Are Tiny Homes Legal in Tennessee?

Tennessee State Flag
LegalityTiny homes are legal in Tennessee, but regulations vary by city.
Minimum Size RequirementsDepends on local jurisdiction; 120-400 sq. ft. based on IRC or local regulations.
Sales and Use TaxSame as regular homes for THOF, half the rate for THOW that meet “manufactured home” definition.
OS Permit RequirementsNeeded when exceeding 8′ 6” wide, 60′ in length, and 14′ 2” in height.
Living in a Tiny HomeLegal as long as it complies with local codes and building standards.
ResourcesTiny Houses, Minimalism, Sustainability, Tiny Home Legal
Summary of Tennessee State Tiny Home Laws

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Tiny House Made Easy™

Tiny homes have gained popularity in recent years due to their affordability, minimalism, and sustainability. However, laws and regulations regarding tiny homes vary by state, and in the case of Tennessee, by local jurisdiction. In this article, we will discuss the legality of tiny homes in Tennessee and the regulations you need to consider if you’re planning to build or live in one.

Legality of Tiny Homes in Tennessee

Tiny homes are legal in Tennessee, but there are no state-wide laws. Regulations vary from city to city, so whether it is legal or illegal to build a tiny house in Tennessee depends on where you plan to put the house. To ensure you’re following the regulations, it is important to check with local authorities and the local zoning codes.

Some Tennessee cities are known to be accepting of tiny houses, such as Knoxville, Nashville, Shelby, and Monteagle. For more information on building or living in a tiny home in Tennessee, explore our Tiny Houses resource.

Minimum Size Requirements for Tiny Homes in Tennessee

The minimum size requirements for tiny homes in Tennessee depend on whether the county or municipality adopts the building codes and zoning regulations in the International Residential Code (IRC). In areas that embrace the IRC (like Knoxville), a tiny home must be 400 sq. ft. or less but cannot be smaller than 120 sq. ft. For areas that opt out of the IRC, the minimum required habitable area could be as low as 138 square feet.

It is essential to refer to local zoning codes and check with local authorities to ensure you’re following the regulations. Our Minimalism resource can provide tips on living comfortably in a small space.

Sales and Use Tax for Tiny Homes in Tennessee

The same principles of sales and use tax that apply to regular homes apply to non-moveable tiny homes on foundation (THOF). However, tiny homes on wheels (THOW) that meet the definition of a “manufactured home” are subject to half the usual sales and use tax rate. For information on tiny home sustainability, refer to our Sustainability resource.

OS Permit Requirements for Tiny Homes in Tennessee

A tiny house requires an OS permit when it exceeds legal limits of 8′ 6” wide, 60′ in length, and 14′ 2” in height. Familiarize yourself with regulations to avoid complications.

Living in a Tiny Home in Tennessee

Legally, you can live in a tiny home in Tennessee as long as the home complies with local codes and applicable building standards. To build and live in a tiny house in Tennessee without getting into trouble with the law, you should check local zoning codes and building standards. If the local zoning code gives you the green light, you can go ahead and build or buy your tiny home. Tiny houses on wheels are allowed in some areas of the state but not all due to local restrictions.

To be legal, the home usually must be on a permanent foundation and have an approved septic. For more information on tiny homes and legal issues, visit our Tiny Home Legal page.