PORTLAND, Ore. – Homeowners in Portland can now let people to live in tiny homes and RVs on their property, after Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced the city would temporarily halt enforcement of rules that prohibit people living in the structures on private land.
For homeowners, that means they can either rent out RVs and tiny homes to others, or let people who already have an RV or tiny home stay on their land for free or for a fee.
But one issue homeowners should address before opening up their property is insurance.
Several homeowners and landlords have voiced concern about insurance problems with the new rules on sites such as NextDoor and Facebook.
The city of Portland did not research whether homeowner’s insurance will cover the additional structures on private property, since it didn’t enact new rules – it just stopped enforcing old ones.
“We don’t have the right to check people’s individual insurance,” explained Dave Austin, spokesman for Eudaly’s office and the Bureau of Development Services, which enforces the private property rules. “We aren’t going to answer a question like that for people. We are not dictating that people have to do this. This is a minor tweak that will help some families.”
John Proctor, a senior account director at the Portland office of State Farm agent Jared Dean, explained that many insurance companies will not cover RVs if people are living in them as a residence. That could be an issue if an RV on someone’s property burned, and if there was damage to the home or a nearby structure.
“If there was damage to the property, the homeowner would be liable for it,” Proctor explained.
A tiny home that is not insured could cause the same liability issues. State Farm will insure tiny homes, and already does for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that have gained popularity across the city. That insurance will usually run people a few hundred dollars a year, Proctor said.
No matter what, Proctor suggested homeowners call their insurance companies before letting anyone live on a tiny home or RV on their land.