Tiny Home Restrictions You Should Know About Before You Build

The trend towards more affordable and sustainable housing has been growing for over a decade. It’s not only empty nesters and retirees that are interested in downsizing into tiny homes. Younger people have also jumped on the bandwagon as a way to economize and reduce debt.

Whatever your reason for wanting to live a simpler life in a tiny house, it may not be as easy as you may think. Whether you build your own or buy a tiny home you will need to follow strict building regulations and investigate your local zoning laws.

After you get your homeowners insurance quote from Allstate to cover your tiny home you will need to figure out where you want to live. Although the tiny home trend is growing, municipalities and states are slow to get on board with this minimalistic lifestyle. So, before you build, make sure that you do your homework about some of the restrictions that you might face.

Building Codes

building codes

When you build any permanent housing structure, even a tiny house, you are subject to the same set of building codes. These codes are designed to make sure that each dwelling meets the minimum requirements of a safe home. Building codes vary slightly depending on the state or city that you are in, so you should always check out the guidelines for your area.

In general, any home or dwelling must have a minimum of one bathroom included. The bathroom must include running water so your plumbing will need to be connected to a regular water source. 

There are also ceiling height regulations. Any common area ceilings need to be a minimum of 6’8” tall. The bathroom ceiling can be a bit shorter at 6’4” to meet requirements. 

There is no minimum of windows on any dwelling but, you will need to have a proper emergency exit apart from your main entrance.


Property Zoning

Property zoning is very different from building codes. Where codes determine how you can build your home, zoning determines where you can build your home. Although the tiny house trend is growing across the nation, there are still relatively few places that have lifted restrictions to accommodate tiny home owners.

Zoning is different in each state and municipality so it is important to find out about your specific neighborhood. There are some cities that do not allow tiny homes at all, and some that do, so do your homework before deciding to build.

Some of the states that are tiny home friendly:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Oregan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas


Deciding to live in a tiny home takes a lot of sacrifice and preparation. Before you commit to the tiny house lifestyle it is important to find out if you are in a place that is suitable. You can always decide to build your home on wheels and live where you park, or you can petition your municipality for zoning changes. Finding out about the restrictions in your area before you build can save you time and headaches as you start your tiny home journey.

Vera Watson

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