insulation on a tiny house

Where Can I Build a Tiny House? (Laws by State)

In Tiny Housesby Maria Fredgaard

Your home is only as good as the foundation.

For tiny houses, this logic applies to the land where your tiny home will rest.

However, in the case of most state’s laws, finding the perfect spot is easier said than done.

One of the most difficult parts of owning a tiny house is deciding where to build it. This doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Studying up on state’s laws when it comes to tiny houses can put you in a better position.

Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know for each state across the U.S. when it comes to tiny house law.

This way you will not only be able to find the perfect home but also can avoid getting in trouble.

Where Can You Build A Tiny House?

Brand new shiny tiny house

How can you get in trouble when building a tiny house?

Because tiny houses are still new in the eyes of the law, most states are still unsure about how to allow for them.  Luckily for you, we have already done the legwork.

Here are the best places to build a tiny house as well as the laws by state.

Laws Surrounding Tiny Houses You Must Know

Many states still don’t have specific laws surrounding tiny houses.  However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t run into trouble when building one.

The biggest restrictions on tiny houses will come during the building process.

This is because builders still have to follow zoning regulations that are put in place by that state.

One good thing to note is that even if your state doesn’t have laws, you still have options.  This is because it doesn’t matter the size of the home in order to get permits to build it.  All that matters is that you obtain proper permits.

This way your house, no matter how small, can still be deemed safe to live in.

The biggest problem that people run in to, however, is actually living in their tiny house.

While you may be able to obtain zoning permits to build your home, you might have a difficult time living there full time.

This is why so many people choose to build tiny homes that can be moved.

Finding a permanent lot that can be lived in year-round can be tricky.  But it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.  People have found creative solutions to still live in their tiny house without breaking the law.

We have written an article about why tiny houses are illegal in some states. It has lots of tips and tricks to help keep yourself safe from the law while living in a tiny house.

The US States Which Are the Most Tiny-House Friendly

Before we start we would like to point out that the information below should not be taken as legal advice. It’s simply the information we have been able to dig up. We are not your lawyers.

That being said, we believe this is a great list of things to be aware of (for each state) when you want to build a tiny house.

Arizona

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Pima County, tiny houses which are built on foundations are legal in any zones which allow “detached single-family dwellings.” They have also addressed regulations about tiny houses in order to accommodate people who want to downsize.

Tiny houses which are built on a chassis (that is where the suspension/axle components have been removed and the chassis permanently attached on a permanent foundation) are treated as factory-built buildings.

This means they are only allowed in certain areas.

Generally speaking:

  • Minimum dwelling/room/ceiling height/windows/door/fixture/accessibility dimensions do not apply.
  • Ladders may replace a staircase to loft areas.
  • Loft areas may have reduced fall protection.
  • The number of electrical circuits may be reduced to reflect loads.
  • Alternative compliance with NFPA 501 for mechanical/electrical systems is recognized.

Coconino County, Arizona is another county which is trying to support the tiny house community.

California

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Generally speaking, California is one of the US states which is most accommodating to tiny homes. Most of the cities allow tiny homes and classify them as “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs).

Did you know, Fresno was the first city in the country to approve tiny houses (on wheels) as secondary dwelling units?

California Title 25 won’t allow peoples “recreational vehicle” to be used as a dwelling unit.

Colorado

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Counties have also made some specific changes in their laws, in the case of accessory-dwelling units (ADUs) as well. Unfortunately, these aren’t state-wide changes.

In Walsenburg, Colorado, the regulators have made it easier to build and own a tiny house. They have:

  • Waved minimum sq. footage
  • Reduced the requirement for the size of the exit door
  • Waved stairway regulations

Park County, Colorado has become somewhat of a haven for tiny home enthusiasts and have made allowances for people who own tiny houses such as waving these specific regulations:

  • Having a living room of more than 220 sq. ft with 100 sq. ft per occupant (in stick-built dwellings)
  • Separate closets
  • Clear working spaces of more than 30 inches in your kitchen including the spaces for your kitchen sink, refrigeration unit, and your cooking appliances
  • Separate bathrooms with water closets/showers/bathtubs, and lavatories

However, light, ventilation, and life safety requirements still have to be met regardless of the size of your dwelling. In addition, provisions for mechanical equipment (like pressure tank, heat, and hot water) will be required also

All light, ventilation and life safety requirements must be met regardless of dwelling size.

In cases where the efficiency dwelling unit is not a component of a multi-unit structure, provisions for mechanical equipment (heat, hot water, pressure tank, etc.) will be required as well.

Florida

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. However, Florida requires that any tiny home on wheels must be registered in the Florida DMV.

In Sarasota County, they require tiny houses on wheels to stay at RV parks, but for no more than 45 days. If they stay for more than 45 days, they need to have foundations.

St. Petersburg requires that any dwelling unit needs to have a floor area of no less than 375 sq. ft. On the other end of the scale, it can’t exceed 750 sq. ft.

Orange County says that the minimum sq. ft of an ADU is 400 sq. ft.

Florida hosts a large amount of RV parks and tiny house hotels for enthusiasts in order to try tiny living in their communities. They are one of the many states which are helping the tiny house and minimalist movements.

Georgia

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Decatur, Georgia has adopted an ordinance called the Unified Development Ordinance which doesn’t require that ADUs have a minimum sq. footage. This was adopted back in 2014 when the movement first started to gain traction.

Talk about forward-thinking!

Atlanta, Georgia is more lenient when it comes to “guest houses”, which are allowed in R-1 through R-5 zones. There are a few restrictions when it comes to the classification of “guest houses”. For example, guest houses can’t have a stove, nor can it allow someone to stay in the home full time.

That would change the classification to an ADU, which are only allowed in R-5 districts.

Unfortunately, tiny houses on wheels haven’t been defined or classified in most zoning ordinances and (in most zoning districts) it is illegal to rent an ADU out.

Local municipalities are having to keep up with the tiny house movement because it is moving much faster than their codes and regulations can keep up with. Because of that, a lot of counties in Georgia are allowing tiny houses more leeway and showing how much, they value the movement by making tiny home living affordable.

Idaho

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

However, the state of Idaho is one of the first to talk about modular, manufactured, RV, and tiny homes in the same categories. There are still strict regulations for tiny homes, but they are working with tiny home enthusiasts and minimalists to ensure that everyone feels welcome and safe.

In order to comply with most of the regulations in Idaho, tiny houses must either be:

  • Site Built (constructed like a building in a location where it will be used and cannot be moved)
  • Modular (the components or the building itself—other than manufactured homes—must be mostly or entirely prefabricated or assembled at the location which isn’t the building site)
  • Comply with HUD manufactured home construction and follow their safety standards
  • A recreational vehicle (travel trailer, truck camper, motor home, or a camping trailer designed for human habitation) with a maximum width of eight and a half ft.

No matter if it is modular, site-built, or manufactured, it must have a minimum of 150 sq. ft.

Indiana

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. In Indiana, each county is allowed to establish its own specific building codes. Also, they exclude codes which are considered private homes that are built by the individuals living there and will be used for their own occupancy.

This is called the Log Cabin Rule.

The Log Cabin Rule doesn’t apply to tiny homes on wheels. They must have a foundation.

This rule was set in place to help honor the traditional housing in the state.

There are many different tiny home communities in Indiana. There are plenty of “regular” housing communities who are willing to open their neighborhoods to tiny houses and even offer areas for tiny homes.

Kansas

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. Compared to other places, Kansas allows a number of single-dwelling residential districts where ADUs are permitted.

While they aren’t permitted in RS5 or RS3 districts, they are allowed in RS7, RS10, RS20, and RS,40 districts.

There are specific rules for tiny houses which are built on foundations and on wheels.

As for tiny houses built on foundations:

  • One room must be 120 sq. ft other rooms–except for the bathroom and kitchen–must be at least 50 sq. ft (according to IRC 2012).
  • The smallest single-dwelling residential district you can build a tiny home on is an RS3 district (which has a 3,000 sq. ft. min.)
  • Solar and small wind devices are allowed as long as they don’t go over 35ft in height. The IFC regulates the use of propane.
  • Composting toilets aren’t yet allowed

For tiny homes on wheels:

  • Camping in tiny homes is allowed at approved campgrounds
  • There are no current codes which let you park your tiny home in a backyard or on privately owned land.
  • As a whole, tiny homes on wheels are more difficult to live in (legally) in the state of Kansas). But since each county has different rules and regulations, it’s best to check with the local municipality for their rules.

Maine

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Maine has made some statewide construction regulations for tiny houses. They define them as a dwelling which is less than 400 sq. ft. They allow:

  • sleeping lofts,
  • permitting ladder access to lofts,
  • and approving skylights as points of emergency egress

Towns are still able to approve or deny the construction of tiny houses.

Usually, if your tiny house is built on a foundation, it needs to comply with the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code.

You can camp in a tiny house (which is on wheels) in North Yarmouth, Maine if:

  • When placed on a site for more than 120 days per year, all requirements for residential structures are met.
  • You do not build on a permanent foundation.
  • It is on the lot existing before the date of the ordinance or larger than 30,000 sq. ft.

Maine is one of the most accommodating states involved in the tiny house movement. They were one of the first states to adopt state-wide construction guidelines for tiny homes. It’s also common for people in Maine to convert old boat houses into tiny houses as a secondary home.

They are cute, and they maintain the New England maritime culture.

Massachusetts

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

ADUs are allowed in many towns and cities in Massachusetts. Specifications of an ADU are different in each town or city so make sure you check with the guidelines in your city.

For example, Nantucket will allow you to have a third dwelling which can be up to 550 sq. ft.

The state hasn’t clearly addressed or defined what tiny houses on wheels are. So, it is more difficult to live in a mobile tiny house.

But, owning a tiny on foundations as an ADU doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

Michigan

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

The Briley Township in Michigan has defined the ‘Economy Efficient Dwelling’ as a new kind of tiny home dwelling.

An economy efficient dwelling is more than 240 sq. ft but less than 500 sq. ft. It has a minimum side elevation of between 12 and 20 ft. An economy efficient dwelling has to be placed on a foundation which is both approved and permanent.

The state has also adapted their zoning regulations to be more friendly to tiny homes.

Minnesota

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

There are two types of tiny houses in Minnesota: RVs and ADUs (accessory dwelling units). ADUs must be on a foundation to be filed under the same Minnesota State Building Code as “housing.”

Tiny houses are more in demand than ever but finding a place to park or build proves tricky.

There are a number of municipalities which support of tiny homes as an option for:

  • the elderly,
  • the disabled,
  • or those nearing end of life.

Nebraska

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Tiny homes which are considered to be manufactured (mobile) homes that are with the rules and regulations of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Federal Manufactured Home Act are given a HUD manufactured home label.

Modular tiny homes with applicable construction codes (the International Residential Code and the National Electrical Code adopted by Nebraska) are issued the Nebraska Modular Housing Unit label.

RVs (motorhomes, park trailers, travel trailers) must be built with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard on Recreational Vehicles, NFPA 1192 or the Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard.

All of these structures in Nebraska are legally required to have the appropriate State or Federal label attesting to compliance with the relevant building codes affixed to them.

Tiny houses, like all other houses and recreational vehicles, will be subject the zoning requirements of local jurisdictions which vary widely by jurisdiction.

Nebraska has made a document which references these types of tiny houses. While the document states that zoning requirements are up to local jurisdictions, cities like Lincoln have been quite welcoming to the tiny home community.

Nevada

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Clark County, Nevada sheds over 200 sq. ft need a building permit. Also, ADUs cannot have a kitchen or cooking facilities.

The code requirements don’t specifically mention tiny homes–but they can work around some of the regulations.

New Hampshire

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

The state now has a law which allows ADUs. Communities in New Hampshire do not require ADUs to be occupied by the owner, but they do require the owner to live on the property.

Hampshire has seen great improvement after they legalized ADUs.

New Mexico

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Generally speaking, most of the towns and counties that allow ADUs and tiny homes state that:

  • It must have a room which is at least 70 sq. ft and no less than seven ft in any direction (including the ceiling).
  • Each tiny house must have sanitary facilities (toilet, sink, and either a bath or shower).
  • The bathroom and kitchen sink have to have both hot and cold water.
  • The plumbing fixtures must be connected to an approved sewage system.
  • The whole structure has to sit on a foundation which is considered permanent
  • It needs to meet the requirement of the New Mexico Energy Conservation Code.
  • There are a number of things which must be included, and which need to be regulated such as:
    • Windows
    • Permanent heating facilities
    • Wall-switch lighting
    • Bathroom windows or exhaust fans
    • Smoke alarms
    • A door (leading to the outside) which must be at least 32 inches wide and 78 inches high

North Carolina

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, tiny houses must meet the following criteria:

  • Requires at least 150 sq. ft for the first occupant, and at least 100 sq. ft for each additional occupant
  • A tiny house must abide by additional housing ordinances.

In Winston-Salem:

  • Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are allowed on single-family lots as long as they are occupied by relatives, caretakers, etc.
  • Antique and custom-built vehicles presented for first-time titling and registration in North Carolina must be examined and photographed by a local NC Division of Motor Vehicles inspector.

In North Carolina, the residents of the state are somewhat divided over tiny homes.

Some are worried they could ruin the character (of the classic towns), while others think they could be the perfect solution to rising housing costs and high-density areas.

Oregon

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Oregon is one of the few states which allow titles to tiny houses on wheels. However, until the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is able to assume responsibility for codes and inspections, tiny house on wheels owners will have to get a special trip permit and commercial hauler to move their homes.

Specifically, in Portland, residential properties can host one tiny house or RV.

While some of the rules and regulations involving tiny homes can be a little confusing and convoluted at times, Oregon still has many flourishing tiny home communities.

This state is also home to the famous Tiny House Hotel.

Pennsylvania

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Philadelphia, there is no minimum house size, but, tiny houses must meet the International Residential Code (IRC) 2009.

A tiny house needs to have one room of 120 sq. ft or more.

Other rooms must be at least 70 sq. ft or more (except for kitchens) including height to the ceiling.

Pennsylvania is one of the friendlier tiny house states to date. In fact, a community in Elizabethtown claims to be the largest tiny house community in the United States. Pretty impressive!

Rural areas of Pennsylvania will likely be the easiest when it comes to finding a place to park your tiny.

Be sure to check with the local municipalities for specifics.

South Carolina

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Greenville County allows permanent tiny houses (even on wheels) if they are 400 sq. ft or less.

Meanwhile, Rock Hill, South Carolina sets the minimum sq. footage at 850 sq. ft.

The rise in housing costs has added to the growing popularity of tiny houses in South Carolina. The local ordinances can be a little picky because some counties address tiny homes (specifically) but others don’t know how to classify them.

South Dakota

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Spearfish, South Dakota:

  • A permanent tiny house on foundations that is building code compliant is permitted in all residential zoning districts in Spearfish.
  • A temporary tiny house on wheels can be located on any commercial campground in Spearfish.

In Beresford, South Dakota a tiny house:

  • Must have the exterior width of at least 8.5 ft or more than 20 ft.
  • Can’t be any smaller than 187 sq. ft with no less than 50 additional sq. ft per additional person.
  • Which is not on wheels must be secured on a foundation.
  • Which is on wheels must be secured to a licensed trailer.
  • Has to be tightly secured to the ground when parked in order to withstand the weather. Learn more here (page 44, section 12.5).

Tennessee

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Etowah, Tennessee, they have amended the ordinance which will now allow the building of tiny homes with a minimum of 800 sq. ft in R1 zones. There is a minimum of 600 sq. ft in R2 and R3 zones.

In Dandridge, Tennessee they have created guidelines which will regulate tiny houses on permanent foundations from 100-300 sq. ft.

Knoxville, Tennessee follows the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC). The regulation for a one-person occupancy requires a minimum of 120 sq. ft, while two-people require 320 sq. ft. It is not allowed to exceed three people.

Meanwhile, in Warren County, Tennessee regulations require a minimum sq. footage of 138 sq. ft.

Texas

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Breckenridge, Texas requires foundations (permanent) for tiny houses with a minimum of 320 sq. ft.

Fort Worth, Texas says that ADUs may not be larger than 400 sq. ft. Currently, the ADU permits must be done in-person at Town Hall. No online forms.

Austin, Texas allows tiny houses to be any size as long as they are on foundations. However, tiny homes on wheels are thought of and categorized as recreational vehicles (RVs) and are required to follow RV rules.

Spur, Texas has been proclaimed as the first “tiny house friendly” town in America. They do not require a minimum sq. footage.

The only real regulation which is special to tiny homes is that tiny houses on wheels are to be tied down, with the wheels removed.

Texas is one of the states at the forefront of the tiny house movement. Since the rising prices of homes (in the area and in general) can make it difficult to buy a home, tiny living is an excellent housing option which is affordable.

Vermont

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Burlington, Virginia permits tiny homes as ADUs with no minimum sq. footage.

Williston lets tiny houses have a maximum of 1500 sq. ft.

Vermont’s major cities are strict when it comes to tiny houses. Tiny home enthusiasts and minimalists can build around certain regulations and can work with the law if they build as an ADU.

There are even people who park tiny houses on wheels in rural areas and often to fly under the radar.

It’s a bit like dispersed camping but with your entire home.

The LEAST Tiny-House Friendly States

Deciding where to live is such a personal choice. There are a ton of factors to consider.  Many people who are looking to downsize their life are not interested in picking up and moving cross-country.

However, not every state is suited for the tiny house living.

Here are some of the laws by state to help make your decision a little easier:

Alabama

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In the state regulations, tiny houses are never specifically addressed. However, Jefferson County does allow ADUs in districts that aren’t more than 200 sq. ft.

According to Alabama Tiny Homes, tiny houses are in the process of being widely accepted in the public.

Alaska

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Anchorage, Tiny houses on wheels are treated like RVs. They are restricted to R-5 zones.

If they are on foundations or built as manufactured homes, tiny homes face fewer restrictions on location. However, they will need a “conditional use” permit.

If they are on municipal property, tiny homes must be connected to water and sewage.

There has been a lot of interest in tiny homes, through Alaska. However, there aren’t many in the state. Tiny houses aren’t “officially” allowed in the city of Anchorage. Areas near the cities are flexible, but there aren’t any specific tiny house building codes set.

Arkansas

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Walnut Ridge, the city voted on restricting homes to a minimum of 600 sq. ft.

Rogers, Arkansas only allows tiny homes in a residential area if they are built on a foundation, from the ground up, on the property.

They also rezoned a portion of lots (around the Bella Vista Lake Park area) in order to allow a tiny house community there.

While Arkansas has made it somewhat difficult to build and live in a tiny home, there have been some areas who have been trying to help the movement. Included in these are areas which view tiny homes on wheels as RVs. While that restricts them to mobile home parks and RV parks, it is a start to—hopefully—a bigger chain of events.

Connecticut

There are no discussions or proposals which indicate that the state of Connecticut is willing to open themselves up for tiny living. They are strict about their land use and housing developments.

The zoning regulations don’t allow for tiny homes.

As such, tiny home enthusiasts in the area are looking for an advocate to speak up for them.

Delaware

Delaware does not have any specific regulations for tiny homes but there are organizations which are trying to make tiny houses available as an option for people who need affordable housing.

As of the date on this article, the state requires that the people who own and live in tiny homes (on wheels) need to get a title within the month after they purchase it.

Also, anything that is eight feet by forty feet (or has more than 400 sq. ft) are considered mobile homes by the Delaware DMV.

Anything smaller is considered a trailer.

Hawaii

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. People who own tiny homes in Hawaii can:

  • Purchase a plot of land for their home
  • Find private property from someone who will allow their home on their land
  • Most likely NOT be in areas where there are “restrictive covenants (like CC & Rs)
  • Register their tiny home on wheels with the DMV as a “travel trailer”
  • (if they have their home on wheels) be subject to zoning restrictions

In Hawaii, there is a Tiny House Initiative which is hoping to help solve the farm working housing challenges on the islands.

Since the state relies heavily on tourism, there is a rise in the prices of housing and land, which is not great for the farmers who are under strict housing codes.

Fingers crossed that the tiny house initiative will bring some positive changes for the farmers and those affected by the rise in housing prices.

Illinois

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. Tiny houses are allowed in:

  • Mobile home parks
  • Campgrounds
  • Private property

Otherwise, it is the law of the counties which have authority on whether you can or can’t live in a tiny home.

They are illegal in Chicago. However, as you get into more rural places, it becomes more of a “gray area” to live in a tiny home.

If they are on wheels, they’re classified as recreational trailers

Iowa

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

For example, the Council of Iowa Falls made changes to the City Code which reduced the minimum size of a house from 600 sq. ft. to 500 sq. ft.

It’s still difficult to build your tiny home in Iowa but it is catching on in places where the housing and land costs are so high.

The biggest pitfall has to do with the local zoning ordinances which dictate how small your sq. footage or lot needs to be.

Kentucky

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

If they follow the necessary codes, tiny homes are allowed in the Louisville Metro area if they are considered:

  • Permanent or site built (built on a foundation, and are reviews and processed like any other home)
  • Prefabricated or modular (fabricated off-site, assembled on-sit, placed on foundations with documentations and reviews after this process)
  • Portable (home on wheels would fall into this category but it would need to be moved to an area for permanent placement, not to mention, it is still subject to zoning requirements

Louisiana

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. All cities, however, are required to follow the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC), which states that:

  • One room must be at least 120 sq. ft in size
  • Lofts must have windows and stairs (ladders don’t count)
  • Three feet for stairs, doors, and hallways, and ceilings need to be at least 7 feet tall.

Because of that, the tiny home enthusiasts in the state are hoping that the 2015 IRC will take into effect soon, which will negate the specifics which make building a tiny home difficult.

Maryland

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. However, they aren’t acknowledged by the state at all.

Laws are slightly friendlier to tiny houses built on foundations but there are still zoning laws which restrict people from living in those tiny houses. It is easier if tiny home enthusiasts want to go to a more rural place, however, big changes need to be made.

Mississippi

There aren’t any laws in place which govern tiny houses. While tiny houses were used after Hurricane Katrina (as emergency shelters), the local governments haven’t taken any action which will make those tiny home considered as permanent housing.

Missouri

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. If they are on wheels, tiny homes are considered to be travel trailers. This term is defined as a “portable vehicular unit mounted on wheels, which is designed to provide temporary living quarters for camping, travel, or recreational use.

While they don’t require special highway permits (when they are being pulled by a motorized vehicle), that only works if there aren’t wardrobe, closet, kitchen, bath, or toilet rooms.

Other than that, they aren’t allowed in the city. It is considered unlawful to park your tiny home on wheels, on the street or anywhere which is considered public property. But they are allowed in the case of disasters.

Montana

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

You can register a tiny home (self-built) but it will need to be restricted to the term travel trailer or RV.

New Jersey

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. Regulations are in the works, but many counties are working against them. The Tuckerton Land Use Board (for example) denied a tiny house community for veterans. The Rockland town only allow the storage of a recreational vehicle on a residential lot, if it is unoccupied.

Haverstraw, New Jersey allows caretaker’s cottages if the lot is larger than two acres.

New York

In New York, temporary structures like as tiny houses are not allowed.

You can register a tiny house on wheels, but you will not be able to live in one full-time. If you live further away from major cities, it is more likely you will be able to live in your tiny home under the radar.

North Dakota

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

The regulations in Burleigh County are:

  • The minimum size requirement of 965 sq. ft,
  • can be placed on agricultural lots.
  • houses on wheels must be placed on a foundation.
  • must have access to water, sewer, electricity, and gas.
  • must meet standard building codes.
  • does not currently allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Meanwhile, North Dakota Century Code and the Burleigh County Ordinance does not prohibit any tiny home which is placed on a lot of 40 acres or more.

Ohio

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary. Most of the areas in Ohio don’t know how to classify tiny homes so they end up falling in the “variance” category in a few counties.

Cleveland requires at least 950 sq. ft for a home.

ADUs are permitted if they are not a primary place of dwelling.

Oklahoma

There are not yet any regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

If they are placed on foundations, they have a better chance of meeting building codes and zoning requirements. Houses on wheels must be in the same category as RVs

Rhode Island

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Make sure to check with your local municipality for building codes and zoning regulations.

More recently, they have passed a law (state-wide) which allows owner-occupants of a single-family home to build ADUs for seniors they are related to if the senior relative is at least 62 years old.

Utah

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Washington County, Utah allows a minimum sq. footage of under 300 ft for a tiny home as long as they are on foundations and hooked up to utilities. Tiny houses on wheels are defined as “park model recreational vehicles.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, allows ADUs which are either 50% of the sq. footage of the main structure on the property or 650 sq. ft, whichever is bigger.

Eagle Mountain City, Utah lets tiny homes on wheels in R1 zones.

Virginia

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Staunton County, Virginia allows you a tiny home with a minimum of 200 sq. ft.

Virginia Beach does not have specific ordinances for tiny houses. They do, however, treat them like any other residential space as long as they meet the Virginia building codes.

Washington

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Woodland, WA allows ADUs to be between 300 and 800 sq. ft.

Tiny houses in King County must be on a permanent foundation.

It is much easier to live in a tiny home in Washington State if it is on a foundation and not in a place where you need to park it.

West Virginia

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Jefferson County, West Virginia allows ADUs which have a maximum of 1700 sq. ft.

Wisconsin

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

Madison, Wisconsin won’t allow tiny houses on wheels less than 150 sq. ft. If they are bigger than that, they are considered “portable shelters”.

Dad County, Wisconsin says ADUs can’t be more than 800 sq. ft.

Wyoming

The regulations and codes in each of the towns, cities, and county vary.

In Casper, WY, tiny houses must be/have:

  • on foundations (and then are defined as “efficiency dwelling units”
  • a living room of 220 sq. ft. or more (if both the living room and bedroom are joined)
  • 120 sq. ft. if they are separate
  • Defined as a trailer if it is on wheels and must be put on an R6 zoning district

Final Thoughts

While it is easy to follow the trends when it comes to where to build your tiny house, where is the fun in that?

Don’t be discouraged by outdated state laws.  Instead, try to change them!

The only reason why certain states have better laws to allow for tiny houses is that someone pushed for them.  So, if you find that your dream state is not ideal for your tiny house, push to be the change!

Chances are you can find plenty of like-minded people in your area that want to do the same.

Good luck.

Sources: nebraska.gov, americantinyhouseassociation.org

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