Florida Tiny House Laws

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So you want to build a tiny house in Florida. Whether you’re looking for a tiny house on wheels (THOW) to go everywhere that you do or you’re looking to create a backyard oasis with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), tiny house living can bring you massive satisfaction. 
However, establishing a tiny home of your own can get complicated depending on where you live, so you’ll want to make sure you know the requirements to proceed legally.
Many consider Florida to be more tiny-house-friendly than most states, but you still need to make sure your plans comply with local laws and ordinances. Across the state, you can find tiny house communities, THOWs camping out in RV parks, and ADUs serving as backyard guest homes.
Getting a handle on local laws can get confusing. To help you get started, the car and home insurance expert Jerry is here with a guide to tiny house laws in Florida. 
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There’s no statewide law regarding tiny houses in Florida, so whether they’re legal depends on requirements that vary from place to place. 
Generally, much of the Sunshine State is pretty tolerant of tiny homes. If you have a specific place in Florida in mind for your tiny house, you should check the local laws and ordinances for that city and county.

Florida counties that allow tiny houses

Where can you put a tiny house in Florida? Whether tiny houses are allowed and under what conditions varies from city to city and county to county. 
Some of the counties that are more welcoming of tiny homes in Florida include:
  • Sarasota
  • Orange
  • Pasco
  • Suwannee
  • Hamilton
  • Dixie
Again, while these areas are generally pretty friendly toward tiny homes, they still have varying rules and regulations surrounding them, so make sure you’re familiar with those before settling on your tiny house’s destination.

What kinds of tiny houses are permitted in Florida?

Look into your local regulations and make sure your tiny house plan meets building standards and zoning codes
One of the major stipulations that might affect whether you can have a tiny home in a particular county is its square footage, as certain counties require a minimum size for a structure to be considered a residential dwelling.
In both Pasco County and Dixie County, for example, the minimum acceptable size for a home is 450 square feet. In Pinellas County, dwellings need to be at least 150 square feet. In Orange County, the minimum is 400 square feet.
A land use attorney can also help you verify your tiny home will meet your local legal requirements.

What does a tiny house need to be up to Florida building code?

Different tiny house types in different locations will be subject to varying standards. Generally, your home should be structurally sound and systems should be installed safely and properly.
A THOW (tiny house on wheels) should satisfy standards set by the American National Standards Institute, which include standards for your tiny home’s plumbing, heating, and electrical work. 
THOWs larger than 400 square feet should meet Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and hold a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development label. 

What about tiny houses on wheels? 

There are plenty of places in Florida that will allow you to park your tiny houses on wheels. However, certain rules may apply, depending on where you choose to do so. 
In Sarasota County, any trailer (including a THOW) that stays parked in an RV park longer than 45 consecutive days needs to get a park trailer placement permit and it must be “installed according to applicable codes for park trailer placement.” 
Whether you can place a THOW on foundation depends on what zoning area you’re in.
At the state level, your THOW will need to be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Where can I park my tiny house in Florida?

While Florida may offer plenty of options for parking your tiny house, you won’t be able to park it absolutely anywhere. Even rural areas may be subject to certain zoning regulations, so it’s important to find out what county and city laws and ordinances say about whether tiny homes are allowed and under what circumstances.
For your THOW, some RV parks around Florida include:
  • Fleetwood RV Park
  • River Ranch RV Resort
  • Twelve Oaks RV Resort
  • Winter Garden RV Resort
  • River Ranch RV Resort
  • Journey’s End
  • Rock Creek RV Resort
If you’re looking to put a tiny house in your own backyard, this would be considered an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). Whether you’ll be able to do this depends on your local regulations. In St. Petersburg, for instance, ADUs can be installed on the same lot as a regular home if the lot size is at least 5,800 square feet. 
Pro Tip If you’re planning to use an ADU (or any other tiny home) as a rental, make sure you check local laws and ordinances first. There may be additional rules to follow. 

How to build a tiny house in Florida

Before you set out on your tiny house journey in Florida, here are some general steps you can take to help make your tiny dream a big (legally-compliant) reality:
  • Figure out what tiny house type is for you. Are you looking for an ADU that can serve as a guest house or backyard getaway? Do you want a THOW that goes everywhere you go? Or do you want to be able to place your tiny home on a permanent lot?
  • Research your local zoning laws and building codes. Check with the corresponding offices at your county courthouse and city hall, and visit your library to find more resources for what’s legally required for the tiny home setup you have in mind.
  • Pick a place for your tiny house. Once you’ve figured out where your tiny home will be allowed, start getting your plans in place, like purchasing a lot or reserving a rental space at an RV Park, or getting things ready in your backyard.
  • Find a company to build your tiny house. Some companies out there, like Tampa Bay Tiny Homes and Movable Roots, offer a variety of customizable options from shell to fully finished product at various price points. 
  • Compare home insurance rates. How your tiny home is classified will determine what kind of insurance you need to get for it—some options include mobile and manufactured home insurance, RV insurance, and additional structure protection under a home insurance plan.

How to save money on car and homeowners insurance

Your tiny house can give you big delight, and so can finding big savings on your car and home insurance. If you’re looking for a new policy, the Jerry app can make the process of shopping around for quotes quick and easy. 
After answering a few questions—which takes less than a minute—you can start reviewing quotes from up to 50 top insurance providers. If you bundle your home and auto insurance, you might see even bigger savings on both policies. 
On average, Jerry users save $887 per year on car insurance alone!
Once your policy’s up for renewal, Jerry can automatically search for quotes again so you can see if there are any new opportunities for additional savings.
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Whether you need a permit for your tiny house depends on what type of tiny home you have, what you use it for, and where it is. You should generally expect to need one or more permits in most cases. 
Check your local and county laws and ordinances to find out which ones, if any, might be required.
The minimum square footage for a house in Florida varies depending on your city and location. In Pinellas County, dwellings need to be at least 150 square feet. In Orange County, the minimum is 400 square feet.

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