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Legislators discussing bill that would allow for more 'tiny homes' in Maine

'Tiny living' is on the rise and could become a solution for Mainers to achieving affordable housing

MAINE, Maine — Tiny houses are becoming more popular throughout the country.
Now, Maine lawmakers are discussing a proposed bill that would regulate tiny homes, making it easier for more Mainers to transition to "tiny living"  throughout the state.

Robbie and Rebecca Thibodeau have been spending their weekends for the past two years building their very own tiny home from the ground up. The couple decided it was time to downsize and live more sustainably. 

"It's got all the rooms that a normal house has, like a one-bedroom house would have, only it's all in one big space," said Rebecca Thibodeau. "Every imperfection makes us love it even more because it's ours and it's what we did!"

They live comfortably with everything they need in 386 square feet. Previously, they lived in a space that was about 900 square feet.

"We plan on making this our last house, and one of the reasons why we did go tiny is so we don't have a mortgage, so as we get older, we can go and do things too and not have a mortgage tying us down to here," said Robbie Thibodeau.

"Putting it into reality was kind of crazy, and at times we were like, are we really doing this?" added Robbie Thibodeau.

Aaron Bolster is the president of the Maine Association of Realtors, he says tiny homes are a very affordable housing option and nowadays that's what many Mainers are looking for.

"You are seeing more and more municipalities allowing that to help with this housing crunch that we are in," said Bolster.

If the bill considered by Maine legislators passes, it would provide state-wide regulations for tiny homes. Here is a list of what this proposed bill discusses.

The founder of Tiny Homes of Maine Corinne Watson submitted the bill for review, to the Maine legislature. The first public hearing happened on May 5th.

In summary and according to Tiny House Alliance USA, "the bill establishes standards for municipalities to follow regarding tiny homes, which are structures no larger than 400 square feet constructed on a frame or chassis and designed for use as permanent living quarters. The bill allows municipalities to set rules for tiny homes that are less restrictive than state law, allows tiny homes on undeveloped and developed housing lots, allows municipal inspection of certain features of tiny homes, and provides for tiny homes."

If you would like to learn more about this bill, click here.

"More of the local code enforcement offices are more of the governing factor of what a tiny home, where it can be, and the standards for that, so on a statewide level we haven't seen a huge impact yet," said Tom Cole, a real estate agent with the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, the Masiello Group.

Cole says tiny homes are growing in popularity in Maine and he expects more tiny homes to come on the market over time.

"Our electric costs are down, way down, obviously, you don't have as many lights you are running, we don't have a huge water heater," added Robbie Thibodeau.

Downsizing and maximizing the space they have to live comfortably with just what they need.

"I think it's beautiful, I think it's cozy, it's cute, it's our design, it's us!" said Rebecca Thibodeau.