The Tiny house Blog

South Carolina's Tiny Home Rules and Regulations

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
South Carolina's Tiny Home

Tiny homes have become an increasingly popular housing option in the U.S. in recent years since it offers a unique and more affordable alternative to traditional homes.

South Carolina has its own set of rules and regulations surrounding tiny homes; hence, it is crucial to be familiar with these requirements if you're considering building or living in a tiny home in the state. 

Whether you're a prospective tiny home builder or resident, knowing these ordinances will ensure that you're in compliance and help you avoid any potential issues concerning your tiny home living.

In this blog post, we'll go over the key regulations and guidelines you need to know about when it comes to tiny homes in South Carolina. We will highlight the rules for permanent, temporary, and transitional structures of tiny houses. 

We will also tell you what counties in the state allow tiny homes, where you can build your tiny home, where you can park them, and more.

Let's get started!

South Carolina's tiny home rules and regulations

The State of South Carolina embraced the International Code Council building codes for tiny homes. But building rules and regulations may differ for movable versus stationary dwellings.

Let's take a quick look at them.

Rules for permanent structures

Here are the rules for permanent structures:

  • The tiny home and its foundation must be in compliance with the South Carolina State Residential Code
  • Structures need to be attached to the foundation. (IRC R301.1 and R403.1.6)
  • Buildings and structures must be built to create a system with a seamless load path that satisfies all specifications for moving loads from their point of origin through the load-bearing parts to the foundation.  
  • Tiny homeowners must get authorization from the local authorities. 
  • Tiny homes must meet zoning regulations and municipal demands. 
  • There must be a habitable space for living, sleeping, cooking, and eating. 
  • Habitable rooms, except kitchens, must have at least 70 square feet (IRC R304.1).
  • It must not be less than 7ft in horizontal dimension. 
  • The height of ceilings must be 7 feet for habitable spaces (6 feet, 8 inches for bathrooms). (IRC R305.1). 
  • Resting rooms must have an emergency escape window. (IRC R310.1)
  • Tiny homes must have a toilet, bathtub, or shower with the required space between the fixture and a kitchen area with a sink. (IRC R307.1)
  • Owners should attach the plumbing fixtures to an approved sewage disposal facility. 
  • Tiny homes must have a toilet, bathtub, or shower with the required space between fixtures. (IRC R306.1, R306.2)
  • Hot and cold water must be available. (IRC R306.4)
  • Tiny homes must have an approved heating system. (IRC R303.10) 
  • Smoke alarms must be installed in every bedroom outside and close to the bedrooms. (IRC R314)
  • The building must adhere to current energy conservation requirements (Chapter 4 of the 2009 IECC)
  • The building must be constructed following all other International Residential Code specifications.

Rules for temporary tiny houses

Temporary tiny houses, which are typically considered recreational vehicles (R.V.), have the following rules:

  • Installation and inspection of the electrical supply system are required since they are not permanent dwellings. 
  • A feeder for the electricity supply must be permanently installed. Otherwise, a feed assembly with a maximum of a 30-amp or 50-amp power supply cord with a tightly fastened cap must be used to power the park trailer. 
  • Temporary tiny houses should not have permanent mechanical or plumbing connections. Instead, they must be attached temporarily for safety reasons. 
  • The wheels and axles must always stay attached.

Rules for transitional structures

One reason tiny homes are becoming prevalent is due to the rising housing costs in South Carolina. The following are the rules for transitional structures:

  • The tiny houses must range from 60 to under 1000 square feet in size. 
  • In counties that allow tiny homes, the residents are free to live in transitional structures for as long as they like, but they must abide by the resident rules.

If you want more specific requirements, check with the county's local jurisdiction for more information.

What South Carolina counties allow tiny houses? 

Jojobean tiny home
View Jojobean tiny home by Movable Roots                                   

Although South Carolina tiny house regulations can be complex, and local municipalities often debate its advantages, the state generally accepts tiny homes as a sustainable, eco-friendly housing solution.

Here are some of the South Carolina counties that allow tiny houses:

  • Aiken County
  • Horry County
  • Beaufort SC
  • Greenwood County
  • Spartanburg County, SC

Other cities that allow tiny houses include:

  • City of West Columbia, South Carolina
  • Charleston

Can you permanently live in a tiny house in South Carolina?

Tiny house in South Carolina
View Eclipse tiny home                                           

It is possible to permanently live in a tiny house in South Carolina, although there may be some legal and practical considerations to keep in mind.

In South Carolina, the legality of tiny houses can vary depending on where they are located and how they are used. 

For example, tiny houses on wheels need to be built with durability in mind. In contrast, tiny houses on foundations must be constructed following international building codes to be considered a permanent housing solution.

How tiny can a house be in South Carolina?

Tiny Home
 View Ellie by Teacup Tiny Homes                                        

There is no specific minimum size for tiny houses in South Carolina. The dimension of a tiny house can range from 60 to 400 square feet when built to travel with and fastened to a vehicle. 

If you want to construct a tiny house with a foundation, the size is more flexible and may range from 60 to the typical 500 to less than 1000 square feet. 

Basically, the size of a tiny home will differ depending on the needs and preferences of the homeowner and from county to county, as there are local zoning laws or building codes that set minimum size requirements for houses in a particular area.

Some localities may require that a house have a certain number of square feet of living space or meet specific dimensions (such as a minimum width or height). 

For example, in Horry County, tiny homes are specified as detached single-family homes less than 750 square feet in size and not above 25 feet in height and may be included in multi-residential districts throughout the county. 

As mentioned, requirements can vary depending on the location and purpose of the house and other factors, like the number of people living in it.

To find out more about the size requirements for houses in a specific area of South Carolina, you can check with the local municipality where you plan to start your tiny home living.

 Where can I build a tiny house in South Carolina?

South Carolina's tiny house
 View FULTON 600 by Wishbone Tiny Homes                     

South Carolina's tiny house laws are among the most lenient in the U.S. governing tiny house builders. Tiny homes are accepted in many places in South Carolina, including Aiken County, Horry County, Beaufort, Greenwood County, Spartanburg County, the City of West Columbia, and Charleston.

However, municipal definitions and laws governing where they are permitted differ from county to county and from city to city.

There are a few options for building a tiny house in South Carolina. You can build a tiny home on your property. Another option is to join a tiny house community such as the Lake Walk Community in Greer, South Carolina.

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

Tiny House On Wheels
 View Peggy Tiny House On Wheels                                   

Every state has its own laws governing property taxes and other related taxes. The regulations are very explicit about what sorts of tiny houses are liable to specific taxes. 

Tiny houses are typically exempt from property taxes. However, there are subtle differences from state to state, county to county, and city to city. 

For instance, in some states, tiny houses on wheels are considered recreational vehicles, so you have to pay property taxes, while in others, they are not taxed except if it sits on a permanent foundation.

With that said, the best way you can be sure whether or not you are liable for a personal property tax in South Carolina is by going through your state's specific statutes.

Where can I park a tiny home in South Carolina? 

tiny house on wheels in South Carolina
View The Tiny House                                                  

If you plan to live in your tiny house on wheels in South Carolina, you'll need to find a place to park it where you can legally live. In some South Carolina cities, like Charleston, your tiny house on wheels can be allowed as backyard additional dwelling units (ADUs) if you have a property. Hence, you can also construct a tiny home on your property, keeping in mind that you must follow the state's size and weight requirements for tiny houses on wheels.

With that said, the following are places where you can park a tiny home in South Carolina.

Tiny House Communities

  • Creek Walk Tiny Home Community. 976 Geer Hwy, Travelers Rest, Sc 29690. +1.734.560.1902
  • Lake Walk Tiny Home Community. 2901 N Hwy, 101 Greer, Sc 29651.

Rv Parks & Resorts

  • Little Creek Resort. 1044 White Pine Ln. Townville, Sc 29689. +1.864.420.4868.
  • Oak Park Resort. 208 Ledford Farm Rd. Fair Play, Sc 29643. +1.770.842.4135.
  • Pumpkintown Mountain. 3414 Hwy 11. Pickens, Sc 29671. +1.864.918.3482.
  • Mt Pleasant/Charleston Koa. 3157 Highway 17 North. Mt. Pleasant, Sc 29466. +1.800.562.5796.

Are there tiny home communities in South Carolina?

Noyer Tiny House On Wheels
View Noyer Tiny House On Wheels                                      

There are several tiny home communities in South Carolina that offer an alternative to traditional housing and provide a supportive environment for tiny home living. These communities can offer shared utilities, prime locations, and amenities like outdoor grilling areas, gathering spots, and community gardens

It's worth noting that availability at tiny home communities in South Carolina may vary, and it's a good idea to check with the specific community for more information on availability and pricing.
Here are some of the tiny home communities in South Carolina.

Creek Walk South Carolina Tiny House Community

Creek Walk Community is conveniently located near Greenville and Travelers Rest, South Carolina. It offers tiny homes for rent at $450 per month, which includes WiFi, electricity, water, sewer, trash pickup, maintenance, and property taxes. 

Owners of tiny homes on wheels are welcome to bring their mobile homes to these woodland parking spots. 

There is always something to do in this tiny home community thanks to the walking and cycling pathways, fishing, outdoor BBQ area, fire pits, and the Swamp Rabbit Trail community garden.

Lake Walk Tiny Home Community

Lake Walk Tiny Home Community in Greer offers tiny homes for sale, with prices ranging from $70,000 to $80,000, with lot leasing beginning at $450 per month. 

Greer, South Carolina, is a lovely community with a storied past and a burgeoning cultural arts scene. It is situated in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Numerous factories and manufacturing companies, such as BMW and Michelin North America, are also located there. Lake Walk is an excellent place to live and work if you want a reduced cost of living and improved quality of life. Many outdoor activities are available thanks to the many open spaces, a nature trail, and a communal dock.

West Oaks Village

West Oaks Village is a brand-new tiny home community just minutes from Columbia, South Carolina's main street. It is situated in the center of Columbia.

The tiny homes in the community have one or two bedrooms and are priced between $65,000 and $90,000 with $450 monthly lot fees. There is a dog park and a playground in the community. 

There is something for everyone in Columbia, from a thriving music and arts scene to some of the most educational outdoor excursions you will ever experience.

Takeaway: Learn the key tiny house rules in South Carolina before moving into one

In conclusion, while tiny homes offer a unique and more affordable housing option, it's essential to be familiar with South Carolina's tiny home rules and regulations. 

If you're planning to build or live in a tiny home, remember that the legality of tiny houses can vary depending on where they are located and how they are used. 

Hence, it is essential to understand the specific regulations in the area where you plan to build or park your tiny home. By learning the critical rules and guidelines highlighted in this piece, you can take informed steps to ensure you comply and enjoy the benefits of tiny house living in South Carolina.

Visit Tiny House for more tips and guides concerning everything tiny house living (tiny home setup, online, communities, and details on state restrictions).

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