Oregon agency: 'Attempt to deregulate' created barrier for small houses; rule changed

Tiny House Village - Photo from Wesleigh Ogle.jpg
Tiny House Village - Photo from Wesleigh Ogle

SALEM, Ore. - A state agency filed new rules related to small houses on June 1 "after learning its attempt to deregulate this important emerging industry inadvertently affected the eligibility for tiny houses on wheels to apply for a vehicle title."

These portable small homes - called a “recreational park trailer" in state rules - had been a growing industry in Oregon.

Builder Cameron Scott of Prineville said he planned to hire more people to keep up with demand. But after a 2017 rule change, Scott found himself forced to lay people off.

The head of the Oregon Building Codes Division said the change - which excluded the structures from the state's definition of a recreational vehicle - was unintentional.

“We believe this rule will help provide clarity for manufacturers and allow an unfettered path to titling these types of recreational vehicles in Oregon,” said Mark Long, Building Codes Division administrator.

The new rule defines a “recreational park trailer” as:

  • A single living unit that is primarily designed and completed on a single chassis, mounted on wheels, to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or other seasonal use;
  • Is certified by the manufacturer as complying with a nationally recognized standard for the construction of recreational vehicles; and
  • Has a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the setup mode.

DMV plans to start accepting title applications for recreational park trailers later this year.