Does New York Allow Tiny Homes? Let’s Find Out Here

Are you thinking of residing in a tiny abode in the vibrant city of New York? Then, you should make yourself aware of the rules and regulations specific to this astounding state before you embark on your dream tiny home journey

Once you understand these guidelines comprehensively, you can effortlessly navigate the legal aspects, thereby ensuring a more enjoyable and seamless tiny home living experience. 

Today, we will take a detailed look at the various nitty-gritty of staying compliant with tiny house laws in New York, which will help you make informed decisions about buying cabins on wheels for sale. So, let’s begin. 


Are Tiny Homes Legal in New York? 

New York recently consented to the “APPENDIX Q” within its residential code, allowing tiny houses that are considered accessory dwelling units or ADUs. It must be pointed out here that state guidelines and laws are often modified and, thus, are sometimes heavily debated. We highly suggest checking with your local municipality to ensure that your tiny house complies with the zoning regulations there are before setting up one. 

Which types of tiny houses are allowed in New York? 

New York is home to different types of dwellings, and tiny abodes are no exception. The most common types of tiny houses found here include: 

  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and
  • THOWs or Tiny House on Wheels 

How to Ensure Your Tiny House Complies with the New York Building Codes? 

When setting up a tiny home in New York, you should ensure compliance with the specific building codes of the state. This goes a long way in ensuring the house’s structural integrity and safety, no matter whether it is a temporary, permanent, or transitional home. 

Rules Governing Temporary Tiny Structures

THOWs, or tiny houses on wheels, are prohibited in New York. If you want to buy a tiny house on wheels in this state, register it with an RV or a recreational vehicle with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. However, you cannot live in them permanently. 

Moreover, your THOW should comply with RV standards, which encompass catering to electrical, plumbing, and safety requirements, particularly for RVs. 

Rules Governing Permanent Tiny Homes 

Permanent structures like a tiny house on a foundation fall under the categorization of ADUs or accessory dwelling units. These are typically considered secondary residential dwelling units set up on a single-family lot. 

Now, constructing an ADU is more challenging than a tiny house on wheels as it calls for complying with a multitude of zoning regulations and local building codes. 

You will find many counties in New York where tiny houses are permitted as ADUs, thereby providing opportunities for permanent tiny home living. We recommend connecting with your local municipality to comprehensively understand the specific requirements and obtain the necessary permits for ADU construction. 

Rules Governing Transitional Structures 

Semi-permanent or temporary tiny houses are considered to be transitional structures. These structures must comply with the local zoning regulations that are there.

The requirements and rules for such structures change depending on your area and its zoning ordinances. You should always consult with the zoning departments and local authorities, who will give you a clear idea of transitional structures’ requirements and guidelines. 

Which New York Counties Permit Tiny Houses?

With tiny houses gaining much traction in New York, the regulations and acceptance surrounding them greatly vary from one county to the other. Here, we have mentioned a list of the most popular counties in New York that are more welcoming to tiny houses. 

Greene County 

Greene County is ideal for small house communities and embraces tiny home living like none other. 

If you are searching for a tranquil, tiny home lifestyle, things can’t get better than in Greene County. Thanks to some of its mind-boggling attractions, like the Kaaterskill Falls and the Chenango River Theatre. 

Rockland County 

ADUs or tiny houses are permitted in towns like Haverstraw, also called carriage houses. However, ensure you build the house to code in Rockland County. 

Other counties in New York may allow tiny houses on a case-to-case basis. You should contact the local authorities of every specific county and perform extensive research to get a good idea of their particular rules and requirements. 

How small a house can be in New York? 

New York adheres to the International Code Council Building Codes, which lays down guidelines for the dimensions and size of livable spaces inside a tiny house. 

According to these codes, any habitable room, like living spaces or bedrooms, must have a minimum width and length of 7 feet. The kitchen should be equipped with the essential fixtures like a sink and comply with safety and plumbing requirements. 

Now, speaking about the overall square footage, the maximum size for New York tiny houses is around 400 square feet. This size limit applies to THOWs or tiny houses on wheels registered as RVs or recreational vehicles. However, the size limits and specific regulations may vary greatly depending on the zoning regulations of the county in question. 

Do you have to pay property tax for your tiny house? 

The rules governing property taxes will vary depending on the specific circumstances and your location. Generally, if you own a tiny house on a foundation, which is considered an ADU, you must pay property taxes as per the property’s assessed value. 

However, if you live in a tiny house on wheels registered as an RV or a recreational vehicle, you don’t have to pay property taxes. Instead, there are registration fees and other costs involved with RV ownership. 


Final Take: 

Tiny houses, considered ADUs in New York, are allowed in several counties nationwide. Though tiny houses on wheels are legal, you cannot live in them permanently. If you are looking for a state-of-the-art tiny house on foundation or cabins on wheels for sale in the beautiful New York City Metro Area, you are in the right place. We at TinyHouseMe have an online directory with a comprehensive listing of multiple trusted tiny house builders in the U.S. and Canada. Contact the builders via TinyHouseMe, and we will place you in front of the line for the builders. Ask for a quotation now.