Rules and Regulations: Living in a Tiny House in Tennessee

Considering the dream of living in a tiny house in Tennessee? While Tennessee is known for its tiny home-friendly atmosphere, it's crucial to understand that there are no state-wide laws governing tiny houses. Instead, regulations vary from city to city, creating a diverse landscape for tiny house enthusiasts. Let's explore some key aspects to keep in mind if you're planning to make the leap to tiny house living in the Volunteer State.

Zoning Laws: Local Variations

Tennessee embraces tiny houses, but the regulatory framework is primarily defined at the local level. This means that tiny house regulations can differ significantly from one city to another. While some cities, such as Knoxville, Nashville, and Shelby, are renowned for being very accepting of tiny houses, it's essential to research and understand the specific zoning laws in your chosen location.

Minimum Square Footage: Compact Living

In Tennessee, the minimum size for a tiny home typically starts at 120 square feet. This size requirement ensures that tiny homes offer a comfortable and functional living space while adhering to local regulations.

Room Requirements: Comfort and Functionality

To meet Tennessee's tiny house standards, your dwelling must include at least one bedroom with a window and a closet. Additionally, your tiny home should have a room not intended for sleeping, measuring at least 70 square feet. These requirements aim to provide both comfort and functionality within your tiny house.

Bathroom Regulations: Functional Spaces

Tennessee's tiny house regulations stipulate that each tiny home should have a separate bathroom containing a water closet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower. Ensuring that tiny homes have functional and well-equipped bathroom spaces is a priority within the state's regulations.

Kitchen Regulations: Culinary Comfort

Tiny house owners in Tennessee should include a kitchen area with a sink. It's worth noting that the ceiling height for kitchens should be at least 6 feet 4 inches, ensuring a comfortable and practical cooking space.

Living Room Regulations: Space Efficiency

While Tennessee's tiny house regulations do not specify living room requirements, they emphasize that habitable rooms (except kitchens) should have not less than 70 square feet of floor area, with not less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension. This allows for flexibility in designing and personalizing your tiny home's living area.

Loft Considerations: Utilizing Vertical Space

For those incorporating lofts into their tiny home design, Tennessee's regulations state that lofts should have a floor area of not less than 35 square feet. This provision encourages efficient use of vertical space within tiny houses, making the most of the available square footage.

Foundation vs. Wheels: Understanding Local Restrictions

Tiny homes on wheels are generally permitted in some areas of Tennessee. However, it's essential to be aware that local restrictions may apply, and tiny house regulations can vary by city or county. For instance, in Knoxville, a tiny house must be built on-site and on a permanent foundation, reflecting the importance of researching and adhering to local regulations.

Plumbing and Electricity: Complying with State Requirements

When it comes to plumbing and electricity, Tennessee's state law mandates obtaining Electrical and Septic Permits from the State, unless local jurisdictions have their own Building Inspections and Permitting processes in place. Additionally, septic tanks in Tennessee must be installed by a Licensed Contractor licensed by the State, ensuring compliance with regulations governing these essential systems.

It's important to note that while Tennessee welcomes tiny houses, regulations can vary widely depending on your chosen county or city. Therefore, thorough research and compliance with local regulations are essential before building or living in a tiny house in Tennessee. Be sure to check with local authorities or visit their official websites to obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information for your specific location.