The Tiny house Blog

New Jersey Tiny Home Rules & Regulations

Updated on:
July 31, 2023
new jersey tiny house rules and regulations

Are you thinking of downsizing or going tiny? You are not alone. More people prefer to live simply in smaller places, causing the tiny house movement to spread throughout the country.

While tiny houses are permitted in New Jersey, regulations vary based on different jurisdictions. Therefore, if you want to buy or build a tiny house in New Jersey, you must conduct thorough research to help you navigate the legal system while deciding where to put it.

In this article, we'll walk you through the rules and regulations for tiny homes in New Jersey. 

Read on to ensure you're on the right side of tiny house laws.

Let’s dive right in!

Are tiny houses legal in New Jersey?

Tiny homes are legal in New Jersey.  The state has adopted Appendix Q from the International Residential Code (IRC) as its minimal standard for tiny houses. 

Certified local jurisdictions can adopt the same minimal specifications as a part of their state's building code. 

Appendix Q specifies minimum square footage requirements and specifications for various components of a small house, such as the ceiling height, emergency exit, loft area, multiple rooms, stairways, and more.

What kind of tiny houses are permitted in New Jersey?

New Jersey allows different types of tiny homes, especially those custom-built or manufactured homes set on permanent foundations. 

Are tiny houses on foundations permitted in New Jersey?

New Jersey permits tiny houses on foundations. The state abides by the Appendix Q of the 2018 International Residential Code, like many other states that are keeping up with the current tiny home trends. 

Appendix Q covers tiny homes used as single-family homes. It relaxes certain code standards that apply to dwellings that are 400 square feet or less.

Are Tiny Houses on Wheels permitted in New Jersey?

The State of New Jersey classifies tiny homes on wheels as recreational vehicles or mobile homes. This means that your tiny house on wheels must abide by New Jersey RV laws in order to be accepted.

A mobile home is a type of housing constructed on a permanent chassis and intended to be utilized as a residence when linked to utilities. 

What does a tiny house need to be up to New Jersey building codes?

New Jersey building codes
View the ALA KÖL, a turnkey tiny house on wheels

New Jersey building code requirements can change depending on how a building is classified and its intended purpose. Here are some broad guidelines for tiny homes that will satisfy New Jersey building codes:

Rules for permanent structures

The New Jersey building codes that apply to traditional homes also apply to tiny houses that are meant to be permanently used as primary dwellings and built on a foundation. 

Some of the laws worth highlighting include the following:

  • When building tiny homes, it is important to ensure that the ceiling height in the living area and hallways is no less than 6 feet 8 inches. 
  • For bathrooms, commode rooms, and kitchens, the ceiling height should be no less than 6 feet 4 inches.
  • Ceilings in lofts may be lower than 6 feet 8 inches.
  • The floor area of a loft must be at least 35 square feet, and no horizontal dimension may be less than 5 feet.
  • The open side of the lofts must have loft guards.
  • Loft guards must be at least 36 inches tall or half the clear height from the floor to the ceiling, whichever is less.
  • The One-and-Two-Family Dwelling Building Code's Section R310's criteria for emergency escape and rescue openings must be met by tiny homes. 
  • Egress roof access windows in lofts used as bedrooms must be assessed to comply with Section R310's specifications. 

Rules for temporary tiny houses

Tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) are often referred to as RVs or temporary housing. As a result, the rules for THOWs in New Jersey can be more like RV rules.

A mobile home in New Jersey must be titled within ten days of purchase to avoid penalties. 

In general, titling a mobile home is similar to titling a vehicle, except mobile homes are exempt from inspection and registration. 

In certain situations, sales tax does not apply to pre-owned mobile homes. 

Visit a motor vehicle agency with the following required documents to get a title for a new or old mobile home: 

  • Acceptable identification documentation
  • Original Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) or title that has been correctly filled out and signed
  • If the vehicle is financed, you must give the lien holder's address and Entity Identification Number (formerly corp code). The lien holder will receive the original title
  • $60 or $85, depending on if the car is financed

Rules for transitional structures

The specifications for transitional structures in New Jersey, which are used for construction or other particular purposes, may vary. Typically, they follow safety regulations, have a defined end-of-use plan, and may require you to get building permits. 

It's also essential to abide by environmental standards and zoning legislation. Consult local authorities to ascertain your particular use case's precise laws and guidelines.

Read also: Tiny Home Living Made Easy: How Self Storage Can Maximize Your Space and Simplify Your Life.

What New Jersey counties allow tiny houses?

New Jersey tiny house
Check out the Vista Boho, a tiny house constructed by the reputed construction firm Escape Tiny Homes.

Every city and town has its own zoning laws and building codes. It is, therefore, best to contact your local planning and zoning commission. 

Tenafly, for example, has regulations for parking mobile homes.

Recreational vehicles may be parked as follows in all residential zones or on non-conforming residential properties:

  • Inside a confined structure.
  • If permitted by the Board of Adjustment per N.J.S.A. 40:55-D-(c), in a side yard.
  • It must fit in the designated rear yard and be no longer than thirty-one feet (31′) in length and nine and a half feet (9.5′) in height.
  • Its distance from the main building on the property is three feet (3′).
  • It is hidden from view from neighboring lots and roadways by a sturdy structure that is compliant with Borough fence rules and is no taller than six feet (6′).

You can also build a tiny house in: 

  • Trenton
  • Woodbury 
  • Surf City 
  • Gloucester City
  • Union City
  • Cape May
  • Plainfield

Can you permanently live in a tiny house in New Jersey?

Tiny house in New Jersey
Check out this WAUHAUS, a beautiful modern cabin

New Jersey allows you to live permanently in a tiny home if you meet prescribed local laws and Appendix Q requirements! 

Living in a tiny house has numerous advantages, including lowering maintenance and utility expenses, reducing environmental impact, and simplifying life. 

However, living in a tiny house full-time does present certain difficulties, including space constraints and a lack of privacy.

Therefore, research and prepare in advance if you're thinking about moving into a tiny house permanently in New Jersey.

How tiny can a house be in New Jersey?

Your tiny house can be as small as you like because there is no minimum size requirement for a house in New Jersey. According to state regulations, tiny homes are residential buildings with 400 square feet or less floor space, excluding lofts. 

The only prerequisite is that at least one space can function as a living room, kitchen, or bedroom. 

Additionally, if city water and sewer lines are accessible, you must also connect to them; otherwise, you must establish your septic system.

Tiny homes in the 300–400 square foot range offer a more comfortable living environment. 

They provide you with more space for extras and customization. These compact homes may have a living area, a more practical kitchen, a complete bathroom, and separate sleeping quarters. 

Small families or single people who prefer more room and comfort can use them more easily. 

Where can I build a tiny house in New Jersey?

building a tiny house in New Jersey
Check out the Cultivated, a tiny home made from non-toxic, no-VOC materials

ADUs, RV parks, and tiny house communities are just a few of the alternatives for where to build a tiny house in New Jersey. 

However, there are some locations where you cannot erect tiny homes according to each town's building regulations. 

Additionally, you must connect your tiny house to the public water and sewer systems in most New Jersey areas. You must, therefore, weigh the expense of doing so.

Do I have to pay property taxes for my tiny house?
Different jurisdictions in New Jersey may have different property tax obligations, depending on the classification of the tiny house. Tiny houses on wheels may be subject to personal property taxes, just like RVs. 

In fact, adding a tiny house as an ADU will probably raise the property value, making them subject to property tax.

Tiny houses built on foundations could also be subject to local property taxes due to their classification as real property. 

For further information on the unique tax implications of your tiny house, it is essential to speak with your local tax authorities.

Where can I park a tiny house on wheels in New Jersey?

The different zoning and land use rules in New Jersey can make it challenging to find a location to park a tiny home on wheels (THOW).

But here are a few viable solutions to consider:


Some regions in New Jersey have embraced the tiny house movement and built communities of tiny houses or RV parks specifically made to house THOWs. 

It is simpler to legally park your THOW in these neighborhoods because the zoning and permits for tiny homes are frequently pre-approved.

RV parks and campgrounds

Some RV parks and campgrounds in New Jersey might let THOWs stay there permanently or for an extended time. 

Check with specific parks and campgrounds to learn about their policies on THOWs and whether they allow for more extended stays.

Private property

If you have friends or family who own property in New Jersey, you could ask if it would be possible to park your THOW there with their permission. 

Research local zoning laws and any potential restrictions that might be applicable.

Private Property Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Certain municipalities can let you park a THOW there as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) if you own a piece of land with a principal residence.

Farm stays and homestays

Some farms and rural properties in New Jersey enable guests to park their THOW temporarily in exchange for services or rental fees. Make sure you are following all local laws once more.

Mobile home parks

Although most mobile home parks in New Jersey may have size restrictions that allow THOWs, some are primarily tailored toward larger manufactured homes.

Before parking your THOW in New Jersey, confirming the most recent information with local authorities or property owners is essential.  

This is because restrictions are subject to change. 

To further assist you in navigating the procedure and ensure compliance with all relevant rules, consider consulting with experts that have zoning or tiny home living experience.

Can I build and put a tiny house in my backyard in New Jersey?

If you have the room and the zoning permits it, you can put your tiny house in your backyard. You must contact your local municipality to find out the requirements for putting a tiny house on your land.

While some cities and municipalities permit them as auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs), others have more stringent rules. 

Additionally, you must ensure that the tiny house fits within your yard's dimensions and adheres to all setback regulations.

How much does it cost to build a Tiny House in New Jersey?

A little house in New Jersey costs an average of $23,000 to build. Construction costs for small homes typically range between $15,000 and $30,000.

But the good news is that you can build a high-quality tiny home for as little as $10,000 if you are willing to do the work yourself or know where to find good deals on materials.

You may also like: Tiny Homes Between $20-40k.

Are there tiny home communities in New Jersey?

There are a few tiny house communities in New Jersey. The first and most well-known was established in 2015 and is called Tabor Village in Goshen. 

Currently, there are roughly 20 homes on the property, and more are planned.

Locals have the chance to work in the soil and raise their own food because the neighborhood is situated on a real farm. 

There are larger public areas, including a kitchen, dining room, workshop, and tiny houses. 

There is a second neighborhood of tiny homes named Cedar Glen Lakes.

Why are New Jersey Residents exploring Tiny Homes & Park Model Homes?

New Jersey is suffering from housing affordability and availability. These problems play a big part in why so many locals consider tiny homes less expensive.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual Out of Reach study in New Jersey, housing expenses are out of control.

Workers in the Garden State need to make $33.50 per hour, significantly more than the average renter's pay of $24.40, to afford the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment.

Many towns and localities in the State now view tiny homes and auxiliary dwelling units as one of the most effective ways to reduce homelessness and the shortage of affordable housing. 

Therefore, now is a better time to build your little house.

One thing is certain in light of the profound changes in our way of life over the past few years: people cherish their time and loved ones more than ever. 

Living in a tiny house gives residents the most freedom regarding how and with whom to spend their days.

There are numerous reasons why tiny homes are becoming more popular. First, living in a space that is only 10% the size of a brand-new house immediately simplifies life. 

Homeowners have more time and money to do other enjoyable activities like play games, plant a garden, engage in a hobby, relax, entertain, and explore their surroundings since they have less space to clean, heat, cool, and maintain. 

Moreover, tiny houses have the following features:

  • Energy-efficient materials and equipment, tiny carbon footprints, and environmental friendliness.
  • Affordable, enabling owners to improve and give their tiny house a posh feel.
  • Adaptable to each homeowner's unique circumstances.
  • Beautiful in terms of aesthetics, with complex designs and arrangements.
  • Mobile so that residents can travel and take their residences with them.

Read also: The Essential Guide to Your Tiny Home Improvement.

Takeaway: Learn the key tiny house rules in New Jersey before moving into one

Tiny houses are legal in New Jersey. In order to create a foundational framework for tiny house rules in the State, the State abides by the Appendix Q of the 2018 International Residential Code. 

The regulations have been included in the zoning laws and existing residential structures in numerous cities, including Trenton,

Woodbury, and Surf City.

New Jersey's increasing real estate costs and lack of reasonably priced rental homes have contributed to the small house movement's continuous growth in popularity. 

Despite this, it's essential to take your time and pick places conducive to tiny homes. You can, therefore, construct the little house of your dreams without worrying about future rancor. 

Not sure where to begin with the construction of your tiny house? Get started with this practical guide: How to Build a Tiny House.

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