One of the reasons they’re called “Tiny Houses” is that they’re legally too small to live in full-time. Most building codes and zoning laws often have a minimum square footage for new construction homes—and these challenges aren’t being updated to match the increasing interest in living in a small house.

What’s more, if your tiny house is on wheels, it’s legally considered a recreational vehicle (RV). If your tiny house is on a foundation, it’s usually legally considered as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). Your RV needs to be registered with the state as a vehicle. Your ADU has an even more complicated path to licensing and permission.

Codes and Zoning

Both zoning and codes will dictate whether you can have a tiny house on your property. Both also depend on where you live. Generally though, zoning tells you where your house can be. Construction codes tell you how it can be built.

Most of our country’s local building codes are adopted from the International Residential Code. This collection of rules specifies the size of room. Most rooms, for example must be at least 7 feet high and a minimum of 70 square feet.

Some states are beginning to pay more attention to residents who want to live in tiny houses. The town of Spur, Texas has declared itself to be the “Tiny House Capital of America.” You’ll still have to submit your design for approval, and you must connect to the town’s sewage, water, and electrical systems.

These states have also been recognized as being just a bit more open to tiny houses:

  • Oregon
  • New York
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Florida
  • Colorado
  • California


If you can get around the obstacles of codes and zones, you still might find yourself frustrated by financing. Many financial institutions simply won’t provide financing for them.

Ironically, people boast that tiny houses are more affordable than buying a house or condo. This is likely the case, but with no financing options, you’ll possibly have to pay the full price. Having a tiny house built for you can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. Keep in mind that nearly everything about a tiny house has to be custom-built. You’ll pay a premium for it.

Some tiny houses on wheels are certified by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), making them available to be financed as a RV. But keep in mind that many areas allow RVs only in designated RV parks. It’s also true that many RV parks have decided not to allow tiny houses. Talk about a Catch-22.

There’s another option that dispenses with the codes, zones, and financing headaches. Miracle Truss® offers steel home building kits that conform to building codes and will be engineer stamped for your area. Best yet, they’re so affordable that you don’t have to shrink your whole life down fit into a tiny house – unless you want to – we build any size!

Use this form to tell us about what you’d like to build. We’ll send you free information.

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