Texas Tiny House Laws: Break Them At Your Own Peril

Texas is one of the tiny home-friendly states but nevertheless has strict Tiny House laws. So if you are considering building or buying a tiny house and you don’t know the best place to stay, you could decide to live in Texas.

A little history lesson about Texas

Texas is a state found in the South Central region of the United States. In 2020, it was rated as the second-largest U.S. state by area and population. This state is ahead of several states in many industries, including tourism, agriculture, aerospace, petrochemicals, computers, energy, electronics, and biomedical sciences. In 2014, the city council passed a resolution declaring Spur as the “nation’s first tiny-house friendly town.”

As earlier said, Texas is a nice place to build your tiny home especially if you want to live off-grid or remotely. Tiny houses are legal but there are slight issues concerning the rules and regulations, particularly in the city. The building codes and other requirements, on where you live. Most counties, especially the rural ones, have little zoning authority and as such have less control over what you can build.

You will get to know the Texas Tiny House laws through the answers provided to these frequently asked questions.

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Are Tiny Houses Legal In Texas?

Texas Tiny House Laws

Texas has no law that prohibits the building of tiny houses, in fact, most rural counties have little zoning authority over what can or cannot be built. Though they try to enforce some building codes and other requirements.

Some counties that are tiny house friendly with flexible building codes and zoning laws are:

  • Ellis County
  • Baylor County
  • Medina County
  • Brown County

Some counties in certain special use areas, such as Lake Granbury or Padre Island (Cameron and Willacy counties) and the Brazos River (Hood County), have special zoning authority.

However, cities have much control or zoning power over tiny houses. You have to check the zoning ordinance or planning department to find out more about the rules and regulations guiding the building of tiny houses.

Some cities that allow tiny houses are:

  • San Antonio: This allows tiny homes according to the International Residence Code’s (IRC) guidelines.
  • Lake Dallas: This is the second home to a village of tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) constructed according to IRC Appendix Q.
  • Houston: This city allows tiny homes based on specific requirements.
  • Spur: This is a self-proclaimed first tiny house-friendly town.

Building tiny houses now in Texas is becoming easier, though some cities have started laying down specific regulations concerning the building of tiny homes.

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How Do I Build A Tiny House In Texas?

  • You have to decide if you want to build a tiny house on wheels or a tiny house on a foundation.
  • After this, decide on the location of your tiny house.
  • Research the tiny house regulations applicable to your chosen location. Get to know the zoning laws and building codes.

What Kinds Of Tiny Houses Are Allowed in Texas?

To know the kind of tiny house you can build, you will have to make some site-specific inquiries. Generally, tiny homes on foundations are more easily approved than tiny homes on wheels.

This doesn’t mean you can not build or buy tiny homes on wheels. Lake Dallas is a home for the village of tiny homes on wheels. They may not be classified as permanent homes by all counties and cities, so they may be rare.

What Are Texas Tiny House Building Codes?

The building codes depending on the county or city you want your tiny house to be situated. So, you just have to research that particular place. Building codes for San Antonio and Houston, are below.

If you want to build your tiny home in San Antonio, your building has to meet the following IRC guidelines:

  • The ceiling must be at least 6’8’’.
  • Non-bedrooms must be at least 70 square feet.
  • Constructed on a minimum of 320 square feet of land.
  • It must have a minimum square footage of 150 square feet.

For Houston, it has a few different requirements:

  • Occupiable rooms, corridors, bathrooms, hallways, etc. are required to have ceilings at least 7 feet high.
  • Each dwelling unit must have a habitable room with at least 120 square feet of floor area.
  • All other occupiable rooms—except for kitchens—must have a square footage of at least 70 feet.
  • Each unit must have a bathtub/shower, water closet, and lavatory.

This is however not a comprehensive list of the requirements but this will help you know what to expect.

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What About Tiny Houses On Wheels?

Most times, tiny homes on wheels (THOWs) are considered recreational vehicles. Using your tiny home on wheels as a permanent residence is often prohibited in single-family residential areas. You may have to reside in mobile home parks.

In Houston, tiny homes on wheels are categorized as travel trailers. They must be portable structures since it’s temporary residences and will be towed. Though laws differ in other cities and counties, it will be easier to get tiny homes on foundations approved than tiny homes on wheels (THOW).

Where Can I Park My Tiny House On Wheels in Texas?

Looking for a place to park your THOW in Texas might be difficult due to zoning laws. Some tiny home communities may accommodate tiny homes on wheels.
Some are:

  • Indigo River Tiny Homes in Dallas, Texas
  • Royce City RV Park and Tiny Home Community
  • Village Farm Tiny Home Community, Austin, Texas

You can also park in a state park, RV park, or campsite, it all depends on your county. Though there will be some restrictions to how long you can spend there.

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Texas Tiny House Laws: Conclusion

I hope this post was helpful and you have been able to know more about Texas Tiny House laws. If this article was helpful to you, your friends may have this same issue. Please share it with them on Social Media.

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