Apply for Vehicular Residential Facilities: Occupied Recreational Vehicles (RVs) and Tiny Homes on Wheels

On November 16, 2021, the Oakland City Council adopted the "Construction Innovation and Expanded Housing Options Ordinance" to promote cost-effective construction methods and housing types. Among other things, the Ordinance updated the City’s zoning regulations to authorize residential occupancy of recreational vehicles (RVs) and tiny homes on wheels by creating a new residential facility type in the Oakland Planning Code called “Vehicular Residential Facilities."

What Are "Vehicular Residential Facilities"?

Vehicular Residential Facilities (VRFs) are residential dwelling units constructed on a vehicle chassis and are defined in Oakland Planning Code Section 17.10.700 as RVs under State law (Health and Safety Code Section 18010). VRFs include motorhomes, trailers, and tiny homes on wheels. They contain less than 320 square feet of internal living area and 400 square feet or less of gross horizontal area.

Before you Start

Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.

What to Do

Permit Requirements

How to Apply

  1. Step One: Planning/Zoning Review
    • Complete all required information, checklist, documents, and plans as outlined in the "Zoning Approval Submittal Requirements" section on page 3 of the Vehicular Residential Facility (VRF) Application
    • Submit a Zoning Worksheet through our Online Permit Center*
      * NOTE: You will be taken to our login page first before you can submit a Zoning Worksheet
    • In the Worksheet, upload your completed VRF Application and all required plans and documents
    • A planner will review your submission
    • Once approved, you will receive a decision letter from the Bureau of Planning
  2. Step Two: Building Permits

    Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Permits:
    Once you receive Zoning approval, you may apply for building permits through our Online Permit Center (must be a fully registered and activated user):

    Grading and Building Permits (for Retaining Walls):
    If required for your project, you may also apply for a Grading Permit and Building Permit (for retaining walls) through our Online Permit Center. Please refer to the requirements for Grading Permits in the Oakland Municipal Code – Grading, Excavation, and Fills.

    Curbs, Gutters, Sidewalks & Driveways:
    If your project involves installation, widening, elimination, or repair to a curb, gutter or sidewalk (CGS), you will need to obtain approval from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

    • A CGS Permit is issued by DOT
    • After Zoning approval, a CGS application may be submitted to DOT
    • Submit the plans that have been reviewed/approved by Zoning to DOTOnlinePermits@oaklandca.gov with a copy of your approval email from Planning & Building
  3. Step Three: Application Review

    Once we receive your application, staff will review your documents for completeness. If further information is needed, a planner will contact you at the email address provided. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.

Need to Know

QUESTIONS?

Call (510) 238-3891 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:


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