Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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These are houses for PEOPLE, right?

Yes, absolutely! They're houses for grown up people, to live in and work and play in. Your dog can live here too, if you want.

The name comes from Barking Dog Ranch where our homes are constructed, in beautiful Aromas, California.

What if I don't have water or power hookups?

We've configured our standard models to live in a suburban backyard and hook up to water, power, and sewer.

If you envision your tiny home in a more off-grid situation, we can certainly set that up as well. Contact us to work out the details, and ask for the RV Variation, which would include:

  • Potable (clean) water tank and pump
  • Blackwater and greywater holding tank and cleanout
  • Solar panel and battery bank to match appliance load.

In the RV Variation, your home will support modern living off grid for longer periods of time.

Can I use a compost toilet? Isn't that gross?

Yes, you can, and no, it actually works better than most people would assume. You will need to do your research and learn about the processes at work, and how to avoid common mistakes. We recommend the humanure handbook.

You'll also want to research the rules and laws regarding composting and waste in the city or county you'll be living in. As with most aspects of tiny house living, the details will depend entirely on how much attention you do or don't attract.

Depending on your preferences, you could specify a home-made toilet shown on the humanure handbook or a commercial model complete with instructions, warranty and 5-star reviews.

What is the legal status of this?

Officially it is a trailer. It is street legal, and registered with the California DMV. It has a license plate & taillights. You will be responsible for renewing the registration every year, just like your car. It is legal to drive (tow) on the road at anytime without any special permit. (CA legal limit is 8.5 feet wide, 13.5 feet tall, and 10,000 pounds maximum.)

Can I have it in the backyard?

This is the big question. The Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) idea was originally meant to circumvent many (unfair) restrictions on dwellings that cities and town governments have put into place. Many of us belive that the rules on minimum square feet have nothing to do with the safety of citizens and exist to keep property taxes high and discourage a certain type of people from living in town.

A THOW is not a dwelling, in the eyes of the city. Therefore it isn't subject to these rules. What rules it is subject to is a grey area. It is most like an RV, so you might want to look up whether it's legal to park an RV in your backyard and live in it.

The bottom line for most people is this: city rules are mostly enforced and checked when a neighbor makes a complaint. So for a certain type of person, who maintains good relationships with their neighbors, there won't be any problems. Other people seem to always find something to feud or bicker over, and a THOW will just be something else to fight over.

Here at Barking Dog Homes, we encourage good neighborly relations. Keep an eye on their car, help trim their yard, bring them cookies and presents at Christmas (or anytime). Give them reasons to like you, and overlook reasons to dislike them. You need them on your side.

So do you just ignore the building codes?

No way! Our houses comply with the IBC (International Building Code), with a few exceptions:

  • The foundation is a trailer, supported by a suspension, axle, tires, and jacks.

  • Some doorways might be less than the code requires, due to the tiny space available. This is a problem with our customers in wheelchairs, and an ADA-friendly version is in development.

  • The ladder to the loft probably wouldn't pass inspection, because code requires stairs of a certain size. You need to be able to handle this one. Please check out the model with a bed on the floor if you aren't able to use a ladder.

  • In some models, it may not be possible or financially feasible to provide the proper 2nd points of egress. (In other words, building code requires another way out of the building in case the front door is on fire.) Usually, you can jump out of one of the large windows, but the sleeping loft may present a problem.

Other than those exceptions, we believe in the IBC building code and we believe in protecting the safety and health of our customers. All plumbing, electricity, weatherproofing, fresh air flow, fire safety, and the many other aspects the IBC are complied or exceeded.

Please note that your specific town may have enacted requirements beyond what the IBC dictates. It is the customer's responsibility to ensure compliance with whatever laws, rules and restrictions apply in the juristiction they are located in.

Will you deliver?

Delivery is free within 75 miles of Watsonville, California. If the distance is farther, we will deliver at a cost of $2 per mile. (So, minimum delivery cost is $152 for 76 miles.)

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