Portland is taking a new approach to RVs and tiny homes placed on private property. The city’s building code bureau will limit its efforts to enforce the rules against them.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly manages the Bureau of Development Services and announced the change this week. Eudaly said she has asked code enforcement officers to “deprioritize” enforcement against tiny homes and RVs “effective immediately.”

The policy doesn’t apply to RVs parked on city streets. Those can still be towed. But the city’s code enforcement officers won’t go after tents, RVs or tiny homes on private property with the owner’s permission.

Eudaly said she intends to continue the policy for the duration of the city’s housing emergency. She has also asked staff to work on a proposed code change that would permanently allow tiny homes on private property. Such a change would be subject to approval by the City Council.

Eudaly’s spokesman, David Austin, said the changes will make it easier for people who own property to help out friends or family members who’ve become homeless.

“It’s everybody’s problem, and we all need to be coming up with solutions,” he said. “Gone are the days of everybody thinking the stereotypical homeless person is holding a bottle and standing out on a street corner. We’re talking about families (that) are impacted by this, kids are impacted by this.”

Residential properties will be allowed to host one tent or RV. Churches and business will be allowed up to three. 

In theory, the new policy could also allow up to three RVs or tents on city property. Austin said it will be up to individual city bureaus that own land to decide whether to allow it.

BDS has posted the guidelines they will use to determine when and if to respond to complaints about tiny homes and RVs on private property.

Property owners are responsible for making sanitary facilities available for tiny homes and RVs, and for providing extension cords for electricity. Generators are not allowed.