You’ve probably been hearing a lot lately about tiny houses – houses smaller than 1,000 square feet houses on individual foundations or trailers, usually built on site unlike manufactured housing and with more attention to energy efficiency and internal detail (and thus, usually more expensive) than RV’s or trailer homes. The Concord Monitor has a story today about how they fall into a regulatory gray area for building inspectors and others of that ilk.

When (esse Pacheco, the building inspector in Pittsfield) looks at the online forums where building inspectors chat, he said, there’s been some discussion but no concrete examples to work from. “There’s a lot of inspectors buzzing about it, but the thing is, I haven’t run into anyone saying, ‘They put one in my town and this is what we had to do,’ ” he said.

Pacheco wondered what effect the wheeled nature of a specific brand of tiny houses would have on the tax process, too. “What’s the next thing? I’m going to go live in an air balloon. I’m going to live off the ground. You can’t get me for taxes,” he laughed.

Steve Hamilton, the director of the municipal and property division at the Department of Revenue Administration, said the Supreme Court has offered guidance as to what’s taxable as a building. It includes a four-part test, he said, that mostly has to do with the use of the property.

The factors the court examined are: one, if it’s intended to be more or less a permanent structure, not temporary; two, if it’s more or less completely enclosed; three, if it’s used as a dwelling, storehouse or shelter; and four, if it’s intended to remain stationary.

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