While tiny houses are cute and a lot of people fantasize about living in one, houses on wheels do come with a few downsides. Often these downsides are trade-offs for the benefits that come from tiny house living.
For example, while it's great that you can move your home whenever you want to, unfortunately, that means that other people can move it too. If your house is portable, you could return home one day to find that it's no longer there.
Obviously this situation isn't very common, and I hope it never happens to any of you, but it does happen. You may have heard about Casey and Jessica's tiny house. After spending over two years and tens of thousands of dollars building their tiny house, they received a phone call one day to tell them that their tiny house had been stolen.
Their home was eventually found, but a lot of damage was done. The paved driveway they had slaved over was ruined, their trust in their community was lost, and, ultimately, they decided that tiny house living wasn't for them anymore. It was every tiny house owner's worst nightmare.
Tiny House Security
So what can you do to ensure that your tiny house doesn't get stolen? What security measures can you put in place to protect your home? How can you deter thieves from running off with the place you call home?
Luckily there are plenty of things you can do for tiny house security, and they don't have to cost the earth.
1. Get a Hitch Lock
One of the simplest things you can do to protect your tiny house from theft is to get yourself a hitch lock. This low-tech device covers the hitch to stop thieves from hooking your house up to a vehicle and driving off with it. It also acts as a visible deterrent.
Do a bit of research to ensure that the lock you choose fits your trailer well because the better the lock fits, the harder the lock will be to break. Fortunately you shouldn't need to break the bank to fit one of these; it should set you back less than $100. Here are a couple of the most popular options out there:
- MegaHitch Lock Coupler Vault (other sizes and colors available)
- Trimax UMAX100
2. Use Wheel Locks
Wheel locks are another low-tech and low-cost solution. You simply install these where your trailer's lug nuts usually go (it's up to you whether you switch out all or just one of them). Once they're on, they act as anti-theft deterrents and they're almost impossible to remove unless you have the right key.
Wheel locks are another budget-friendly measure; they should cost you under $100. Here are a couple to take a look at:
3. Use GPS Tracking
If you have an iPhone, you may have set up a phone-finding app, so that, should you ever lose your phone, you can locate it remotely. Well, a similar thing is available for tiny houses! Simply hide a GPS tracking device in your tiny house, so that, should someone steal it, you're able to track it and get it back again.
Any GPS tracking device designed for objects like motorhomes should work. And this might sound like an expensive option but it's really not. This piece of technology is likely to cost you somewhere between $100 and $500. Here are a couple of examples:
- Accutracking Starter Kit
- The Tile App (not technically GPS, but less expensive)
4. Install Security Camera
SANNCE 8CH 960H DVR Security Camera System
Another techy solution is to install internet security cameras near your tiny house to record any (attempted) thefts or criminal activity. Lots of security cameras deliver footage directly to your smart phone or laptop, so you can keep an eye on your home wherever you are.
Again, you might think this kind of protection would be too pricey, but these devices are fairly cheap these days. Depending on the sophistication of the camera you're looking at, you might be able to pick one up for under $100.
Alternatively, you could place some fake security cameras, signs, or even motion-activated floodlights near your tiny house to act as deterrents only. You can buy fake cameras online and they cost under $30. The Blindspotter Solar Powered Dummy Camera has great reviews.
5. Restrict Access
Photo courtesy of Tammy Strobel
Going back to basics, if you don't want anyone to steal your tiny house, make it hard for them to get to it or to move it from where it's parked. If you can, install a locked gate, so that thieves can't get anywhere near your house. Even if they could climb over it, they'd have a hard time towing the house through it!
When you're preparing your tiny house garden, position some large boulders or structures around your house, so that any thieves would need to spend a lot of time clearing the way. Or place something big and heavy like a truck right in front of the hitch, so that no other vehicle can get in there and be hooked up.
6. Put Your Tiny House on Blocks
Another strategy is to make your home less mobile. Of course you could build a tiny house on a foundation, but you could also temporarily put your house on blocks or jack stands. You could put the wheels somewhere where they won't be found, so that any thieves would need to bring their own wheels and tools.
The main benefit of doing this is that it will slow any thieves down. Obviously this approach isn't ideal for anyone who moves around a lot, but it's a cheap and easy option for anyone who's going to be staying put for a while.
7. Install an Alarm
SmartThings Smart Home Starter Kit
Perhaps the most obvious solution is to install an alarm to make a racket and even call you or the police should anyone break into your home. You can go as budget or as advanced as you like with these, but you should be able to get a decent motorhome alarm system for under $200. Here are a couple to consider:
8. Pretend to be Home
Woods 50006 Indoor 24-Hour Mechanical Outlet Timer
Use a timer to set up a lighting, radio, or TV system to convince guests that you're at home when you're not. This isn't the most energy conscious option out there, but if thieves can see that the lights are on in the evening and hear that the TV is on in the daytime, they might be persuaded that someone's in and leave your home alone.
Alternatively, get a fake dog to put off potential thieves. (You could of course get a real dog, but I don't want to advocate buying pets simply for home security!) Put up a “beware of the dog” sign and get an electronic barking dog alarm to dissuade potential intruders from running off with your house.
- Woods 50006 Indoor 24-Hour Mechanical Outlet Timer
- Safety Technology International ED-50 Rex Plus Electronic Watchdog
9. Make Friends
Photo courtesy of Sharon Felzer
Nothing beats community, so while you're befriending your neighbors, why not ask them to keep an eye on your property while you're away? If you're going away for an extended period of time, you could even ask a friend or house sitter to live in your home for you.
How Will You Keep Your Tiny House Safe?
Unfortunately we live in a world where we can't trust other people not to steal our possessions, including our homes. But there are plenty of measures we can take to protect them.
While just one or two of these approaches might be enough to deter potential thieves, you could also go all out and use several of them to protect your home to the max. Hopefully none of the measures you take will ever be necessary, but it's better to be safe than to be sorry.
How will you protect your tiny house? Do you have concerns about tiny house security?