just gonna say I think that's good. I don't think it should be under RV. So I think there should be a separate tiny home movable tiny home standard.

Ethan Waldman 12:01

Yeah, yeah. No, I would definitely agree with that, too. So yeah, so my understanding is that at least in the United States, that most states use IRC code, as you know, the kind of governing code. So, you know, if ASTM were to develop these standards, how would that play in?

Lee Pera 12:31

You know, and that's where my confusion is, too. And why I always was kind of more in the IRC, you know, international residential code camp, because I've worked for government, I understand how slow it is to change. And so why try to create a whole new standard under something that local governments aren't using. Yeah. However, I do understand why folks wanted to do that, because they wanted to have some way. It's really hard to do advocacy,

Ethan Waldman 13:03

if you don't have standards. Hmm. Right. Right. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. And that's like what I've heard, you know, as you see different states adopting Appendix Q or different, you know, individuals advocating in their own cities and towns to get tiny houses legalized, they oftentimes model those rule changes on another city or another state or another town that has done it in a similar way. Nobody wants to be first it seems.

Unknown Speaker 13:36


Ethan Waldman 13:39

So can you then okay, so it feels like we've kind of caught up to present day, more or less. So. April 4, press release from International Code Council? Can you walk us through kind of what what what is happening?

Sure. You know, I'm not involved

Lee Pera 13:56

intricately in the effort. So I can't talk to all the details. But what they put out a press release about was that yes, they were going to address moveable tiny homes in this next iteration. Okay, so International Code Council meets every three years, and then they set the new international residential code. In this next go round, it will no longer be an appendix, the tiny home build, it will just be within the regular international residential code. So it's no longer going to be an appendix, appendix. Okay. And then my understanding is they will also be addressing code for building on a flatbed Foundation, not just on the ground bound foundation. So that's huge. Yes, and it means hopefully, that all of those jurisdictions who have already accepted appendix AQ, if this goes through if the International Code Council votes on it, and says yes, then by 2024, that new code will include I mean, I'm hoping that means that any jurisdiction that allows tiny homes from Appendix Q, that that also means tiny homes on wheels will now be included. I'm sure there's going to have to be a lot of education and advocacy around that or jurisdictions.

Ethan Waldman 15:09

Yep. But it could be huge, really huge.

Lee Pera 15:13

This is what we've kind of been waiting for over the last decade.

Ethan Waldman 15:17

Yeah. Yeah. No, it sounds like it'll be huge. And it's it's interesting. I mean, I don't know if you have any thoughts. Of course, neither of us can predict the future. You know, it seems that a lot of the professional Tiny House world like the professional builders, have gone down that that RV certification route? For a number of reasons. I think that that customers and consumers like having some kind of certification and feeling like what they buy, has been built to some measurable standard. But also, my understanding is that the RVA certification has unlocked the ability for people to get financing, financing, yes, because it allows them to get an RV loan. Do you have any thoughts? Or do you think that this could open up new financing avenues for tiny homes on wheels that are built under, you know, IRC code?

Lee Pera 16:13

I would hope so. I mean, I always tell folks, our VA certification makes sense for financing. That's why the majority of builders do it. They can offer RV loans. Yeah, if you want certification, I really push people to um, there's PacWest on the west coast. But what's Why do I always forget their name? The ones based out of Florida, they came online, maybe about 2015.

Ethan Waldman 16:37

acronym? Yeah, no, no,

Lee Pera 16:41

thank you. I can't I don't know why I can never remember their acronym. Yeah. I know, people personally, who have done it as a DIY builder even purchase their certification package, and they kind of send photos along the way. I recommend people go that route. Yep. If they really want to make sure they're building to code or safely, and then the RV certification if they need it for the RV loan. Yeah. So I hope that yes, now having an official building code for tiny homes on wheels, is that going to open us up and to be able to get conventional new home build loans? I'm hoping so.

Ethan Waldman 17:24

Yeah. Yeah. I've heard it described to me always as that, like, you can get a mortgage on a traditional home that's attached to the ground, because if you default on it, the bank actually has something that they can take back and sell, right. But a movable house presents a challenge or a risk because like, it could be in a different location, they might not be able to recover it. So that's still kind of an interesting, like, head scratcher of like, how can we get to a bank offering a 15, or 20, or even 30 year mortgage on a tiny home, which I know like, interest is really expensive, you end up paying a lot more, but like a mortgage on $100,000 house actually might be affordable for a way larger swath of people out there than having to come up with cash for a tiny house or, you know, an RV loan, which is going to be 567 year loan with high interest rates. Right, exactly.

Lee Pera 18:28

Yeah, that's, I mean, we'll have to wait and see. I mean, I really encourage people to try to do self financing, if at all possible, and figure out their lifestyle as a way to be able to save I think you and I both did that with our homes, and it just opens up so much more after your home is done. Totally, you know, then you're not beholden to any sort of loan. Yeah, but it does require a lot more prep on the front end.

Ethan Waldman 18:54

Yeah. And also, of course, time, you know, if you if you are, you know, saved a certain amount per month just to try to save up enough. And then of course, there's the self build option, which, you know, can save you a lot of money, but doesn't necessarily work if you work full time or more. Exactly. I asked John and Finn Kernaghan of United Tiny House Association what they love about their PrecisionTemp hot water heaters. And here's what they told me.

John Kernohan 19:26

Hey, Ethan. This is John and Finn Kernaghan. With guided Tiny House Association. We have a total of three PrecisionTemp On Demand hot water heaters. The thing we really like about these and folks know this, I think they picked this up on Finn and I, if we don't like something, you'll never hear us talk about it. So the two things we noticed that we noticed and experienced immediately. They took painstaking effort to make sure that it was done right and installed. And so that was pretty cool. Right there. The other thing is the continuous on demand hot water that just ran forever. Without any fluctuations or anything. I can't imagine an application, especially in our environment and our lifestyle of being the Nomad, transportable, mobile, tiny lifestyle where one of these units aren't good to use.

Ethan Waldman 20:26

Right now, PrecisionTemp is offering $100 off any unit plus free shipping, when you use the coupon code THLP, so head over to and use the coupon code THLP at checkout for $100 off any unit. Thank you so much to PrecisionTemp for sponsoring our show.

Well, I wanted to ask you,

before we kind of pivot a little bit, you offer a tiny house placement course. Can you talk about you know what that is? And who should take it and what's in it?

Lee Pera 21:10

Yeah, we basically just go through everything you need to know about zoning code and building code. And I know it's not a fun topic. But I've seen a lot of people make decisions based on what they think their lifestyle is going to be, or where they want to be. And the number one mistake I actually see people made is, we're seeing a lot of jurisdictions change zoning to allow for accessory dwelling units. Yes. And so they think, Oh, great, I'll just look for a piece of property in a jurisdiction that allows accessory dwelling units, and I'll just put a tiny home there. And it's not like I don't know, understand. But people get a little bit confused that accessory means accessory to a main house. So it doesn't mean tiny house. And so we go through all of the different scenarios, situations, whether or not you're looking to rent land, by land, tiny house on a foundation, multiple tiny homes, there's different types of zoning, but I really kind of tried to teach people from my experience how to get creative with zoning, okay, because the number one thing, Ethan is that I don't want people to stop their desire to have a tiny home to wait for legislation to catch up. Yeah, and you and I on that we would still be waiting right or starting out. And yeah, I've had 10 years of being able to live this lifestyle. And it's provided me with so much flexibility. So I really teach people how to be safe enough, how to protect yourself enough, and how to know what's coming down the line with some of these changes in being able to either build or buy your tiny home to meet those requirements. But to not let the current state of zoning and building code changes stop you from moving forward. And then we talked a little bit about also like setting up land and utilities and all of that, but it's basically about the zoning and code and how do you find land for your tiny house whether or not you want to buy land or just rent it? Got it?

Ethan Waldman 23:05

I think I've done this. Now a few different times. You know, I'm moving my tiny house somewhere and I go to the town's website, and I find some like 80 page PDF, that may or may not be actually searchable by tax and I start scrolling through it does the course, you know kind of offer like any tips on like, what to look for and where to where to start? What words to search for. Yeah,

Lee Pera 23:35

right? Yes, I go to the one website that I use all the time Unicode and then teach people like, the categories to look for. And then how to know if you're going to be in the gray area of zoning or not. And yeah, and I'm trying to I actually need to go and update a few of the modules now that we have this new legislation coming out. So

Ethan Waldman 23:54

yeah, yeah. I have one other thing. I

Lee Pera 23:59

want to make people aware of that I actually haven't read into the code as much because it's pretty technical. But there is new code through the IRC on off site building of homes. And this is going to play into tiny homes that are being manufactured off site, because they're realizing like Oh, once you place it on site, you might not be able to certify it

Ethan Waldman 24:25

if it's been built off site.

Lee Pera 24:28

And so this has been traditionally used for things like container homes, but with this new focus on movable tiny homes. We also need to be taking into consideration those standards which have been implemented, I can't remember what they're called like 1200 or 1205. I'm going to actually purchase them so I can read through it in detail, but it does exactly more for like if you're buying right that's going to be if you're buying from a tiny home on wheels removeable tiny home company, right? Not just that necessarily as a DIY builder, because if you're a DIY builder, you can just build to the

Ethan Waldman 25:04

code. On site. Yeah, yeah. Okay, interesting. And so then I wanted to ask you about the consultations that you offer, like what kind of what kind of, you know, there are people I guarantee there are people listening who are like, Okay, I want to work. I want to work with Lee because I'm trying to figure this out. Like, what what can you help people with consultation wise? Yeah,

Lee Pera 25:26

I do consultations for folks. I've done everything from like, helping people figure out a strategy to find land, but mostly it's, um, yeah, it's mostly trying like helping them understand the zoning and code for where they are, and their strategy for finding land. I also have helped people kind of I wouldn't say fight zoning, but if they've gotten a zoning violation, I've helped them come up with a strategy. And I have to say they've all been successful. So that's really exciting. Right? Yeah. How to tell the jurisdiction, hey, this is what this is, and kind of get creative. That's actually my I, those are fun. Those are fun projects. And then also with tiny house communities, I've done some consultations for folks who want to look for land to start a tiny house community. Cool.

Ethan Waldman 26:11

Well, that's awesome. And so that's all at at tidy house, if people are interested. Yeah, exactly. And I will, of course link to all of that in the show notes for this episode. So you can look in your podcast app or, you know, head over to the tiny You'll find it there too. So I do follow your your Facebook group from time to time and I've seen you know, several posts recently about Tiny House projects in Latin America, Tiny House designs and concepts. And I've been contacted by folks in Costa Rica a few times. And it seems like there's a lot of tiny house interest in in Central and South America, can you I know it's such a wide topic to say like, tell us about tiny houses in Latin America. But tell us about tiny houses in Latin America.

Lee Pera 27:07

Yeah, there does seem to be a growing movement. And one of the cool ones I've seen recently that came about during the pandemic, were these little studios to put on your rooftop and in Quito, Ecuador, I used to live there actually 20 years ago. Uh huh. So we're seeing some of that, right, just like little extra spaces because of the pandemic. I don't see tiny homes here in Mexico City, because I mean, it's a big urban area, but outside of the city, definitely. And there's a growing interest in container homes, flatpacked homes, building costs here tend to be less expensive than it is in the States. And building materials now are actually less expensive, too. I think they have been maintained artificially high in the US Post pandemic. Yeah. And so I'm seeing prices for container homes here very affordable, and actually going to talk with a company who's doing flat packed and container home builds to see about even bringing some up to Texas or California and what the cost would be because I think even with import costs, it could still be half the price of what you can find them for in the US.

Ethan Waldman 28:17

Wow. Yeah, it's amazing.

Lee Pera 28:21

And then in Costa Rica, I know there's a lot of like intentional communities being set up. I have a little bit of a issue. I did, actually my graduate research on land in Costa Rica, and a lot of Central American companies. Alright, Central American countries changed their policies in the 90s to attract foreign investment.

You had a whole group of foreigners buying land, and then all of a sudden, like tea goes, the local Costa Ricans were displaced. And so I did my research, actually, we're an area where they had no land access anymore. So I really encourage people, if they're doing that, to make sure you're working with the local community, we don't want to be as tiny home developers or owners a new form of gentrification and displacement. Yeah, I don't think any of us really want that. Those of us who got into the lifestyle because of affordable housing.

And then we're seeing, I think, and I mean, I think just the tiny house movement is popular all over the world, because it's a DIY movement. Yeah. And so this idea that we can take home back into our own hands, we don't need to rely on huge developers to create us, home. Housing actually is a human right. And I always like to remind people that I really encourage people to take risks. I think the way we make progress is through stop waiting, you know, stop waiting for zoning to change, do the best you can, with the regulations that are out there, the building and zoning code that's out there, follow it to the best of your ability, but don't allow that to stop you from creating the home that you want. because otherwise we could be waiting a very long time. And I think the benefit in Latin America is that, especially here in Mexico, you know, when you go

Ethan Waldman 30:08

to rural areas, it's, there's really no building code. Right?

Lee Pera 30:11

There's a lot of natural building happening here. There's a great architect, and she's kind of become pretty renowned. In Mexico for natural building. People are doing a lot with water, you know, rainwater collection systems, making your own rainwater collection systems. And one thing I want to address Ethan, do you know what they're doing here now, and this is because of the water crisis. And it actually started in Monterrey in the north. But we have the service now in Mexico City as well. They will install you can buy a $200 dry toilet, so a composting toilet, and there's a service that will come and pick up your human urine in the city. Yeah, wow. I mean, come on us. We can do you know, like, yeah, they're doing it in Mexico. So it's pretty amazing to see.

Ethan Waldman 30:58

Yeah, wow. I, you know, I'm not that optimistic about that happening in the US until, like, There literally is no water, but Amen. I love it. It's why

Lee Pera 31:12

I think some of these countries are actually going to surpass right, they're going to be more resilient and better resilient for climate change, because they have to be and places like the US are going to kind of get stuck behind and being

Ethan Waldman 31:25

trying to play catch up. Totally, totally. That's really, that's really interesting and exciting. I enjoy following your your Facebook page, because I see I get to see things like that. So do you. Do you still own your tiny home? Are you Yes. What are your ties back to your to your Washington, DC world?

Lee Pera 31:48

Yeah, so I actually just sold for those who don't know, I ended up buying a regular foundation built home, just so I could have a yard for my tiny home. And I used a program called NACA, which is an awesome mortgage program. For those who don't know about it, look it up. Okay, and ACA came out after the last housing crisis as an affordable way to get people into homes. So I had my tiny house in my own yard and used it for about four years. And then once I decided I was no longer going to be in DC, I sold my house. And so now I moved my tiny house to a friend's farm. And it's in an area where there's no zoning, it's unrestricted zoning. So it's sitting on the farm and they're using it while they renovate the farmhouse. And then next year, maybe later this year, I will be moving my tiny house down to

Ethan Waldman 32:36

Texas, where I'm now a resident in Texas. Yep, got it.

Lee Pera 32:41

Okay. And oh, that's another great thing to so Texas is actually I don't know where the status of this legislation is. But they proposed legislation that anyone can put an accessory dwelling unit or a tiny home in their backyard by right across the whole state, because they're seeing the need for affordable housing. And so that was introduced, wow, this past spring or summer in the legislature in the state legislature. And I haven't followed it. But it's pretty exciting.

Ethan Waldman 33:07


Yeah, that is exciting. And that's what that's also reminding me of what you said earlier, which is that just because a town allows accessory dwelling units doesn't necessarily mean that that's, that means a tiny house on wheels. Right? Although I have to say like,

Lee Pera 33:25

in our lives, I've been spending a lot of time in Austin and San Antonio, and in Austin, especially there are tiny homes on wheels in so many backyards. And I think a lot of jurisdictions, this is why I encourage people to just do it. With the affordable housing crisis. If you do it safely, if you do it to the best of the standards that you can meet, I have rarely seen people get in trouble. The only people I've seen who've had issues are in historic districts, or they didn't do their research with kind of talking to the neighbors first and there was a

Ethan Waldman 33:55

neighbor who wasn't happy with it. Right? Yeah. I mean, like, I'm in Burlington, Vermont, and and the zoning code here is still like a bureaucratic mess. But we're just like, we're like Boulder, Colorado, it's a small city. Everybody wants to live here. The housing costs have gone insane. And they are working on making accessory dwelling units more feasible by simplifying the code and things but I don't know anybody who has a tiny house here. That's that's fully legal. But I don't know anybody who's had enforcement. So basically the Yeah, code enforcement is kind of looking the other way because, exactly. Ultimately, they want tiny homes here, but it's just not legal yet. Exactly. Yeah. Well, is there anything I mean, this has been such a wide ranging conversation. I always love chatting with you. Is there. Is there anything else that I didn't ask you about that you wanted to kind of put on our radar?

Lee Pera 34:58

I don't think so other than folks to just follow you know what's happening across the country with zoning and not just across the country, there's actually been some great movement in Ontario and some different places in Canada as well. Yes, zoning. I don't follow Australia and New Zealand as much. And I know in Europe to there's some there's some movement. So I think it's a really exciting time to be in the tiny house movement. Yeah. And I know that folks are getting upset with how expensive they've become. But if that's the case for you, then just there are some great options. I know, Ethan, you put out in your newsletter sometimes to these different builds companies. I found some new ones. Yeah. There are still ways to do this affordably. Yeah, I just really, I like to help people find affordable places to park them or place them because that's where I'm seeing a lot of the unaffordability come in. Hmm. People charging like 1200 $1,500 a month to rent property. I'm like, how is that affordable? Like? Well then get like a regular foundation based home and have the land equity? Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 36:08

Wow. Yeah. The whole The whole point is that it's supposed to be affordable. Right?

Lee Pera 36:14

Yeah. Yeah. And I've never paid more than about $500 a month to park mine. Yeah. And even in an urban area. So and I think that is realistic five to 700. You know?

Ethan Waldman 36:26

Got it. Cool. All right. Well, Lee Pera, thank you so much for your time and for sharing all this knowledge with us. It's much appreciated.

Lee Pera 36:35

Thank you even thanks for having me. Again, always good to chat with you.

Ethan Waldman 36:39

Thank you so much to Lee Pera for being a guest on the show today. And thank you so much to FOTILE and to PrecisionTemp for sponsoring the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast today. You can find links to both of the sponsors in the show notes. You can also find a complete transcript of this episode and links to Lee's recommended resources at Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.

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