The Tiny house Blog

Hawaii Tiny House Rules And Regulations

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
small house on wheels

Step into the world of tiny homes in Hawaii, where simplicity reigns supreme and living space is precious. As more people choose to downsize their lives, the question arises: can tiny homes find a legal home in Hawaii's paradise?

As it turns out, there are no explicit laws against tiny homes in the Aloha State, but there are some zoning regulations that pose a challenge to their construction. However, don't despair just yet. Let's explore the legal landscape for tiny homes in Hawaii and see if there's a glimmer of hope for those who yearn for a simpler life.

The good news is, tiny homes are indeed legal in Hawaii! But before you start building or buying one, there are a few things to keep in mind. All homes must adhere to the statewide building code, which stipulates a minimum of 70 square feet of living space and a maximum height of 13.5 feet.

Given Hawaii's popularity as a tourist destination, there are strict regulations in place for vacation rentals. So if you plan to rent out your tiny home on Airbnb or VRBO, make sure to check with local authorities first to avoid any legal issues.

The Hawaii Tiny House Initiative was started to help farm workers on Hawaii Island find places to live. The County rules say that on farms, small houses with a living area, kitchen and bathroom that are at least 220 square feet are allowed. Many Native Hawaiians also have trouble finding affordable homes or land because Hawaii depends a lot on tourism, which drives up prices.

While tiny homes may be small, property taxes in Hawaii are among the highest in the country. So even though your living space is diminutive, your tax bill may not be. But don't let that discourage you. With a little creativity and some savvy planning, living in a tiny home in Hawaii can still be within reach.

Are Tiny Houses Legal In Hawaii?

In Hawaii, there are no statewide rules for tiny houses yet. But don't worry, you can still have one. You just need to check with your local government to see what's allowed in your area. Some places might have rules about the size of the house or how it connects to water and sewer lines.

People are excited about the idea of living in tiny houses nowadays. This is because they are usually cheaper than traditional houses and are easier to maintain and keep clean. Most counties allow tiny houses on wheels if they meet certain size and safety rules.

One important rule is that the tiny house must be no taller than 13.5 feet, so it can pass under bridges and other low-hanging things when being transported. The width can vary depending on the county, but is usually between 8.5 and 10 feet. The length is usually no more than 40 feet, including the tongue of the trailer.

Another important rule is about the home's axle weight rating (AWR), which shows how much weight the axles on your trailer can safely hold. Most counties require that your AWR meets or exceeds 3,500 pounds per axle to ensure your tiny house will be stable when towed.

If you want to live in a tiny house in Hawaii, start by contacting your city or county planning department to learn about the zoning rules that apply to your property. Once you know the rules, you can find a good place to build or park your tiny house. It might take some effort, but you can make your dream of living in a tiny house in Hawaii come true!

Tiny House Size Restrictions in Hawaii

In Hawaii, you can build Tiny Houses of any size, but most of them are usually between 100-400 square feet. People have also built Tiny Houses on wheels that are less than 8 feet wide and up to 40 feet long. You can build your own home however you want, regardless of where you live.

Tiny House Parking in Hawaii

If you want to park your tiny house in Hawaii, there are some important things you need to know. Different areas in Hawaii have different rules about where you can put your tiny house. Usually, you have to keep it at least 20 feet away from the property line and 10 feet away from other structures.

Most counties in Hawaii also have a minimum size requirement of around 600 square feet for dwellings. Before you can park your tiny house in Hawaii, you need to register it as an RV with the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation. This means you need to get it inspected, pay a fee, and make sure it has insurance and meets safety requirements.

Once you have everything sorted out, you can look for a place to park your tiny home. There are RV parks in Hawaii that accept tiny houses, but they may have a maximum size limit of 400 square feet. You can also try looking for private homeowners who are willing to rent out space in their yard or driveway.

When choosing a spot to park your tiny home, consider things like safety and proximity to amenities. You also need to make sure you have enough space for your belongings. With some planning and research, you can find the perfect spot for your tiny home in paradise!

Can You Park on Vacant Lots/Property?

People choose to park their homes on vacant land or a friend/family member's property for different reasons. It could be because they can't afford to park in a traditional RV park or because they want to live a nomadic lifestyle. However, if you're considering parking your home on someone else's property, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Make sure you ask for permission from the owner before parking your home on their land. Respect their property and don't assume you can do whatever you want with it. Secondly, take care of the property as if it were your own. Keep it clean and tidy, and maybe do some light maintenance if necessary.

Cost of Tiny Homes in Hawaii

Tiny Homes are popular in Hawaii, but they are more expensive there than in other parts of America. In other states, Tiny Homes cost between $35,000 to $65,000, while in Hawaii, they start at $223 - $575 per square foot. The prices can go up even higher if more expensive materials are used. Before construction begins, residents must pay a deposit of $30,000, and the remaining amount can be paid after the home is built. Building a Tiny Home usually takes a few weeks, but it can take up to a month if the weather is bad.

RV Built Tiny Homes

Hawaii allows Tiny Homes on wheels to be used as a permanent living space, while many other states do not. In Hawaii, there are strict zoning laws for trailers, and all vehicles must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles and have a certificate from a private vehicle company. 

However, RV-built Tiny Homes are not allowed to be parked in recreational areas like public parks, except for emergencies. If you own a Tiny Trailer in Hawaii, you can get property insurance from a rental insurance company because regular Tiny Homeowner policies don't offer much protection for property.

The Kauhale Tiny House Community

The Kauhale community in Hawaii has built its first Tiny Home Community with the help of the Hawaiian state. The Community has 36 to 40 small homes, each for a single family, and a 96 sq. ft. school for children. 

The Tiny Homes were built for people who are homeless or struggling financially, especially after a statewide prohibition on simultaneous evictions. The unused land was given to the Hawaiian Housing Authority to build 100 sq. ft. Tiny Homes, and each house cost $35,000 to build. In the future, all homes will have solar energy for electricity and air conditioning.

Additionally, a 2,000 sq. ft. ex-navy warehouse will be turned into a communal area with a kitchen and bathroom for the Kauhal community. Home Air Hawaii, in collaboration with Twinkle Borge and some of the Kalaeloa builders, is responsible for expanding the Kauhal Community. They plan to build 200 more Tiny Homes.

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