The Tiny house Blog

Minnesota's Tiny Home Rules and Regulations

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
​​Minnesota's Tiny Home

The Minnesota State Building Code provides guidelines for constructing tiny houses . The code requires inspection of both the plans and the building itself. Mobile homes also need designated parking spaces before they can be hooked up to utilities.  

You can have two types of tiny homes . A tiny home on a permanent foundation or a tiny home on a chassis. 

If you are looking to set up a Minnesota tiny house, this article is for you. 

We will walk you through the various rules and break down the jargon. You don't have to read huge legal texts.

Let's dive in.

Minnesota's tiny home rules and regulations

A loose definition of Minnesota tiny homes is a structure ranging from 100 - 400 square feet. 

Appendix Q describes rules for constructing houses that can be used for accessory dwelling units. These houses are built on a foundation.

Some of the regulations are as follows:

  • The ceiling height of habitable spaces needs to be at least 6 feet and 8 inches.
  • Bathrooms and kitchens can have a lower ceiling height. However, it still needs to be at least 6 feet 4 inches.
  • Construction obstructions like beams, ducts, or lighting cannot hang too low. They must always be above the minimum ceiling height.
  • Lofts can have a ceiling height of fewer than 6 feet and 8 inches. Also, they need to have an area of at least 35 square feet. All of their horizontal dimensions need to be longer than 5 feet.
  • Loft guards need to be placed on the open side.
  • Loft guards need to be at least 36 inches tall. Alternatively, they can be half the height of the ceiling. Whichever is less would apply.
  • According to Appendix Q, tiny houses must meet the emergency escape and rescue openings in Section R310.
  • Roof access windows need to meet the requirements laid out in Section R310 as well.
  • Windows need to be installed at least 44 inches above the floor of the loft.

You can find some great tiny home plans that comply with your state's various requirements. 

Let's examine how different building codes, zoning codes, and the HUD regulate these structures.

Rules for permanent structures

Prefab Minnesota tiny houses must comply with the requirements laid out in Minnesota Rules Chapter 1360. They need to be built in line with the guidelines of the Minnesota Residential Code. This includes inspections of the plans and the building itself.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry carries out the inspection. It then adds a sticker under the sink to certify that the constructed building has been inspected.

Manufacturers who make prefab tiny houses are limited to three buildings every year.

 If they want to create more tiny houses, they need to be regulated according to the industrialized/modular building rules. These rules can be found in the Minnesota Rules Chapter 1361.

Rules for temporary tiny houses

These buildings need to have IIBC labels of construction on every section of the building. Alternatively, you can have the label on every 600 square feet of enclosed space.

Additionally, a data plate needs to be located on the building. It must have the following information:

  • design loads
  • codes
  • serial numbers
  • label numbers issued by IIBC
  • model designation
  • manufacturing date
  • manufacturer's date and address
  • occupancy details
  • type of construction.
Tiny house modular buildings
"The Clear Creek" tiny house

Tiny houses built as modular buildings must comply with the Minnesota Rules Chapter 1361. They must also follow the Interstate Industrialized Buildings Commission (IIBC)'s guidelines.

Third parties certified by the IIBC inspect the plans and the building to ensure it aligns with the Minnesota Residential Code.

Rules for transitional structures

Tiny houses on wheels are manufactured to comply with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

A "Manufactured home" is the term used for any single-family dwelling that can either be on wheels or site-built

Zoning and building codes require Minnesota tiny houses to be at least 8 feet wide and 40 feet long. When erected, they need to be at least 320 square feet.

The erect design needs to be built on a fixed chassis to support the structure and the foundation. The tiny home needs to be purpose -built for living on or off-site.

When connected to utilities, the project is permitted to have a permanent foundation. But like the IIBC's modular buildings, these buildings also need a data plate. 

The data plate needs to have at least the following information about the tiny homes:

  • design loads
  • codes
  • label numbers
  • serial numbers
  • designation of the model
  • manufacturing date
  • manufacturer's name and address

The house owner has to ensure that the Minnesota tiny houses pass inspections by HUD-certified third parties.

These inspections ensure that the plans and the living conditions are regulated under the Minnesota Residential Code.

What Minnesota counties allow tiny houses? 

Here is a list of counties that allow  tiny houses in the state

  • Minneapolis
  • Saint Paul
  • Duluth
  • St. Cloud
  • Minnetonka
  • Eden Prairie
  • Mankato
  • Edina

Minnesota is a tiny house-friendly area. However, some different rules and regulations govern how you develop tiny homes in that area. 

Therefore, it's best to reach out to your zoning offices in your locality. They will give you more guidelines on constructing houses considered tiny houses.

The countryside generally tends to be more relaxed towards tiny house regulations. That's why it's popular with people looking for affordable housing. 

On the other hand, city centers have a stricter regulation structure that could be more flexible.

Getting the most up-to-date information from your municipality office is best before settling into a permanent foundation with your family.

Can you permanently live in a tiny house in Minnesota?

You can live in a tiny house permanently in Minnesota. However, they must abide by the same standards as any regular house would. The permanent houses are classified as site-built accessory dwelling units (ADUs). 

ADU construction requires the owner to follow the Minnesota Residential Code for regular houses.

Many municipalities support tiny houses. They are seen as an easy-to-maintain option for the elderly and those whose lives are slowly nearing their natural end.

How tiny can a house be in Minnesota?

Site-built tiny homes need to be at least 400 square feet in area. These are homes that are built on a permanent foundation. 

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and other tiny houses on wheels can be slightly smaller than site-built homes. 

They must be at least 40 feet long and 8 feet wide on the road. And when they are erected on site, they need to have an area of at least 320 square feet.

Where can I build a tiny house in Minnesota?

You can build a tiny house anywhere in Minnesota if it follows the building and zoning codes.

However, it must follow a stricter Residential Code if it's in the city. Usually, the countryside offers more lax regulations.

Do I have to pay property taxes for my tiny house?

Minnesota has a personal property tax. As such, you will need to pay taxes on your tiny house.

The tax won't be as high as a traditional home. It would be more similar to something you would pay for an RV or a trailer.

Where can I park a tiny home in Minnesota? 

Parking can be a real pain in Minnesota. There are few places to park tiny mobile homes . But you can usually park them in trailer parks or RV camps.

The State of Minnesota considers tiny houses on wheels as recreational vehicles . This means you must abide by the laws that apply to recreational vehicles (RVs) throughout Minnesota.

A Recreational vehicle is any vehicle that can fold down or telescope. 

The definition also includes chassis-mounted campers and motor homes. Ten trailers and converted buses are also a part of this category of vehicles.

Here are a few rules for recreational vehicles:

  • It cannot be used as the permanent residence for the occupant.
  • It can be used when you are engaged in recreational activities.
  • It needs to be either self-propelled or towed. The vehicle needs to move on the interstate toward recreational activities.

All of these apply to tiny homes on wheels as well. This means that Minnesota needs more parking spots for these mobile homes.

The easiest way to park them would be to find a campsite that allows RVs. Or you can go to a trailer park and put your tiny mobile home there.

You can also place the tiny home in your backyard. But it would be considered an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). This would entail further restrictions on hooking up sewage and water supplies.

Make sure to check with your local municipality office before finding a permanent parking spot for your tiny house.

Are there tiny home communities in Minnesota?

There are several tiny home communities in Minnesota. The Sanctuary Minnesota Village and Avivo Village are the most popular ones.

The Sanctuary Minnesota Village is a countryside oasis. This tiny home community offers people a place to park their mobile homes on a chassis. The minimum lease for living here is six months. 

Avivo Village is more innovative. It's the first community of tiny indoor homes in Minnesota. It's located in Minneapolis. 

You can also become part of other online communities of tiny home enthusiasts . They will have some pretty good tips for you, and it's a great way to make new friends. 

Takeaway

It would help to consider the legalities before setting up a tiny home. You can find these rules in the Minnesota Residential Code.

For any tiny home, the Code requires inspection of both the plans and the building itself. Mobile homes also need designated parking spaces before they can be hooked up to utilities. 

If you want to learn more about tiny homes and how to make the most out of your tiny house, check out Tiny House

We have a database/community for everything about tiny living! You can find step-by-step guides, communities, and information about state regulations.

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