Tiny House Zoning Regulations Across the Country

Tiny House Zoning Regulations Charlotte, NC

Tiny homes have taken over the market thanks to their lowered costs and smaller environmental footprint. However, when it comes to full-time living, it's still not easy to get around zoning regulations for most tiny home properties.

With building codes and zoning laws requiring a minimum square footage for most new-construction homes, full-fledged tiny home communities have come to a standstill. Currently, there are only a few counties in the country that have codes directly addressing tiny homes.

Grassroots organizers have pushed some towns to accommodate tiny houses, but you still need to consider a number of factors regardless of where you're building. Here's a look at what you should know.

Zoning Regulations For Tiny Homes

Building Codes vs Zoning Laws

Both building codes and zoning laws will have a say over where you build and how it's constructed. Construction codes will tell you just what needs to go into building your house and the zoning laws will tell you where that house can be built. Most local building codes are variations of the International Residential Code, which lays out size specifications with a minimum of 70 square feet for every room except the kitchen and bathrooms. Meanwhile, ceiling height is set to a minimum of 7 feet.

When it comes to zoning regulations, those are almost entirely local. The size of the home will generally determine where you can build it and you'll need to call your planning or zoning department to figure that out. However, most cities across the country require a home to be no less than 1,000 square feet, which makes tiny home construction very difficult.

Where’s The Best Place to Call Home?

With all of this in mind, you can still apply for a variance with your local planning commission, which would allow you to build something that doesn't match the existing codes. Here is a list of states where you'll find the most progressive building codes that make tiny home projects easier.

  • California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sacramento, and Sonoma counties all allow tiny homes on wheels as "caregiver dwellings" and the city of Fresno recently began allowing them as backyard cottages for any property. The town of Ojai is looking to do something similar.
  • Colorado: Walsenburg was the first town to amend their zoning requirements to allow tiny homes as small as 120 square feet. The mountain town of Durango later provided their own revised regulations.
  • Florida: Rockledge approved some of the most progressive tiny home ordinances a while back, creating two zoning districts for tiny homes: redevelopment mixed use district (RMU) and planned unit development (PUD). Inside city limits, tiny homes and tiny homes on wheels are allowed and there's a pocket neighborhood planned called The Rockledge Tiny House Community.
  • Massachusetts: Allowing new residential construction under 500 square feet is under discussion in a number of districts across the state, but due to hurricane concerns, these houses will need a solid foundation along with water, septic, electricity hookups.
  • Michigan: Detroit has a new tiny home community under construction for low-income residents and the city is working to change zoning to allow homes between 250 and 400 square feet.
  • New York: New York may not have a focus on tiny homes, but rather micro apartment buildings. The NYC mayor relaxed zoning restrictions, allowing for apartments under 400 square feet. More rural areas of the state are home to many tiny cabins, including modern 160-square-feet "Getaway" cabins on wheels, registered as RVs.
  • Oregon: Portland is one of the best major cities when it comes to tiny homes. The city supports the construction of ADUs (accessory dwelling units) and even allows for communities and a tiny house hotel.
  • Texas: Spur, Texas recently declared itself the tiny home capital of America.

Aldo's Restoration & Construction provides high-quality tiny home construction in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding communities. Contact our tiny house builders today at (704) 607-9783 to get your project started. We look forward to working with you!