insulation on a tiny house

Where Can I Build A Tiny House? (Laws By State)

In Tiny Houses (on wheels) by Kate Holmes

Your home is only as good as the foundation.

For tiny houses, this logic applies to 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 that you don’t have options.

studying up on state’s laws when it comes to tiny houses can put you in a better position.

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?

insulation on a 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 state’s 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.

8 States That Are Perfect For Building Tiny Houses

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:

1) Colorado

This snowy state sits right in the middle of the dreaded frost belt.  Prone to long cold winters, Colorado has been known as a tourist spot for avid skiers.

But, there is much more to Colorado than meets the eye.

Colorado has increasingly become a more progressive state over the years.  One way that Colorado has become progressive is in the way it allows for tiny house living.

Some areas of Colorado have eliminated the clause that says that houses need to have minimum square footage. 

This has helped to make Colorado a fast hub for tiny house communities.

2) Michigan

This once bustling automotive state has seen a fair share of problems over the past decade.  With the number of homeless people on the rise, Michigan has embraced the tiny house lifestyle.  Pop-up communities that are being labeled as “economy efficient dwellings” have given people in cities like Detroit hope.

But, it isn’t only humanitarians that are uplifting tiny houses.

Michigan is allowing for tiny houses to be built as long as they follow the code of no less than 500 square feet. 

This has allowed for many up and coming areas to start investing in tiny house communities.

3) Nebraska

Nebraska is often forgotten about a state in the US.  But, it’s vast farms and rich agriculture make it the perfect place for tiny house living.

Nebraska has been welcoming to tiny houses for over a decade.  This is because there is a community of mobile home manufactures in the state.

With RV living as their bread and butter, Nebraska has been more than accommodating to tiny houses.  As long as buildings follow the codes set by the state, there is no reason why you can’t live happily on a large piece of hand.  The most important thing to note is that all tiny houses much comply with The National Electric Code.

4) Nevada

Nevada is one of those state’s that don’t have specific laws surrounding tiny houses in place.  But, it is still regarded as one of the best places to build a tiny house.

Generally, the feeling in Nevada is, you can build it as long as you follow local regulations.

Of course, this means that every city will have its own set of rules.  Most of the areas in Nevada require at least 200 square feet of living space to obtain a building permit.

When you consider that most tiny houses are at least 200 square feet, you are good to go!

5) North Carolina

Many people don’t think about North Carolina as a progressive state.  But they have their charms!

In fact, North Carolina has one of the lowest size requirements to build a home.

North Carolina requires that the home be (only) at least 150 square feet in order to get a permit.

However, if you are planning to move your family into a tiny house, you will have to make the house larger.  The state requires that for each additional person, you add 100 square feet of space.

So, for a family of four, you would be required to build at least 450 square feet.

6) South Dakota

South Dakota is another one of those charming states known for its vast wildlife and amazing sunsets.  What better place to set your tiny house than by the river.

Luckily for you, South Dakota also some pretty lax laws when it comes to tiny houses.

South Dakota also requires a minimum of 190 square feet in order to get a permit.  But, they only ask for an extra 50 square per extra person. 

This means that you can build an ultra tiny house and still be following the law.  One important thing to note is that for tiny houses, you will need at least 9 feet of exterior space.

7) Maine

Maine is known for its small living charm.

A location right by the ocean is the perfect dwelling for a tiny house.  Maine is a special state that has been very welcoming to the tiny house movement.

They have even put special laws in place protecting these type of properties like tiny houses.

In Maine, there is a statewide law that allows for the proper building of tiny houses.  As long as the home is less than 400 square feet, you are covered!  Along with the size of the home, you will also need to ensure that there are proper sleeping arrangments.  However, one thing to keep in mind is that the state still allows areas to dictate how and if your tiny house will be built.

8) Texas

Perhaps the best state to build your tiny house in is Texas.

This is because Texas is one of those rare states that have completely allowed for the building of tiny houses altogether.

Whether your house is on wheels or a foundation, Texas has you covered.

Texas requires that the foundation of your tiny house be at least 320 square feet.  But, this all depends on the city you live in.  While the minimum is set in place, some areas state that a tiny house cannot exceed 400 square feet total.  T

The best part about Texas is that they even have a very tiny house “friendly” communities that not only welcome downsized living but encourage it.

9 States To Avoid When Building A Tiny House

Not all states are created equal.

While tiny houses have been shown to make a positive impact on the community, not every state is welcoming.

This doesn’t mean that someday the laws won’t change.  It just means that as it stands right now, building a tiny house in these states may be difficult.

Here are some of the states that received the lowest ranking when it comes to welcoming tiny houses:

  1. New York
  2. Montana
  3. Connecticut
  4. Arkansas
  5. Alabama
  6. Alaska
  7. Mississippi
  8. New Jersey
  9. Ohio

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.