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  • September 27, 2023 3 min read

    Prefabricated construction is cost-effective and simple to maintain—and tiny homes let people live where they’d like without the financial burden of a full-size house.

    Now, tiny living may seem flexible, but it comes with certain boundries.

    This article will offer an overview of the current market, along with the latest regulations in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Texas.

    Is the Tiny House Market Growing?

    Henry David Thoreau built the first tiny house in 1845, and the movement is still on the rise.

    Today there are over 10,000 tiny homes in the U.S. The average tiny home is between 100 and 400 square feet, so about six times smaller than the average house.

    Tiny houses have lower CO2 emissions than standard homes, or about 2,000 pounds per year compared to 28,000 pounds on average.

    It’s no wonder that the tiny house market is expected to increase by $4.17 million between 2022 and 2027. Roughly 57% of this growth is slated to take place in North America—mainly due to consumers’ growing interest in minimalist living, sustainability, and prefab construction.

    But what should people know before they build their tiny house?

    California Tiny Home Regulations and Permitting

    Are you thinking about building a tiny house in California? First, you’ll need a permit from your local planning department.

    Per the California Building Standards Commission, owners must follow these tiny-house regulations:

    • Ceilings must be at least 7 feet 6 inches high.
    • At least one room must have a floor area of 120 square feet or more.
    • All other rooms must have a floor area of at least 70 square feet.

    In addition, property owners will need to meet basic requirements for lighting, ventilation, and plumbing. Emergency exits, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, are key considerations as well.


    California allows residents to live permanently in their tiny home, so long as the property is permitted and up to code.

    Colorado Tiny Home Regulations and Permitting

    Until July 2023, Colorado residents could only live in a tiny house for 180 days. A new law—House Bill 1242—now lets people live in them permanently.

    The new ruling also cites the following regulations:

    • A licensed plumbing inspector must confirm compliance with the latest water, gas, and sewer codes and standards.

    Local governments can set their own rules for tiny homes. Colorado residents should contact their county office for specific zoning and permitting information.

    Oregon Tiny Home Regulations and Permitting

    Tiny homes are legal throughout Oregon and can be lived in permanently. The specifics may vary by city or county.

    According to the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC):

    • Tiny homes under 600 square feet are allowed one sleeping loft with ladder access.
    • All tiny homes with a sleeping loft must have a working automatic fire sprinkler system.
    • Any builder, plumber, or electrician who works on the tiny home must be licensed in Oregon.

    Meanwhile, local building departments must oversee all tiny home plan reviews, permits, and inspections.

    Texas Tiny Home Regulations and Permitting

    In Texas, residents can live permanently in a tiny home. They simply need to follow their city or county’s specific zoning regulations.

    Here are the requirements for tiny homes in Houston:

    • All rooms outside the kitchen must be at least 70 square feet.
    • The living room must have a floor area of 120 square feet or more.
    • Ceilings must be at least 7 feet high.

    In San Antonio, tiny homes must meet International Residence Code (IRC) guidelines:

    • A tiny home must be built on at least 320 square feet of land.
    • The tiny home must have 150 square feet or more of floor area.
    • Rooms (aside from the sleeping area) must be at least 70 square feet.
    • Ceilings must be at least 6 feet 8 inches high.

    Here again, Texas residents will need to contact their local jurisdiction for regulations and permitting requirements.

    Learn More About Tiny Living

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