With its year-round temperate climate, beautiful beaches, and exciting attractions, Florida is an attractive state to move to in a tiny house.
Before you build or buy a tiny home in FL, however, you probably are looking for answers to some basic questions about the legality of tiny homes in FL.
In this post, we will go over what you need to know about zoning regulations and building codes in Florida for tiny houses.
We will also give you some information on property taxes, where you can place a FL tiny home, and introduce you to some local tiny house communities and builders to consider. If you are looking for specific information, you can jump rapidly to any section using the table of contents below. Otherwise, read on for the entire guide to FL tiny house laws.
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Are Tiny Houses Legal in Florida?
Yes, tiny houses are legal in Florida. There is no law at the state level that bans them. That means that if you want to place a tiny home in this state, you will need to check into the regulations that exist at the local (city and county) levels.
You will discover that Florida is among the more popular states for tiny living. This is because many locales in the state have relatively loose restrictions, making it easy to place a tiny home here.
How Florida Defines Tiny Houses
What to Know About Zoning Laws and Building Codes in Florida
It is challenging to track down specific zoning laws and building codes by county on government websites in Florida. But we can glean some information by turning to Tiny Home Builders Florida, a local tiny house builder.
According to this builder, the following counties in Florida have no minimum square footage requirement for houses:
- The Oviedo County
- The Longwood County
- The Casselberry County
That means that these are some of the most flexible counties if you have an especially small tiny home that might not be acceptable in another county.
According to this builder, the following counties require at least 600 square feet:
- Dixie County
- Hamilton County
- Levy County
This builder says that these counties have a minimum requirement of 700 square feet:
- Columbia County
- Pasco County
- Wakulla County
Lot sizes are another relevant consideration. If you specifically want to use a small amount of land, you might find these counties most inviting:
- Pasco County
The builder also mentions Osceola County and Sarasota County as additional options for tiny homes.
The best way to get detailed information about the zoning laws and building codes for the county where you are thinking of living is to contact that individual county directly. Remember to do the same for the city.
The minimums square footage is only one of the things you will need to know. There may be additional requirements the floor plan will need to satisfy as well in order to be a legal Florida tiny house.
Another potential issue is if you are thinking about moving to Florida in a tiny home on wheels (THOW). These types of tiny houses are often classified as recreational vehicles (RVs).
Florida is not the most RV-friendly state, unfortunately. Tiny Home Builders Florida says, “Ormond Beach is a place to think about if you want to own a tiny house. But you might run into trouble if you’re going to take your little house on the road. In an RV park, the rules say that people must move their homes every 45 days. You will also need to spend money on a foundation for it. Register your house with Florida’s Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department.”
So, do not assume that you will be able to live full-time in a tiny house on wheels in a single location. Check into the laws in detail for the area you are interested in to see what you can and cannot get away with. You might also want to contact individual RV parks for more information; they may be able to save you time in your research process.
What to Know About Property Taxes on Tiny Homes in Florida
As best we can gather from our research, you will owe property taxes on a Florida tiny house if it rests on a permanent foundation. But if it is classified as an RV, you may not owe property taxes.
Where You Can Put Your Tiny House in Florida
There are a few different options for where you can place a tiny home in one of the Florida counties that permit these small dwellings.
- Your own land: If you own land that is zoned appropriately for a tiny house (or land where you have a primary residence and can construct an ADU), then you can put a tiny home there. In many cases, this is an ideal option with respect to cost savings and privacy (if the land is paid off). If you purchase land that does not already have utilities, however, you will need to put those in, which will increase the cost significantly.
- RV or mobile home community: You can try putting a tiny house in an RV park or mobile home park. Keep in mind two things. First of all, as we discussed before, some parts of Florida do not let you keep a home with wheels in one place for a long period of time. Secondly, it s up to individual parks to decide if they want to accept you or not. Some may disallow tiny houses.
- Tiny house community: While RV and mobile home parks cater mainly to specific types of more traditional portable dwellings, there are tiny house communities in FL that grew specifically around the needs of people who own modern tiny houses. If you cannot find a spot in an RV park, a tiny house community may be a more suitable option. Plus, tiny home communities may feature additional amenities.
Why Live in a Tiny Home in Florida?
Here are some reasons why Florida is an awesome state in which to live in a tiny house.
- Weather: Florida has temperate weather around the calendar. You do not have to worry about getting cold in your tiny house or dealing with the weight of snow on your roof. Additionally, Florida is called the “Sunshine state” for good reason-so you can expect lots of sunlight flooding your tiny house through the big windows that many floor plans feature.
- Beautiful views: Florida features a lot of lovely scenery, especially if you can get out of the city a bit. Some tiny house lots may be located along the coast where you can enjoy views of the ocean (and maybe even access to the beach). Tiny houses do a great job of “bringing the outdoors in.”
- Lots of tiny-friendly areas: Many counties in Florida have regulations that allow for the construction of tiny houses, so you can decide where in the state you wish to reside.
- Plenty of communities to live in: The abundance of tiny house communities in FL surpasses the number of communities we have seen in a lot of other states. Also, there seems to be more diversity in terms of which companies own and operate the communities in this state. So, your options are really maximized here.
- Gardening opportunities: The fantastic weather and fertile soil of Florida make it excellent for growing fruits and vegetables. As a result, quite a few tiny home communities in this state boast community gardens.
Successful Tiny House Communities in Florida
Here are a few tiny house communities where you can consider living in Florida.
You will find Escape Tampa Bay Village at Thonotosassa. As the name suggests, the location of this tiny home community puts it just outside of Tampa. So, you will “escape” from the hustle and bustle of Tampa, but you also will be close to the city’s amenities and attractions.
This is a community that sells existing homes that are located in the community; you cannot bring your own tiny house (incidentally, if you like their houses, but want to live somewhere else, you can buy one and ship it to another location).
Describing the houses, Southern Living writes, “Design-wise, Escape models stick with the spirit of modern simplicity that tiny homeowners often look for. Most homes are clad on the outside in an attractive and hardy cypress wood, with front porch decks for taking in those inevitable beach breezes. The contemporary lean continues inside, with angular built-in furniture, stainless appliances, and recessed lighting throughout.”
One of Florida’s best-known tiny house communities is Circle Pond, which you will find in the Tampa Bay area as well. The name of the park is a great description of what it looks like: the tiny houses are circled around a beautiful pond with lots of wide open green spaces and beautiful trees.
You can bring your own tiny house to this community, which is great for those who are in search of flexible options. The lots are just $500 a month as of the time of this writing as well, which is pretty amazing for such a beautiful location. There is a community garden where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables.
This tiny house community is in Cocoa. You can either buy a home that is already at the community, or you can bring your own home. You will find a lot of variety in terms of what is available here. The community writes, “Braveheart Properties of Brevard offers the freedom of simple living. Lots can be purchased and have tiny homes on wheels, tiny homes on foundations, or small cottages built to suit your families needs.”
Those who are interested in saving money on groceries and living sustainably and self-sufficiently will appreciate the chance to grow and harvest fruits and vegetables in the organic community gardens.
It may interest you to know that you can actually buy lots here, as opposed to just leasing them. If you do not want to be stuck paying rent indefinitely, buying a lot is a great decision.
Tiny House Builders in Florida
Hiring a local tiny house builder in Florida is a smart idea for two reasons. First of all, a Florida builder will be familiar with the zoning regulations and building codes in the county where you want to put the home. An out-of-state builder might not be as well-acquainted with these regulations.
The other advantage is that you do not have to have your home shipped to you from out-of-state. The short distance for the shipment will minimize the costs, letting you spend more money on the home, the lot, or your moving expenses.
Here are some local Florida tiny house builders you can consider working with on your home.
This is a custom prefab home builder based in Orlando that can build you a beautiful home to your specifications. They also have some pre-existing floor plans you can choose from if you wish, including the Greenfest, the Heaven, the Roomette and more.
One thing you will appreciate about this company is that they are flexible as to the approach taken to building the home and how involved you are. They write, “Do not have the time to construct your very own personalized tiny home? Allow us to build it. We can build you a covering if you still wish to be involved in the development process and include your completing touches, or a fully complete move-in all set residence if you prefer to be hands-off.”
Another good thing about Tiny Home Builders Florida is that they are a certified-green manufacturer. They focus on optimizing energy and water efficiency as well as the quality of air inside your home.
Cornerstone Tiny Homes is a tiny house builder that is based in Longwood. They offer tiny houses to customers not just in FL, but throughout the region. The company has been in business since 2014, so they have more than a decade of experience crafting beautiful, high quality tiny houses.
You can purchase either a tiny house on wheels from Cornerstone or a tiny home that sits on a permanent foundation. The company has strong connections to multiple tiny house communities throughout FL.
This company has a similar name to the first one we shared with you, but try not to mix them up. Florida Tiny House Builders is based in Fellsmere. Their site loads slowly, and we did not find a ton of information on it. But they do have a portfolio with a lot of truly stunning photos of their homes. They use a lot of beautiful materials and textures to create one-of-a-kind homes.
How to Build a Tiny House in Florida
You now have an idea where you can purchase a Florida tiny house as well as where you can put one. But what are the steps to getting your own FL tiny house?
- A good thing to do to start out is to spend more time researching the county regulations in the various spots you are thinking about putting a tiny house in Florida. Make sure that your dream is going to be viable before you proceed. You might need to modify your plans for your home or choose a different county depending on what you discover. During this stage, you will also learn the list of what you need to submit in order to obtain building permits in FL for a tiny home.
- After you are aware of the constraints on your tiny house build based on the laws and regulations, you can begin putting detailed thought into your tiny house plans. Write down what your tiny home layout will need to include to satisfy the legal requirements, as well as anything else that is an absolute necessity. Then, start thinking of possible floor plans that could meet all of these demands. As you are doing that, you can consider things that you want, but do not necessarily need, and if it is possible to accommodate some or even all of what is on your wish list.
- Calculate your budget for your tiny house. Account for the cost to build and ship the home, as well as the costs you will need to pay someone to design the house and draw up the plans. Take into account what you will need to pay for your lot as well, whether leasing or buying. Property taxes and interest are additional costs to consider.
- Next, you can figure out what tiny house company you want to design and/or build your home for you. In many cases, you will hire the same company for both, but in some, you might choose to pick a designer from one company and a builder from another.
- Around this time, you should try to settle on a lot. If possible, we suggest doing this before building the home if you want to keep it somewhere permanently. That way, the lot choice can inform the floor plan.
- Collaborate with your designer on your tiny house plans. Work together to check off as many wants and needs as possible so that you have the ideal floor plan.
- When the plans are ready, apply for a building permit in the jurisdiction where you want to put the tiny house.
- If you submitted everything you need and your tiny house meets the minimum size requirements and other housing regulations for your county/city, you will receive your building permit.
- Now that you have everything ready to go, you can apply for financing. As you will be able to show the lender your floor plans, building permit, and timeline for construction, you stand a better chance of approval than you would if you had applied for financing earlier.
- Let the builder know you are ready to proceed, and they will begin construction of your tiny house. Most of the time, this will happen at a manufacturing facility.
- If you need to take steps to prepare the site and lay a foundation, this is the time to take care of them.
- Once construction on the home has been completed, it will be shipped to your site in Florida. You can then complete the setup and move into your new home.
Note that some tiny houses are kit homes; more assembly on-site may be needed to complete these structures, rather than them being shipped in a single piece to the site. When you first contact the builder for a quote, they will explain to you how everything works and what you can expect from the process.
Move Into a Tiny House in Florida
All in all, Florida is a great state for tiny house enthusiasts to move to, even though there are some restrictions around square footage and what you do with an RV.
If you are ready to get started, you can click any of the links in this post to check out some of the builders and communities we have recommended. Enjoy embarking on your tiny lifestyle journey in the Sunshine State.