Where Can I Legally Park My Tiny House in Tennessee?

Where Can I Legally Park My Tiny House in Tennessee

Tiny homes have gained popularity over the last few years. They are often customized, and most are built with specific ideas and goals, meaning that you have a house that fits your needs. 

At a time when substantial personal debts and low savings are norm, living in a smaller home offers the possibility of a transformational lifestyle, especially for those dealing with the immense pressures of housing insecurity and the risk of homelessness. 

Tiny home living offers many lasting benefits, both individually and for the greater community. For example, they provide mobility when built on a trailer, are less expensive to build and maintain, and yield a reduced environmental impact. 

At an individual level, living in a tiny home means taking a closer inventory of your wants and needs. Therefore, you have to examine every desire and purchase to ensure that you have a clutter-free space. 

Read on to learn why you can legally park your tiny house in Tennessee:

Are Tiny Houses Legal in Tennessee?

With warm summers and mild winters, Tennessee makes tiny home living a breeze. Additionally, Tennessee doesn’t have any statewide laws relating to tiny homes. Therefore, whether or not you can build depends on where you’re looking to live. Like many other states, the regulations surrounding tiny homes vary across different cities. 

If you carefully read the Tennessee state laws, you won’t find the word “tiny home.” However, this doesn’t mean that tiny homes are illegal or aren’t allowed. Instead, it means that the state of Tennessee has left it up to each city to decide how they want to handle tiny living. 

Some homeowners in Tennessee might want to convert their sheds, or other dwelling units (ADUs), into tiny homes. However, if they opt for this, it might be against the Tennessee state law on ready removeables. This law states that you can only have electricity in a shed to operate machinery and tools but not power a potential home. 

Additionally, it’s illegal to sleep in a shed in Tennessee. Therefore, while a shed might be a tiny space, you can’t exactly turn it into a tiny home. 

Which Tennessee Cities Allow Tiny Homes?

Knoxville is the only municipality in Tennessee that has fully adopted IRC appendix Q. Therefore, you’re free to go tiny as long as your tiny home complies with the standards laid out in the appendix. 

You can also put up a tiny home in Nashville; however, you’ll have to deal with heavier restrictions. For example, you can only have a tiny home in zones behind an existing structure. However, if you have a lot of yard space and want to build a tiny home, you can do so in Nashville, especially if you want to make extra cash with an Airbnb. 

It’s best to check with local Tennessee authorities and zoning codes to ensure that you comply with all regulations before putting up a tiny home in Tennessee.  

What Type of Tiny Houses Can You Put Up in Tennessee?

Tennessee has statewide regulations for modular homes under the Tennessee Modular Building Program. The laws regulate modular homes, or those built offsite and transported to a final destination, which is quite common in tiny homes. 

However, it’s best to understand that not all tiny homes are considered modular homes. Therefore, if you’re building your tiny home or contracting someone else to do it for you, you’ll have to get the building plans inspected, and the building itself approved by the local state authority. 

If you’re building a tiny home in Knoxville, Tennessee, it needs to meet the standards laid out in the 2018 IRC Appendix Q. Therefore, your tiny home must:

  • Have a minimum of 120 square feet.
  • Be built on a minimum of 320 square feet of land.
  • Have ceilings at least 6’4” tall for bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Have ceilings at least 6’8” tall for hallways and bedrooms. However, an exception is made for lofted spaces. 
  • Have at least one bedroom with a window and closet space.
  • Have a room that isn’t intended for sleeping that measures at least seventy square feet. 

Therefore, when mapping out your tiny home, it’s best to have a tape measure on hand to ensure that you meet the dimension requirements. 

What Laws Regulate Tiny Houses on Wheels in Tennessee?

Tiny homes on wheels are regulated differently than those built on a foundation. For example, they’re considered mobile homes in Tennessee and must adhere to the regulations and codes laid out for them, not for tiny homes or standard houses. 

You can’t just park your tiny home on wheels anywhere in Tennessee. For example, in Memphis, tiny homes on wheels aren’t allowed within city limits but can be in the larger county as long as they’re on at least an acre of land. In Knoxville, you can only park your tiny house on wheels in an RV or mobile home park. 

Tiny houses are wheels not permitted anywhere in the County in Rutherford County. 

Steps to Follow Before Building a Tiny House in Tennessee

If you’re ready to build a tiny home in Tennessee, you’ll need to follow the following critical steps:

Choose the Right Place for Your Tiny Home

Tiny home communities are cropping across Tennessee; therefore, you can build your tiny home in such a community. However, if you want to fly solo on your tint home adventure, you must consider whether you want to be in touch with nature or closer to a city. 

Know Your Local Zoning and Building Laws

It’s best to do your research beforehand to get intelligence on every county in Tennessee. Also, understand their rules about tiny home building. 

Where Can I Put a Tiny House in Tennessee?

Tiny Houses added to a property with an existing structure are considered DADUs (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units). Therefore, you can put a tiny house on any properties zoned R80-R6, RM2-RM20-A, RM40-RM100A, OR20-OR40A, and ORI and ORI-A; and in a historic overlay are eligible.

Can I Put a Tiny House on My Property in Tennessee?

If you want a tiny house in your backyard, it has to be zoned for it. For example, your home can’t be zoned as a single-family in Nashville. However, properties zoned as “multi-family” or duplexes can have a tiny home in the backyard of a full-sized home. 

Where Are Retreat Tiny Houses in Tennessee?

The retreat has three thriving tiny house communities in Tennessee: Deer Lick Falls, Sunset Bluff in Monteagle, and Water’s Edge in Tracy City. Retreat tiny house communities welcome short-stay and extended stay visitors of all ages. 

Can You Live in an RV on Your Land in Tennessee?

Yes, you can live in an RV on your land in Tennessee. However, to stay within the law, you must follow local zoning laws and ordinances that might govern where you park the RV. 

You will also need access to water and sewer if you plan to park permanently in one place or on your land. 

Check this too: Where Can I Put a Tiny House in Florida?

Can You Live off the Grid Legally in Tennessee?

Going off-grid is completely legal in Tennessee. However, some urban places might require building codes; therefore, going off-grid might be illegal. 

The biggest obstacle you’ll likely encounter while going off-grid in Tennessee is sewage hookup requirements and alternative waste disposal systems. 

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Tiny Home in Tennessee?

Building a tiny home in Tennessee can be much less expensive than a traditional home. However, the cost can skyrocket if you add a lot of upgrades and specialty designs.

In most cases, the price will range between $20,000 and $50,000, although more stylish homes can cost thousands more. 

Living in a tiny home has become popular over the years because of its numerous advantages. However, be sure to do extensive research before you put up your tiny home in Tennessee.