Those in search of a beautiful state that is friendly to tiny house owners may want to move to Georgia.
We are going to clarify tiny house laws in Georgia for you in this post, explaining zoning regulations, building codes, property taxes and more. We will also tell you about some tiny house communities in GA where you can place your home, and introduce you to some local builders.
Article Quick Links:
Are Tiny Houses Legal in Georgia?
Yes, it is legal to live in a tiny house in the state of Georgia. In fact, tiny houses are becoming increasingly popular in GA, and there are many options for where you can live in a tiny home in this state.
How Georgia Defines Tiny Houses
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides a useful fact sheet about tiny houses in the state. Like many other states, GA divides tiny houses into four main categories:
- Recreational vehicles
- Manufactured homes/mobile homes
- Residential (modular) industrialized buildings
- Site-built dwellings
This fact sheet provides additional detailed information on each of these categories. It also states that tiny houses are “generally 400 square feet or less, excluding lofts.”
What to Know About Zoning Laws and Building Codes in Georgia
The fact sheet above continues, “Regulations for each of these four types may vary, but generally, the state’s building codes only apply to tiny homes that are modular dwellings and site-built dwellings. Recreational vehicles and manufactured homes are not regulated by building codes but fall under other HUD and other industry standards.”
This document says that the following codes apply to tiny houses in GA:
- International Residential Code (IRC), 2012 edition with Georgia Amendments
- International Plumbing Code (IPC), 2012 edition with Georgia Amendments
- International Energy Efficiency Code (IECC) 2009 edition with Georgia Amendments
- National Electrical Code (NEC) 2017 edition
What Areas in Georgia Let You Live in a Tiny House?
You are allowed to live in a tiny house in Atlanta. But as explained here, how strict the rules are that govern tiny homes in Atlanta depends on what part of the city you want to place the house in.
Here is an old news article published back in 2017 in Atlanta Magazine. The article explains, “People with tiny house dreams can now make them a reality thanks to the May 1 City Council approval of ‘accessory dwelling units’-tiny houses in the backyards of existing homes.”
You can read another post from 2020 by Brian M. Douglas & Associates about tiny homes in Atlanta. The post says, “Metro Atlanta has more than 60 different zoning jurisdictions, each with its own unique approach to land use … Tiny Houses are also subject to these local zoning requirements, which vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In order to address concerns about the inconsistent construction regulations, government leaders amended the International Residential Code (IRC) to account for tiny house projects … The issue is, however, that the local zoning jurisdictions each need to adopt the amended IRC. So far, Georgia cities with zoning regulations in place related to tiny houses (both pro- and anti-tiny houses) include Atlanta, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Roswell, and Sandy Springs.”
Keep in mind that three years have passed since that post. During that time, additional cities in GA may have adopted the amended IRC. You can look up the city where you are thinking of putting your home to see whether or not the regulations allow for it yet.
A Quick Disclaimer and Reminder
As always, we would like you to remember that we are not legal experts. We cannot guarantee that the information in this post is fully up-to-date, or that we have interpreted it correctly.
If you want to put a tiny home in any city or county of Georgia, please remember to look up the current regulations and codes for those specific jurisdictions. If you have any questions or concerns about whether your planned home will meet regulations, you can discuss those with your architect.
What to Know About Property Taxes on Tiny Homes in Georgia
Now you have an idea which parts of Georgia allow tiny houses. But what do you need to know about paying property taxes on your tiny house in GA?
Based on our research, it appears that Georgia does charge property taxes for recreational vehicles, so that would include tiny houses on wheels.
As for tiny homes on foundations, we found nothing explicitly stating that GA does or does not levy property taxes for these types of houses. This is something you will want to contact the state directly to inquire about.
Either way, if you will be purchasing land on which to place the tiny house in GA, be aware that you will need to pay property taxes on the land.
Where You Can Put Your Tiny House in Georgia
There are a few different types of places you can put a tiny house in Georgia.
Do you own your own land? Depending on the building codes and zoning regulations that apply to that land, you might be able to put a tiny house on it. This is a wonderful option if you can manage it, since you will have the utmost privacy and control over how you live. Just keep in mind that it costs a lot to install utilities on the land if they are not there already.
Georgia also has some communities that are specifically devoted to tiny homes. We will introduce you to some of these in this post.
Some RV parks may also accept tiny houses. You will need to ask each one, since they set their own rules about the types of vehicles and homes they do and do not accept.
Why Live in a Tiny Home in Georgia?
Here are a few reasons to think about moving into a tiny home in Georgia:
- Economic opportunity: Atlanta is a fast-growing city with increasing economic importance. So, moving to GA is a great idea if you want to put yourself within range of a lot of potential job prospects. You will find opportunities to live right in the Atlanta metro area or just outside of it. So, you can choose the lifestyle that suits you best.
- Beautiful scenery: Georgia is home to some truly spectacular scenery, even close to Atlanta. In fact, quite a few tiny house communities are on Lookout Mountain, offering you the chance to hike nearby trails and enjoy picturesque views around your tiny home.
- Lovely communities: This state features some very comfortable communities that provide the amenities you need to enjoy a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle. You will also have fun meeting neighbors who share your passion for the tiny life.
Successful Tiny House Communities in Georgia
Let’s check out a few tiny house communities in Georgia that are thriving.
Quite a few of the tiny house communities located in Georgia are owned and operated by a company called River Ridge Escapes. Their communities include Cloudland Escape II, Little River Escape, High Point Escape, Silver Hill Escape, Shady Oak Escape and Pine Ridge Escape. The locations of these communities include Lookout Mountain and Lyerly, GA. All of the communities are well-equipped in terms of amenities.
No matter which community you choose, you will have a spacious lot in stunning rural surroundings. For some communities, you buy the lot, while for others, you lease it, ensuring you have the flexibility to find a fit for your financial needs.
River Ridge Escapes also sells tiny houses. One cool thing they let you do is spend the night in the house you are interested in so you can decide whether it is the right one.
Another option for moving into a tiny house community in Georgia is Cottages on Vaughn in Clarkston.
As the name makes clear, the community is right in Clarkston in the Atlanta metro region. That makes it the ideal choice for anyone who wants to live in an urban setting that is brimming with economic opportunities.
MicroLife Institute owns and operates Cottages on Vaughn in Clarkston. The institute put a great deal of thought and creativity into the neighborhood layout and the floor plans of the homes to ensure that there is an ideal balance between privacy and interaction.
Cottages on Vaughan in Clarkston also is focused on creating a community that is as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible. The landscaping includes a large number of edible plants. The homes produce their own power using solar panels, and feature energy-efficient heating and cooling for comfort throughout the year.
The institute writes, “With successful pilot projects like the Cottages on Vaughan, MicroLife is demonstrating to municipalities throughout Georgia and the nation that micro-structures are a feasible and desirable form of housing that can be replicated in any community.”
Tiny House Builders in Georgia
When possible, it is a good idea to work with a builder for your tiny house that is local. Doing so reduces the shipping time and costs for your Georgia tiny house. Plus, a local architect will have a stronger understanding of your local building codes and zoning requirements than one from a distant state. Here are some tiny house designers and builders that are based in GA.
Mustard Seed Tiny Homes is a well-known tiny house builder based near Atlanta. In fact, they are famous far beyond Georgia’s borders, and are a popular option for homebuyers throughout the region.
We recommend this company not only for the quality of their builds, but also for their values. Mustard Seed Tiny Homes writes, “We believe that big change starts small. That’s why we’re committing to giving a portion of the profit from each home we sell towards helping people internationally and locally with housing needs. Your Mustard Seed Tiny House will be a seed of hope, creating positive change in our world one person, one home at a time.”
Their models include the Harvest, the Dogwood, the Sycamore, and others. It only takes 8-10 weeks for Mustard Seed Tiny Homes to construct a house. Before you know it, you could be opening the door to your new tiny life in GA.
Eagle Ridge Buildings is an option if you are shopping for a tiny house kit. The company has a convenient location in East Ellijay.
Actually, most of the company’s homes qualify more as “very small” homes, rather than tiny homes, making a great choice for those looking for a middle-ground option. Floor plans start out at around 500 square feet, and range up to more than 1,000 square feet.
Even though they are kits, you do not have to build them yourself; Eagle Ridge Buildings can connect you with a licensed contractor who can take care of construction. Some of their models include the Thomas, the Denali, the Cascade, Steel Magnolia and more.
Another tiny house company in Georgia that you can work with is Creative Living, which you will find at southerngeorgiatinyhomes.com (a bit confusing, we know). They offer models such as Montana, Cliffhanger, Cozy Cottage, Mother-in-Law, Urban Cottage and Hunter’s Cove.
How to Build a Tiny House in Georgia
The exact steps involved with building a tiny house in Georgia depend on your specific builder and location, but here are the basic steps to follow.
- The first thing you need to do is decide where you want to build your tiny house in Georgia. To make sure you are complying with all rules and regulations, make sure you look up the zoning regulations and building codes for that specific part of GA.
You can start by checking with the county. If you are going to be building within city limits, then you will also need to check what the city requires.
- You will now know what the requirements are for your building permit, as well as the specifications for a legal tiny house build.
Based on this information, create a list. In one column, write down everything the tiny home layout needs to include to meet the legal requirements. In another, write down all additional personal needs. In a third column, write down some things that would be nice to have, but which you can also do without.
- Draw up a budget for your tiny house. Remember to account not only for the cost for the house itself, but also what you will pay to lease or purchase a lot. Do not forget about property taxes either.
- Choose a tiny house company to work with. You can either buy a home based on a pre-existing floor plan or you can pay an architect to create a floor plan for you.
- If you have not finalized selecting a lot, try to do so at this time.
- Keep working with the architect or designer until the plans are ready to submit. Now it is time to apply for your building permit. The tiny house company will probably know what documents you need to submit to get a quick approval, especially if they are based in Georgia.
- After you receive your building permit, you can apply for financing if required. Talk to your tiny house company about this, as they may be able to point you in the right direction.
- Construction of your tiny house will begin once you give the builder the go-ahead. Most tiny homes are prefab structures, so this phase will take place at a manufacturing facility. As it progresses, the builder will give you updates.
- During this time, prepare the site and foundation. How intensive this step will be can vary dramatically depending on the house and site.
- The home will be shipped to your site.
Assuming you purchased a turnkey home that was fully assembled before shipment, all that is left to do is set it up at the site and hook up all the utilities. You can then move right in.
If you purchased a tiny house kit, prefab components will be shipped to the site, after which the contractor will complete the final assembly steps. You will then be able to move into your new tiny house.
Move Into a Tiny House in Georgia
You are now acquainted with tiny house laws in Georgia. You are closer than you think to making your dreams of tiny living come true. Click any of the links in this post to explore our recommended tiny house communities and builders in Georgia.