Movable Tiny Homes as ADUs

Santa Clara (County), California


Name Movable Tiny Homes as ADUs
Municipality Santa Clara (County)
Zoning Districts Located on same lot as the primary dwelling (single or multifamily)
Effective Date 03/10/2020
Municipal Code Accessory Dwelling Units (Section 4.10.015E)
Code Link
Authority Department of Planning and Development


Ordinance No. NS-1200.371 amends Appendix I, Zoning, of the County of Santa Clara Ordinance Code, to modify definitions, use classifications, and permitting requirements for accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units in accordance with recent amendments to state law (GC 65852.2-ADU), and allowing the use of movable tiny homes as accessory dwelling units.

Section 2.10.030 and 4.10.015.E speaks to provisions specific to Movable Tiny Homes.

Movable Tiny Homes. Movable tiny homes are subject to all of the following provisions:

  1. Shall adhere to all setback, height, and floor area limitations pursuant to Section 4.10.015(D).
  2. Shall be a self-contained unit that complies with all State of California requirements, is constructed in compliance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 119.5 standard as certified by an accredited qualified third-party inspector, and is licensed and registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
  3. Shall not move under its own power.
  4. Shall be no larger than allowed by state law for movement on public highways.
  5. Shall have at least 100 square feet of enclosed space.
  6. Shall be directly connected to an approved water source, an onsite wastewater treatment system or sanitary sewer system, and electric utilities. Holding tanks that are incorporated into the original design of the structure shall not be used for the purposes of waste storage and shall be directly connected to the approved onsite wastewater treatment system or sanitary sewer.
  7. The undercarriage (wheels, axles, tongue and hitch) shall be hidden from view.
  8. All wheels and leveling or support jacks shall sit on a surface acceptable to the County Building Official or designee.
  9. Mechanical equipment shall be incorporated into the original design of the structure and shall not be located on the roof or added on to the exterior of the unit.
  10. Shall have the following design elements to maintain the character of the residential neighborhood:
  11. Shall not include corrugated aluminum or fiberglass siding and shall not be a shipping container or cargo container.
  12. Shall use cladding and trim materials on the exterior of movable tiny homes for residential appearance and to provide adequate thermal insulation and weather resistance. Materials may include, but are not limited to, single piece composite, vinyl siding, laminates, or interlocked sheathing.
  13. Windows shall be at least double pane glass and labeled for building use, and shall include exterior trim.

To apply for an MTH ADU, use this application checklist (revised 9/8/21)

Key Contacts

Planning Office
70 West Hedding Street, 7th Floor, East Wing
San Jose, CA  95110
(408) 299-5700

 Staff Contacts



Updated:  Loran – February 2021

THIA will be constantly updating the legislation data. Check back often. Suggest A Correction if you are aware of any missing or incorrect information. AND keep scrolling to learn more about getting guidance.



Building Code — Legislation that speaks to how to construct a tiny house.

Zoning Code — Legislation that speaks to how the lot will be used.


ADU — Accessory Dwelling Unit

DMV — Division of Motor Vehicles

IB — Industrialized Buildings

IRC — International Residential Code

PUD — Planned Unit Development

RV — Recreational Vehicle

SF — Single Family Dwelling

T — Transitional Housing

UDO — Unified Development Ordinance

Please Suggest a Correction if you find broken links or misinformation.

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