Sales of Certain Tiny Homes Halted by Jurisdictional Snafu

A jurisdictional snafu between two Oregon state agencies is holding up sales for certain types of tiny homes, leaving both buyers and sellers frustrated.

At issue are so-called park models, which often have wood siding and pitched roofs like a manufactured home. They’re on wheels, even though they’re wide enough to require professional teams for transport on public roads like manufactured homes.

The state’s Building Codes Division had been processing ownership documents for park models for a good long while, but the agency decided last year that these tiny houses aren’t manufactured homes intended for long-term living. The agency stopped accepting title transfer documents on these park models earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Oregon lawmakers passed House Bill 2333 so the DMV could take on title transfers, but that law doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1. According to the DMV, they can’t process title transfers until the law allows them to.

When the Building Codes Division sees a park model, they see an RV — and when the DMV looks at it, they see a manufactured home. The legislation cleaning that up doesn’t change until January 1.

Here’s where all this has left buyers and sellers: According to the Oregonian, real estate brokers have received mixed messages from both state agencies. Some brokers even said they were told to close sales and transfer the title at a later date, a liability no wary realtor would advise any client to take. So, brokers have generally suspended sales until the new year.

By Andy Thompson