State-by-State Guide to Permanent Living in Tiny Houses on Wheels (THOWs): Utility Connections and Foundations

A glimpse into turning your THOW into a permanent resident.

The allure of Tiny Houses on Wheels (THOWs) has captured the imagination of many aspiring minimalists and eco-conscious individuals. However, one of the key challenges faced by THOW enthusiasts is understanding the legalities of turning these mobile dwellings into permanent homes, particularly regarding utility connections and foundation requirements. This post provides an elaborate state-by-state overview of where and how you can establish your THOW as a permanent residence.

Utility Connections and Foundations Across the States

Transforming a THOW into a permanent home often requires connecting to utilities like water, sewage, and electricity and securing the house on a foundation. The regulations and possibilities vary significantly across the U.S. Here's a detailed look:

  1. California: Known for its progressive stance, California allows THOWs to be placed on permanent foundations and connected to utilities, especially in areas that categorize THOWs as accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

  2. Oregon: Oregon is a THOW-friendly state, where many localities permit these homes on foundations with full utility hookups, particularly in residential areas zoned for ADUs.

  3. Washington: In Washington, certain cities like Seattle have embraced THOWs, allowing them as permanent residences with utility connections, often subject to ADU regulations.

  4. Colorado: With a focus on sustainable living, Colorado offers options for THOWs to be established as permanent dwellings, complete with utility connections, in various municipalities.

  5. Texas: In Texas, cities like Austin are pioneering in THOW regulations, allowing them on foundations with utility hookups in designated areas.

  6. Florida: While primarily known for its RV-friendly laws, Florida does offer opportunities for THOWs to be set up as permanent residences with utility connections, particularly in certain zones.

  7. Minnesota: Minnesota’s cold climate necessitates proper utility connections for THOWs, which are allowed in certain areas.

  8. Arizona: In Arizona, local laws vary, but there are increasing opportunities for THOWs to be placed on foundations with utilities, especially outside city limits.

  9. Vermont: Vermont’s rural landscape makes it a suitable location for THOWs to be set up permanently with utility connections.

  10. Wisconsin: Certain localities in Wisconsin have started to recognize THOWs as viable permanent homes, allowing them to be placed on foundations with utilities.

  11. New Hampshire: Recognizing the need for affordable housing solutions, New Hampshire permits THOWs in various areas with the necessary utility connections.

  12. Maine: In Maine, THOWs can be used as permanent residences, especially in rural areas where they can be placed on foundations and connected to utilities.

  13. Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, the acceptance of THOWs as permanent homes varies by locality, with some areas allowing for utility connections and foundation placement.

Navigating Local Regulations

While this list provides a general overview, it is crucial to remember that regulations can vary significantly even within a state. For instance:

  • Urban vs. Rural Areas: Urban areas may have stricter zoning laws compared to rural areas.

  • Community Acceptance: Some communities are more welcoming of THOWs and may have more relaxed rules regarding permanent residency.


Turning your THOW into a permanent residence is a dream that can be realized with careful planning and understanding of state and local laws. By ensuring compliance with utility and foundation requirements, THOW owners can enjoy a stable and sustainable living experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Research your state and local laws regarding THOWs.

  • Ensure compliance with utility connection requirements and foundation norms.

  • Consult local authorities and experts for the most accurate and legal advice.

Embracing the THOW lifestyle means being well-informed and adaptable. With the right knowledge, you can turn your tiny house on wheels into a cozy, permanent home.