Tiny House Rules in Florida You Should Know (Explained)

The Sunshine State is known for its clean beaches and sparkling waters, but what about its thriving tiny home community?

Florida may be the vacation destination for many tourists, but it is also attracting a lot of attention from would-be tiny house dwellers.

It has several policies and rules that are quite favorable to tiny home enthusiasts. If you have been considering making a move for your next tiny home, Florida should be at the top of your list.

Here are all of the rules that you need to know before you set up camp in your new tiny home.

What Counties in Florida Allow Tiny Houses?

It turns out that Florida is pretty friendly when it comes to their tiny house rules and regulations.

As with most places, the rules will vary from county to county. If you want to know specifically whether your land can have a tiny house, you should check with the zoning and building ordinances at your local jurisdiction.

However, some counties are already very open to tiny houses.

For example, you may want to consider moving your tiny house to:

  • Sarasota County
  • Petersburg
  • Orange County

All three of these counties will have their own specific rules regarding what you can do with your tiny home and how you can build. However, sticking to these guidelines should not prove to be a problem for most individuals. For more information on what each county requires, see the section following this one.

In addition to these three counties, you can place a tiny home almost anywhere in the state.

You will find that each county has its own minimum square footage, though. Some tiny home enthusiasts would argue that the minimum square footage required is not a “tiny” home at all. For example, Franklin County requires a 1,000 square foot minimum.

Other counties that have the minimum square footage of 600 or less include:

  • Suwannee County
  • Dixie County
  • Columbia County
  • Levy County
  • Pasco County
  • Hamilton County

If you’re looking to build a tiny home of your own, here are a few tiny house builders in Florida that you should know!

Rules and Regulations for Tiny Houses in Florida You Should Know

Florida is becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of tiny homes.

The panhandle state has issued a few rules and regulations that you should know about before you get too deep into building your very own small dwelling. Keep in mind that all building codes and ordinances will vary from county to county. Be sure to check with your local building office to confirm if these rules apply to you.

Sarasota County is one of the most well-known areas for tiny home builders, but they make it a bit harder for people who like to use their tiny home to travel. If you plan to park your unit in an RV park, be prepared to move it at least every 45 days.

Any tiny house that stays in an RV park for 45 days is required to have a foundation. Another regulation for tiny houses on wheels is that they must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Florida.

In St. Petersburg, there are square footage requirements that must be met for your home to be qualified as an accessory dwelling unit. The floor plan you choose must be no less than 375 square feet, and it cannot have more than 750 square feet. Orange County proposes similar specifications with a minimum square footage of 400.

What is the Minimum Size for Houses in Florida?

Unlike some other states that have no minimum square footages, Florida is very specific about just how small your new home can be.

Some counties allow for small units that are just 375 square feet while others require your home to have a minimum of 1,000 to 1,500 square feet. The key is to understand exactly what you can expect from each area.

First and foremost, you should know which areas do not have minimum square footage.

This includes the City of Longwood, City of Oviedo, and City of Casselberry in Seminole County. Orange County also has two cities with no minimum (Winter Park and Orlando).

Most people who intend to move forward within the tiny house movement are interested in living in an area that requires less than 1,000 square feet.

All of the below counties have the minimum square footage of 700 or less:

  • Seminole County
  • Wakulla County
  • Suwannee County
  • Dixie County
  • Columbia County
  • Levy County
  • Pasco County
  • Hamilton County

The counties with the smallest required minimum house size are Dixie County (450 square feet), St. Petersburg (375 square feet), and Pasco County (450 square feet). When designing your house, make sure that you plan for this minimum square footage.

Related Article: 6 Tiny House Builders in California You Should Know

Where Do People Place Tiny Houses in Florida?

The good news is that you will never run out of options for locations you can place your tiny home in Florida.

They are one of the most tiny-home friendly states in the country, and they give you plenty of opportunities – particularly if your tiny home is on wheels.

If you plan to do a lot of traveling to see new and exciting areas, Florida is particularly good for you.

Depending on the building code in your local area, you might be able to place a tiny home on a permanent foundation directly in your backyard. This is labeled as an accessory dwelling unit, and many families choose to take advantage of this option.

It is great for when you have guests, need some extra space, or want to have a home office. Check with the zoning ordinances in your area to see if your property qualifies to have one of these units installed.

If you want the freedom to travel, you can visit a wide variety of RV parks all over the state. Keep in mind that if you stay for an extended time at some of these RV parks, you might be required to put the home on a foundation. This is the case in Sarasota County, where you must have a foundation for stays longer than 45 days.

RV parks that you can visit include:

  • Key Largo Kampground and Marina
  • Kozy Kampers
  • Naples RV Resorts
  • Rock Creek RV Resort
  • Twelve Oaks RV Resort
  • Journey’s End
  • Winter Garden RV Resort
  • Paramore’s Campground
  • Fleetwood RV Park
  • Rustic Sands Resort Campground

Where Can I Find Land for Tiny Houses in Florida?

Purchasing a piece of land for your new tiny home is not as simple as you may think. Many people believe that they can purchase any plot of land and plunk down a new tiny home. However, this is not the case. What is legal on one piece of land may not be legal on another.

Most prospective tiny house owners believe that they should be safe to place their tiny home on a rural piece of land. Unfortunately, this still may not be legal, even if they are trying to go off-grid.

You must pay careful attention to the zoning and land use regulations in any area before making a major purchase of land.

First, you need to decide how you plan to use your tiny home. Will you live in it year-round, or is it only a seasonal thing for you? Answering this major question may help you to determine whether a particular piece of land is zoned correctly for you.

You need to perform your due diligence before you sink a great deal of money into a property that may not be the right fit for your needs.

If you cannot figure out whether a tiny house is permitted on a potential property, be sure to contact the local building officials for your county.

They should be able to help you understand the zoning regulations and figure out what to do next to move forward with building a new tiny home.

What Are the Rules for Other US States?

Much like in Florida, the list of rules and regulations for tiny homes is long and rather complex in each of the other states.

There is no common set of rules that every state follows when it comes to policies for tiny homes. Instead, they will vary based on towns, cities, and counties. Each jurisdiction establishes its own unique set of rules and policies that it enforces for tiny homes.

Most states recognize tiny homes on wheels as RVs and treat them as such. Tiny homes that are built on permanent foundations are typically labeled as accessory dwelling units.

Keep in mind that each county may also have minimum square footage requirements, just as each county in Florida has its own requirements.

For more information on the rules for other states, see our detailed breakdown: Where Can I Build a Tiny House? (Laws by State)

Final Thoughts

Florida is a great place to consider living the tiny house lifestyle.

Most of their cities and counties are extremely tiny-home friendly and have a lot of promise for your new lifestyle.

Make sure to check with local building codes and zoning ordinances before you make any major moves with your new tiny home, though!

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