In recent years, tiny houses have become increasingly popular as an affordable and sustainable alternative to traditional housing. While many cities have welcomed the trend, Houston has remained largely silent on the issue.
Some people fear that allowing tiny houses will lead to a proliferation of unsafe and unsanitary dwellings, while others argue that they could be a valuable tool in addressing the city’s growing homelessness problem.
The city of Houston has yet to pass any regulations specifically pertaining to tiny houses, so they are currently considered “illegal” in the city. However, there is a provision in the city code that allows for the construction of “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) on single-family properties.
An ADU is defined as a “self-contained living unit located on the same lot as a single-family dwelling unit.”
This could technically include a tiny house, though it would have to meet a number of requirements, such as being no more than 800 square feet in size and having its own kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Given the lack of specific regulations, it is unclear how Houston would enforce any restrictions.
What Type of Tiny Homes Are Allowed in Houston?
There are three types of tiny homes that are allowed in Houston:
- Park model tiny homes
- RV tiny homes
- Container tiny homes
Park model tiny homes are the most common type of tiny home in Houston. They are typically around 400 square feet and must be parked in an RV park or on your own land.
RV tiny homes are also allowed in Houston, but they have to meet certain requirements. For instance, they can only be used as a temporary dwelling and must be connected to utilities.
Container tiny homes are the least common type of tiny home in Houston. They are made out of shipping containers and must be placed on a foundation.
What Are the Building Code Requirements for Tiny Homes in Houston?
All three types of tiny homes must meet the following building code requirements:
1. The minimum lot size for a tiny home is 5,000 square feet.
2. The minimum setbacks for a tiny home are:
- Front: 5 feet
- Side: 3 feet
- Rear: 3 feet
3. The maximum height for a tiny home is 13.5 feet.
4. The maximum width for a tiny home is 8.5 feet.
5. The maximum length for a tiny home is 40 feet.
6. The minimum foundation requirements for a tiny home are:
- Slab: 8 inches thick with reinforcement
- Pier and beam: 12 inches thick with reinforcement
7. The minimum roof pitch for a tiny home is 4/12.
8. The minimum ceiling height for a tiny home is 7 feet.
9. The minimum window size for a tiny home is 24 inches by 36 inches.
10. The minimum door size for a tiny home is 32 inches by 80 inches.
11. All electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems must meet the applicable code requirements.
12. Tiny homes must be connected to city water and sewer services.
13. Tiny homes must have adequate on-site parking.
14. Any decks, porches, or other attached structures must meet the applicable code requirements.
15. There can only be one tiny home per lot.
16. Tiny homes must comply with all other city ordinances, including those pertaining to noise, nuisances, and public health and safety.
What is the process for applying for a permit to build a tiny home in Houston?
The first step is to check whether your land is zoned for a tiny home. If it is not, then you will need to either purchase land that is zoned for a tiny home or apply for a rezoning.
The next step is to make sure that your tiny home meets all of the building code requirements. These requirements vary depending on the type of tiny home you wish to build.
Once you have confirmed that your tiny home meets all of the necessary requirements, you can then submit an application for a building permit.
How much does it cost to build a tiny home in Houston?
The cost of building a tiny home in Houston will vary depending on the size and complexity of the home, as well as the type of materials used. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 for a professionally built tiny home.
What are the benefits of living in a tiny home?
There are many benefits of living in a tiny home, including:
1. Increased affordability
Tiny homes are much more affordable than traditional homes, making them an attractive option for those who are trying to save money or live within a tight budget.
2. Reduced environmental impact
Tiny homes have a smaller ecological footprint than traditional homes, due to their smaller size and lower energy consumption.
3. Increased mobility
Tiny homes can be built on wheels, making them easy to move if you need or want to change locations.
4. Simplicity and minimalism
Tiny homes force you to declutter and downsize your belongings, leading to a simpler and more minimalist lifestyle.
5. A sense of community
There are many tiny home communities around the country, providing residents with a sense of connection and belonging.
How to Avoid Compliance Issues With a Tiny Home in Houston
- Be sure to check with your local zoning office to confirm that your land is zoned for a tiny home.
- Carefully review all of the building code requirements for tiny homes in Houston to ensure compliance.
- Submit an application for a permit to build a tiny home before beginning construction.
- Hire a professional contractor who is experienced in building tiny homes.
- Regularly inspect your tiny home to ensure that it meets all applicable code requirements.
Work With Us
If you’re interested in building a tiny home in Houston, our team at Never Too Tiny can help you navigate the permitting process and ensure that your home meets all of the necessary requirements.
We also specialize in constructing high-quality tiny homes that are built to last. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a free quote.