Indiana is one of America’s few states that have accepted the concept of tiny homes. It has a law called the “Log Cabin Rule,” which allows property owners to build a small home on their land. However, tiny homes on wheels do not fall under this jurisdiction.
Owning a house in today’s world is complex. With the current rise in inflation and the skyrocketing property prices, Americans can expect to spend almost half of their life saving up to buy a roof over their heads.
Americans spend half to one-third of their monthly income on rent, down payments, mortgages, utility bills, taxes, insurance, and property interest. And with the soaring prices of fuel and edibles, living off a fixed salary becomes almost impossible.
The deteriorating circumstances called for people to resort to minimizing their monthly spending on a home larger than they needed. And that gave rise to a concept called “tiny homes.” With the aim to offer affordable alternatives to costly properties, tiny homes can free you from living paycheck to paycheck.
Do you want to save loads of money you are spending on buying a home? Would you like to travel, explore, and use that money for growth instead? If yes, then this article has all the information you need about the rules and regulations in Indiana about tiny homes.
So keep reading.
The rules and regulations for tiny houses in Indiana change with each city, town, and county. So it is better to check each city’s specific laws before building one.
Some states in America have a comprehensive set of laws regarding tiny homes, but Indiana is not one of them. Although the entire state allows them, there are distinct rules in each city, town, and county.
Zoning regulations are the laws on the zones allocated to land. These zones or districts ensure that the land is utilized to its fullest by dividing it into separate parts for different uses. For example, most of the time, the division is based on commercial and residential usage.
According to the zoning regulations in Indiana, tiny homes fall under the Log Cabin Rule. This rule is rooted in the earlier days when the first Americans used their hands to build their homes or cabins for their residency.
According to the Log Cabin Rule, private homes built by individuals for their residency are allowed throughout the state. So even if your county has separate rules for tiny homes, they are allowed if you construct them and use them for your residence.
Indiana is fundamentally a haven for tiny house enthusiasts in America. Most of its counties accept the concept and encourage property owners to build tiny homes independently.
Indiana is an attractive option for building a tiny home for yourself. The scenery is fantastic, and the people are friendly. The state has a rich culture and a strong history.
And on top of that, Indiana is exceptionally tiny home friendly. The Log Cabin Rule allows tiny homes in any county and city of the state. However, places that are the most popular among tiny homeowners are:
Yes, you can. The only condition is that you should build the tiny house on a foundation.
Thanks to the Log Cabin Rule in Indiana, you can build a tiny home and live in it for however long you wish.
Nonetheless, there is one condition. You should build the house on a solid, immovable foundation to qualify as a log cabin. And then you can live in it full time.
However, if you want to construct a tiny house on wheels (THOW), the law classifies it as an RV. You cannot live full-time in an RV, or a THOW, so use it only for recreational or temporary residence.
According to the Indiana Residential Codes, the ceilings of a tiny home’s habitable space must be no less than 6 feet. The loft or the living room should have a minimum horizontal floor space of 5 feet (3.25 square meters).
Indiana is very flexible when it comes to tiny houses. It allows you to build them throughout the state and live in them however you wish.
Yet, the laws categorize different types of tiny homes into different categories. There are permanent, temporary, and transitional homes, and they are all run by distinct rules. Always check with your municipal administration to verify these rules for the type of structure you intend to build.
The law is most flexible regarding structures built on permanent foundations. You can make them on your property and use them for recreation, work, or residency. Unlike many other American states, Indiana law permits you to live in them full-time.
Nonetheless, you will still have to abide by the local building codes. They state the minimum covered area you require, a minimum height of ceilings, safety measures, fire precautions, number of windows, doors, staircase dimensions, bathroom, etc. You will also need to check the rules whether you can live off-grid or not.
On the other hand, if you choose a permanent structure, you will have to compromise on mobility. Fixed homes are not moveable and cannot satisfy a nomad lifestyle if that’s what you are after.
Tiny houses on wheels or THOW are a perfect solution for people looking for a place to live but do not own land. You can build one on the back of a trailer, attach it to your truck, and move around all you want.
They are cheaper to build than the ones with a fixed foundation. Plus, since they are almost always off-grid, you do not have to pay for the utilities.
But there’s a catch. Since THOWs fall under the category of RVs, the law does not allow you to live permanently in them. You cannot also park them in the same spot for more than two weeks a year.
Plus, you will need proper inspection and documentation to get it approved from RVIA and follow the rules set by the American National Safety Institute standards 119.2. Also, THOWs are not allowed in many RV parks.
Transitional structures are the THOWs you can dismantle from your trailer and mount on a foundation. The law is yet to catch up on these structures and has no clear instructions for them.
If you own or intend to own a tiny transitional home, you should check with your municipal authorities for the rules you need to abide by. A few states allow using these structures as an office or a studio but not for long-term living.
Read more about securing your THOW on the trailer here.
Indiana is an ideal place to live in a tiny house. The rules are more flexible than anywhere in the country, and several counties and parks offer a safe community for minimalists.
The best places to build a tiny house in Indiana are:
Owners of tiny homes do not have to pay taxes for their downsized living. However, if your tiny house is on wheels, you will have to pay its parking fee.
Since tiny homes do not fall under good homes, the law exempts you from paying property tax for them. It is especially true if your tiny house is on wheels and you do not own a property for it.
However, depending on where you park, you may have to pay a parking fee for your THOW, which is still considerably less than property tax. Hence, living in a tiny home cuts the cost even more.
RV parks and campgrounds are the best places to park your tiny home. However, the law implies that you do not park at the same spot for too long.
RV parks are your best bet for parking a tiny home in Indiana. Several websites list garages and farms where you can park your tiny house for a few days. But they come with no utilities.
A few places allow you to put your tiny home in your backyard. But many don’t. Always check with the local authorities to confirm.
Indiana has quite a few communities supporting the minimalistic way of living. You can search online and join groups where you can get access to these communities that offer volunteering opportunities and long-term residence.
Two such communities are:
This is a small community in Bloomington, Indiana. It is famous for its green approach and for giving back to nature. It is situated in a suburban neighborhood of a college town and consistently participates in planting activities, green retrofitting, solar greenhouses, and plantations for medicines and food.
Also a small non-profit space that accommodates people willing to live an intentional life, Sage Valley was founded in 2016 and is committed to using greener alternatives. Solar resources, organic farming, and water catchment systems prevail there.
Tiny living is a fantastic way to live a more meaningful life that cuts back on expenses and usage of the earth’s resources.
Indiana is an excellent place to start a minimalistic lifestyle full of places welcoming tiny dwellers. However, you will need to abide by a set of rules to live peacefully.
Learn more about the perks and conditions of living in tiny homes here.
Find answers — straight from the author — for the most common questions about this article.