Looking for the next step in joining the Tiny House Movement? You came to the right place. Many people in similar positions have wondered how it’s possible to live in their tiny house without breaking any laws. Sure, it would be great if it were easy, but once you’re living worry-free in your tiny home you’ll be glad you took the time to do the research.

The U.S. primary regulation regarding Tiny Houses

When it comes to deciding where to build your tiny house, there are a few things you need to consider first:

Laws

Depending on the type of tiny home you’re looking for and what state you’re looking to build in, these can vary greatly. Certain states are more friendly toward the idea of tiny houses and tiny house communities, so it’s a good idea to figure out the laws specific to your location. Two important factors to consider are your locations building codes and zoning regulations.

Building Codes

  • It’s exactly what it sounds like. Building codes dictate how your tiny house is built. Here are some of the essentials that your tiny house needs to have to be approved:
  • Minimum ceiling height: The common spaces must have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches, while bathrooms can be a minimum of 6 feet 4 inches.
  • Windows: There actually isn’t a minimum number of windows that need to be in a tiny house. It does however, need to meet the standard requirement for emergency exit points.
  • Plumbing: At least one separate bathroom is required (and we totally understand why!)
  • Stairs: TIny houses need to have stairs or ladders in order to reach loft areas.

Zoning Regulations

Unfortunately, you can’t park or build your tiny house just anywhere. You will need to check with your local zoning department to find out more about the area where you’re thinking of building.

Keep in mind that while there are federal laws and local zoning regulations in place, you can still apply through your local planning commision to build outside of the existing codes. Much of what it comes down to is how tiny house friendly the area where you want to build is.

Types of Tiny Houses

  • Tiny house on wheels: Legally considered an RV (recreational vehicle). With this type of tiny house, you’ll need to register as an RV and figure out a place to park it. There are plenty of campsites in the States, but keep in mind that most states do not allow full-time residency in an RV unless it is in a designated RV park. Generally, these rules are not always enforced unless you are giving someone something to complain about.

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Source: Tumbleweed Houses

  • Tiny house on a foundation: Legally considered an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), these types of houses often come in the form of granny flats or cottages. Because of regulations that prohibit tiny house owners from purchasing land to build a tiny house, you’re left with the option of building next to an already existing residential dwelling. Time to call up some friends!

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Source: Tiny Home Builders

Tiny House laws by states

Interactive map to come.

The Takeaway

Trying to figure out where to live in your tiny house can be confusing when there are so many different rules and regulations. Hopefully, we’ve made it easier for you to see what your options are when it comes to deciding where to build and how to build.

Things to remember:

  • If you have a tiny house on wheels/RV you need to do your research about camp
  • sites or RV parks.
  • If you want to build a tiny house on a foundation you need to contact your local zoning department.
  • Research building codes in the planning process.

While tiny house laws vary by state and region, the research process shouldn’t deter you from your tiny house adventure!