No brakes on ‘movable tiny homes’ bill in House committees
Cyndi Stevenson gives a preview of 2022. Image via Colin Hackley.

The panel advanced the bill with 14 'yeas' and 0 'nays.'

A novel solution to some affordable housing issues continues to roll through House panels, with the Transportation & Modals Subcommittee unanimously on board with a measure the sponsor likened to a “duck-billed platypus looking for a place to fit.”

Rep. Cyndi Stevenson’s legislation (HB 557) would establish parameters and a statutory definition for so-called “movable tiny homes,” specifying which “park trailers” would qualify.

The St. Johns Republican described the subject as “a relatively new year-round housing product that is increasingly popular and isn’t recognized by the Florida motor vehicle code” that is on wheels and may travel on roads.

“This bill would provide a definition of a movable tiny home and standards for construction and inspection,” she said. “The bill allows for permanent dwelling in a movable tiny home. If it meets residential building standards, per the Florida building code, having a standard will make it easier for local government to consider the movable tiny homes as part of their community and add them to their development plans.”

As one might surmise, a movable tiny home is indeed smaller than what most residents are accustomed to currently.

“The total area of such unit may not exceed 400 square feet when constructed to standards specified in s. 320.8231(3), and 500 square feet when constructed to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Standards. A park trailer under this sub-sub-subparagraph may be referred to as a ‘movable tiny home,’” the bill stipulates.

“The total area of a park trailer is measured from the exterior surface of the exterior stud walls at the level of maximum dimensions, not including any bay window when the unit is in setup mode.”

Inspections would also be required for this designation, with stickers certifying a “professional engineer or architect licensed in this state or by a third-party inspector who is qualified to inspect for compliance with the Florida Building Code” actually approved the setup.

Legislators had nothing but praise for the measure.

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani lauded the bill, saying “different sizes of homes can be a game changer,” both for lower-income families and nonprofits looking for transitional housing solutions.

“This is a great bill,” said Chairwoman Fiona McFarland, who said people should have the right to live where they want.

The bill has one House committee stop to go, but no Senate companion. That means that if the House approves it, the Senate will have to take it up and pass it without committee hearings. Given that it’s Stevenson’s last Session, that may be what it takes to get this through.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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