Are Tiny Homes Legal in Pennsylvania?

Tiny Homes in Pennsylvania
Legal StatusNot explicitly illegal, but also not clearly stated as legal. A bill has been proposed to establish new standards.
Building StandardsMust comply with the same residential and building codes as other residential properties. Every room, apart from the kitchen, must have a minimum floor area of 70 square feet and a horizontal dimension of at least 7 feet.
Minimum Habitable Space700 square feet
Certificate of OccupancyNeeds to meet all local zoning laws and building codes, and go through a process to secure it.
Tiny Homes on WheelsNot subject to any specific building codes. Typically categorized as recreational vehicles (RVs) and governed by RV codes and regulations.

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In Pennsylvania, tiny homes aren’t explicitly illegal, but neither are they clearly stated as legal. Yet, a bill proposed by a Pennsylvania legislator seeks to establish new standards for these small residences.

Councilman Todd Stewart asserts that tiny homes will be permitted in areas where residential accessory uses and structures are allowed, given that the plot for the tiny home adheres to zoning regulations.

Tiny House Made Easy™

There is no state law that forbids individuals from residing in houses smaller than a specified size. Therefore, before constructing a tiny home in Pennsylvania, it’s critical to review local zoning laws and building codes.

Building Standards for Tiny Homes

For a tiny home to qualify as a conventional dwelling in Pennsylvania, it must comply with the same residential and building codes as other residential properties across the state. Every room, apart from the kitchen, must have a minimum floor area of 70 square feet and a horizontal dimension of at least 7 feet.

However, tiny homes are typically 500 square feet or less, which falls short of the minimum habitable space requirement of 700 square feet.

While there are no explicit regulations for tiny homes in Pittsburgh, they’re technically permissible as there are no laws restricting residents from living in smaller-sized homes. As always, local zoning laws and building codes must be consulted before proceeding with the construction of a tiny home.

Certificate of Occupancy for Tiny Homes

To secure a certificate of occupancy for a tiny home in Pennsylvania, one must adhere to the following process:

  1. Ensure that the tiny home meets all local zoning laws and building codes.
  2. Based on the building type and occupancy of the tiny home, approval for a certificate of occupancy permit must be sought under the relevant building code.
  3. Apply for a permit at your local building department, submit all necessary documents, and pay the filing fee.
  4. Arrange the inspections required by your Administrative Permit.

Upon completion of these steps, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is issued at no additional charge.

Given that most tiny homes are below the minimum habitable space requirement of 700 square feet, checking local zoning laws and building codes is a crucial step in this process.

Tiny Homes on Wheels in Pennsylvania

Tiny homes on wheels in Pennsylvania are not subject to any specific building codes. They are typically categorized as recreational vehicles (RVs) and are governed by RV codes and regulations. However, a proposed legislation might potentially introduce new standards for tiny homes, which could encompass tiny homes on wheels.

Thus, before constructing a tiny home on wheels in Pennsylvania, it is advisable to review local zoning laws and building codes.

As explained by Councilman Todd Stewart, tiny homes will be permitted where residential accessory uses and structures are allowed, provided the lot for the tiny home complies with zoning rules.