Are you planning to build a tiny home in Nevada?
You won't be the only one. Tiny homes are increasingly becoming popular in Nevada even though the state has yet to issue laws and guidelines.
Nevertheless, for you to own a tiny home, residents must obey local laws, and this includes getting a building permit before you begin constructing your manufactured home.
Generally, for a home to qualify as a Tiny house in the US, the home has to be under 600 square feet. And in most areas in Nevada, a requirement to meet to get a building permit for your Tiny House is to have at least 200 square feet of living space.
This article is for you if you want to set up a tiny house in Nevada. We will walk you through the laws, codes, and regulations governing owning a Tiny home in Nevada.
Nevada is very receptive to tiny homes, but residents must observe local laws. On the 21st of February 2021, the State of Nevada passed Ordinance SB150-N Act, requiring a county or city governing body to approve tiny houses in a specific zoning district.
No state law governs tiny houses on foundation, and Nevada has not yet enacted Appendix Q for tiny houses.
Nevertheless, it is essential to adhere to Nevada's standard housing laws if you plan to build a tiny home.
The easiest way to determine what is specifically legal when building your tiny house is to contact your local authorities.
Check out the comprehensive tiny home plans that comply with your state's regulations.
The State of Nevada categorized tiny houses on wheels as recreational vehicles. This indicates that for your tiny house on wheels to be approved, it must abide by Nevada's RV laws.
But what do Nevada's RV laws entail?
According to Nevada law, a recreational vehicle, travel trailer, or camping vehicle is any vehicle with a body width of no more than 8 feet and an overall length of no more than 32 feet that is used for travel, vacation, or recreational purposes and is occupied for no more than 30 days in any one location.
This law may seem discouraging to those who want to live permanently in a tiny house on wheels. However, some methods exist to overcome this rule, especially in Nevada's more rural areas.
Call or email your local jurisdiction to find out what is expressly allowed.
Off-grid living is prohibited by law in many areas of Nevada due to regulations requiring you to use the public water system or connect to the electric grid.
In rural areas of the state, you have a considerably higher chance of being allowed to live off the grid legally. But you might need to use bulk water delivery services in these parts of Nevada.
Nevada's laws on living in manufactured homes, particularly tiny homes, are favorable. Almost all zones typically permit them as accessory dwellings.
If your tiny home is attached to a permanent foundation and connected to the utilities, it will be regarded as a "real" home.
But if the manufactured home does not qualify as a real home, it will be treated as personal property and subject to taxation.
Nevada is more tolerant of those who want to live in mobile homes when compared to other states. Mobile homes are commonly allowed in rural open land, residential agriculture districts, and manufactured home residential districts.
As much as the state of Nevada accommodates living in a mobile home, it typically does not permit using a mobile home as an additional residence on your property.
However, converting a mobile home into a permanent residence zone that permits single-family dwellings is possible.
Local zoning laws apply to all parts of Nevada, even in the most distant rural areas. And what you are legally permitted to do on your property is ultimately determined by these zoning regulations.
The most accommodating zones are typically rural agricultural districts, albeit you might need to have at least 40 acres per dwelling unit.
In areas like Washoe County, Clark County, and other populated areas of Nevada, the zoning regulations are very tight.
For instance, Clark County has rules governing the number of vehicles you can keep on your site, the number of additional dwellings you can have, and even whether you can construct a greenhouse.
Furthermore, if you plan to keep livestock or other farm animals, you will need a larger piece of land and possibly still be limited in the number of animals you are allowed to keep.
In Nevada, each county is free to amend the statewide building laws to meet the demands of their specific demographic. Regarding its building laws, the state of Nevada's counties enjoys a lot of leeways.
Nevada county allows tiny homes. However, various zoning laws and regulations prevent people living in tiny homes from establishing a home anywhere.
Nevertheless, areas like Henderson and Las Vegas have a lot of tiny houses, despite these laws.
In Clark County, no laws or ordinances specifically address tiny homes, and the residential building and zoning regulations are flexible enough to permit the construction of tiny homes.
However, it is essential to note that they are not very Tiny house Friendly!
Generally, residential building and zoning regulations are pretty lenient, so it's easy to construct a tiny house lawfully. But before constructing a tiny house in the Las Vegas area, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations.
For example, When looking at Clark County code requirements, it makes no specific mention of tiny homes.
At the same time, there are ways to get past some of the restrictions Nevada and Clark County have placed generally on dwellings.
Even while the laws in Nevada and the state are very tolerant of tiny homes, there are municipal laws that are more stringent.
For instance, in Clark County, if a structure measures more than 200 square feet in area, it is categorized as a shed and requires a building permit.
In addition, if a unit has a kitchen or other cookery amenities, it cannot be classified as an accessory dwelling unit.
There are several locations in Las Vegas people can build tiny houses. Along with the community mentioned above, homeowners can also construct a tiny house on their property, a larger home's backyard, or even an RV park.
There are no zoning restrictions that need to be considered. However, you will need to own land and obtain a building permit.
Here are some points to note about building a tiny house in Las Vegas:
When it came to solar energy, Nevada used to have poor regulations. There were no net metering rates, and consumers connected to the grid had to pay extra costs. These laws were amended after the Renewable Energy Bill of Rights was passed in 2017.
According to a new law, Nevada residents now have the freedom to generate and store renewable electricity on their property. The law also specifies net metering rates for premises connected to the grid and prohibits utility providers from levying extra costs on solar consumers.
The law primarily deals with grid-connected solar energy systems. In places where electric utilities are accessible, obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy for an off-grid residence could be difficult.
In addition, the approval procedure for energy systems that are not connected to the grid can be more complex than with grid-tied systems in some places.
Nevada has severe restrictions regarding off-grid water, which is not surprising given that it is the driest state in America. The most significant impediment to off-grid life is legislation forcing you to connect to the municipal water system if one is available.
Also, water rights are costly and challenging to obtain in Nevada. There are even limitations on how rainwater collection is done.
In Nevada, both surface water and groundwater are public property. For instance, If you discover unclaimed water in Nevada, you must apply for a permit from the state engineer to use it.
Permission is granted based on the rule of priority (first in time, first in the right), meaning that whoever claims the water first gets to use it.
But to retain water right, you must put it to good use.
Typically, domestic wells are exempt from this requirement.
In Nevada, water wells must be drilled by licensed well drillers, and the driller must submit drilling logs to the state engineer.
According to the law, you can only drill a well on your property if there is no nearby public water source. If permitted, you can drill a household well without a permit if you don't utilize more than 1,800 gallons daily.
Remember that a domestic well is defined as a water source that supplies a single-family residence. While wells that provide water to two or more households are referred to as "quasi-municipal wells" and require approval.
Nevada water law typically has a few exceptions, for instance, if the second residence is an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the same property.
Although it varies by county, most rural and single-family residential zoning permits accessory houses.
If your well is classified as a quasi-municipal well, you will need to install a meter and provide readings of all the water pumped from the well.
Before a well is linked to new homes, new wells must undergo contamination testing. However, there are no obligations for continued water quality checks on existing wells.
Before 2017, Nevada's laws made it unlawful to collect rainwater. Following that, the state modified its legal framework to permit rainwater collection only from the roofs of single-family residences and for non-potable uses.
For instance, building a platform just for collecting rainwater would be prohibited.
Although certain counties may have regulations about where you can store rain barrels or may require licenses for certain tanks, there are no restrictions on how much rainwater you are permitted to collect.
But, if you wish to put in an underground rainwater reservoir, you'll probably need a building permit.
In Nevada, digging a small pond or other water storage area on your property is acceptable. However, the state applies the "20/20" rule to assess whether you require a permit.
A permit is required if fifty percent of a 50-acre-foot reservoir is below natural grade and the other half (25 acre-feet) is above it.
If the entire impoundment is below natural grade, but there exists a 2-foot berm around a pond with a surface area of 10 acres, there is a possibility to store 2 feet x 10 acres = 20 acre-feet of water, thus necessitating a permit.
Before the 20th century, most of Nevada's surface water was appropriated. Hence, there is no chance you will be granted permission to use surface water in the state due to the prior appropriation rule.
So, without a water rights permit, it is against the law to use surface water in any way. The penalties for using water illegally can be severe: up to $10,000 per day for each infraction.
Living in a tiny house community might transform your life and allow you to interact with people who share your viewpoints.
It facilitates personal development, creates a stronger sense of accountability and community with others, and offers you access to shared resources.
Let's take a quick look at some of these communities of tiny homes in Nevada.
The Dancing River Community is a planned living community that is presently made up of 11 adults and two kids. Each residence has a metal roof, operable skylights for passive cooling, an enormous loft area supported by tree trunks, super insulation, solar-assisted radiant heat, and a passive solar design.
This planned living community also features a shared house that includes four rooms. The largest is a multipurpose room for dance, yoga, classroom, community functions, and indoor events.
The lounge includes a library, mailbox, and entertainment space. The guest room is located in the southwest corner next to the wheelchair-accessible bathroom with a shower.
Other common areas include pathways, a recycling facility, a tool room, an amphitheater, and a covered terrace area.
Llamalopolis Village, commonly called the "Airstream Park" by locals in Las Vegas, is a tiny house on wheels and Airstream community built by Tony Hsieh. It is situated in the Fremont East neighborhood of downtown Las Vegas.
Tony, the founder of Zappos, was motivated to transform the neighborhood's outdated RV park into a tiny home community that the entire Las Vegas neighborhood could enjoy.
He built his tiny house town with a total of 33 Tumbleweed Tiny Homes and Airstream homes.
As he began the project, Tony included various unique aesthetic elements. The llama-adorned entrance that welcomes you into the community gives the village its name, Llamalopolis.
An alpaca pin, a tunnel of sparkling lights leading to a shared living room, and a stage for community performances and talent shows are some other intriguing oddities in the village.
The community is enclosed by concrete walls measuring five feet high. The residents also share common facilities, including a kitchen, indoor office/lounge, and laundry room.
Recently, the city of Llamalopolis declared the goal of utilizing net zero energy and living in other sustainable ways.
Tiny living involves more than only the size of the home. It includes sustainability, off-grid living, homesteading, minimalism, and other elements.
Let's look into a few of these Nevada groups that highlight what it really means to be a part of the tiny homes community movement.
If you are a homesteader in northern Nevada, there is a Facebook community called Northern Nevada Homesteaders.
Members of the page are encouraged to submit queries, share personal narratives, and advertise equipment, produce, or livestock for sale.
Members also use the group to discuss topics including finding land in Nevada, keeping hens, going off the grid, and other issues.
For people in Nevada interested in the tiny home movement in the Vegas area, there is a Facebook group called the Las Vegas Nevada Tiny House Tribe. The group is open to anyone interested in tiny houses or simple living in Las Vegas.
The Minimalists established the Las Vegas Minimalist Meetup group so local minimalist enthusiasts can meet in person and discuss various subjects. Anyone in the area is welcome to drop by and receive guidance on how to lead a minimalist lifestyle.
Although laws and guidelines have yet to be issued specifically for owning Tiny houses in the state of Nevada, still, it is a very welcoming location for anyone looking to live in a tiny home.
With Tiny house communities like Dancing River Community and Llamalopolis Village built by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, Tiny house enthusiasts can quickly find a community to join.
And with Tiny Living Social Groups such as Northern Nevada homesteaders, Las Vegas Nevada Tiny House Tribe, and Las Vegas Minimalist Meetup Group, you can always get guidance and help with questions regarding all things tiny homes.
We hope that with this article, you now have a better understanding of Nevada's Tiny Home Rules and Regulations.
If you are interested in living a minimalist life, you should learn more about making the most out of your tiny house.
We have everything related to tiny house living covered in our database and community, including step-by-step instructions on how to set up your home, online communities, and details on state restrictions.
Find answers — straight from the author — for the most common questions about this article.