The Tiny house Blog

Tiny House Regulations in Utah (Complete Guide)

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
Tiny House in Utah

Utah still needs to establish or acknowledge a statewide code regulating tiny houses. Tiny home regulations differ from town to town. Because of this, tiny houses are subject to the same zoning and building regulations as traditional dwellings.  

Tiny homes are becoming an attractive option to many people in Utah. The trend has become more popular now that the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in Utah has increased to $1,200 per month.

However, the question of whether Utah is a tiny house-friendly state arises, given that tiny houses are illegal in many regions. 

Before joining the tiny home movement in Utah, you must know the laws and regulations.

We've put together this useful guide on Utah's tiny house laws to help you decide if a tiny house is a suitable choice for you. 

Let’s dive right in!

Are tiny houses legal in Utah?

Yes, tiny homes are legal in Utah. However, the lack of statewide rules makes living in a tiny home full-time in Utah a little more challenging. For instance, depending on where you live, you might have to pay a lot of money for a tiny house on wheels to be used permanently.

This can happen if your municipality classifies your tiny house on wheels as a recreational vehicle. Charges like this result from the fact that Utah's regulations on where and how long recreational vehicles may be parked are quite strict. Since your tiny house on wheels is considered an RV under Utah law, these regulations also apply to it.

On the other hand, not all counties classify mobile tiny homes as recreational vehicles. It would be much simpler to live in your tiny home full-time if some cities and counties chose to recognize tiny homes on wheels as homes!

Utah's tiny home rules and regulations

Some cities and counties have developed their own rules that expressly cater to the preferred size and characteristics of tiny homes.

Rules for permanent structures

Tiny houses on foundation, or tiny permanent homes, are another name for them (THOF). These are little homes with sturdy foundations.

A tiny dwelling on a foundation is usually subject to fewer regulations. They are, therefore, your best choice if you wish to transition to compact living with fewer onerous laws. 

The fact that these tiny homes have a fixed foundation, however, prevents them from being movable. Therefore, you cannot travel with your THOF attached to your truck.

The IRC foundation criterion must be met by tiny permanent dwellings, though. For instance,

  • All loads should be able to be supported by the foundation and transferred to the supporting soil.
  • The lot must be graded to direct surface runoff to a storm sewer conveyance.

Rules for tiny temporary houses

A tiny temporary home is a dwelling unit with auxiliary housing. It is a tiny house built next to an existing family home.

Most US states refer to them as tiny homes, but you may call them granny cottages or additional dwelling units (ADUs).

Most of the time, zoning regulations forbid tiny homes other than accessory dwelling units or ADUs. 

For instance, Salt Lake City rules permit tiny homes under 400 square feet to be built on a residential property alongside an already-existing full-size home, provided that the tiny home is on a foundation and complies with the city's minimum sanitary standards.

Guest houses are one type of accessory residential unit. Young adults or extended families can use them. It is also possible to rent out your tiny house. 

tiny temporary houses
View this Rook small home on wheels

Rules for transitional structures

A transitional structure is a ready-to-remove or portable shelter. They are used to address the issue of homelessness by offering temporary housing.

Transitional buildings are typically not regarded as legitimate residences. A lot of strict rules apply to transitory structures. However, this is for the benefit of the residents of these homes.

To reside in a temporary structure in Utah, you must confirm all local laws and ordinances. The local building department is the place to get permits. They'll make sure the building complies with all necessary safety standards.

What Utah counties allow tiny houses? 

In Utah, counties have a lot of autonomous authority over the laws and regulations governing construction. Counties in Utah have much control over what is and isn't permitted.

Washington County

Under 300 feet of square footage is the minimum requirement in Washington County. It is permissible to construct tiny dwellings on foundations in your residence so long as you connect them to utilities.

Additionally, tiny houses on wheels aren't allowed to be occupied full-time because they are park model recreational vehicles. Washington County's Ordinance 2016-1069-O covers all these rules.

Wasatch County

Things can be tricky for people who desire to live in a little house in Wasatch County, Utah. Like many others in Utah, Wasatch County doesn’t have specific rules for tiny houses, so those who want to build such a structure in this county have to check local zoning regulations.

Salt Lake City

Ordinances in Salt Lake County, Utah, permit tiny homes under 400 square feet to be built on a residential lot alongside a full-sized home as long as the tiny home is on a foundation and meets basic sanitation requirements. This is fantastic news for anyone looking to occupy a little home close to Salt Lake County permanently.

Codes for building tiny houses in major Utah cities

Certain communities in Utah are free to enact their own laws that either support or contradict those of the corresponding county or the state of Utah. While some Utah cities are more stringent in their rules, others are more tolerant of the tiny house lifestyle.

tiny houses in major Utah cities
View this tiny house in France

Salt Lake City

The capital of Utah, Salt Lake City, has actually adopted its own autonomous ordinance since September 2010. It outlines the rules for tiny dwellings as accessory dwelling units.

In Salt Lake City, auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs) may be up to 650 square feet in size or 50% of the main building's square footage, whichever is greater.

Eagle Mountain City

By drafting an Eagle Mountain City law, the city has modified each of its existing restrictions. This code aids enthusiasts of tiny homes who wish to live there permanently. Eagle Mountain City homeowners may permanently occupy their little mobile home exclusively in tier I residential areas.


The Provo Municipal Council in Provo, Utah, started debating a law permitting extra dwelling units attached to owner-occupied homes in particular residential zones. The ordinance covers the usage of tiny homes as ADUs.

Can you permanently live in a tiny house in Utah?

Building a tiny house on a foundation rather than a tiny house on wheels is probably preferred in Utah. This is not to say that you cannot construct a tiny house on wheels and move about Utah, but doing so will be a little more difficult.

You can permanently live in a tiny house in Utah. Modular houses or tiny homes that fall under the category of manufactured homes serve as permanent residences. However, they must adhere to Utah’s jurisdictions' zoning laws and construction codes

Tiny houses categorized as recreational vehicles are regarded as temporary residences.

To find out more, get in touch with your local Utah municipality. Some cities and counties have developed their own rules that expressly cater to the preferred size and characteristics of tiny homes.

How tiny can a house be in Utah?

The local tiny house regulations in Utah and whether the region complies with International Residential Code (IRC) requirements will determine how small a house can be. 

For a tiny dwelling, IRC requires minimum square footage of 400 feet. In tiny homes, the ceiling height for the living area and hallways must be at least 6 feet 8 inches (2,032 mm). Ceilings in bathrooms, toilet rooms, and kitchens must be at least 6 feet 4 inches high (1,930 mm). 

Beams, girders, ducts, and lighting are just a few examples of obstructions that cannot protrude lower than these minimum ceiling heights.

Additionally, lofts can have ceilings that are no higher than 6 feet 8 inches (2,032 mm).

Where can I build a tiny house in Utah?

Since most communities have zoning rules that forbid tiny homes, finding a spot to build or park your tiny home might be difficult. Tiny homes do not comply with land use and building rules in many cities and counties along the Wasatch Front since they are not defined in the city codes.

Any home, regardless of size, must be built per the zoning district's rules and regulations. According to Washington County, these units are permitted on rural recreational land. Eagle Mountain is the only local government that permits tiny houses on wheels in residential areas.

Without a solid foundation, houses are not permitted in Salt Lake City. In the context of recreational vehicles, anything that moves on wheels is considered to be a movable structure. The City forbids the use of recreational vehicles as residences.

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

Your tiny abode may or may not be subject to property taxes. This depends on the zoning laws in the area where your tiny house is located. It also depends on whether the tiny house is considered a permanent structure in your neighborhood.

You won't likely be required to pay property taxes if your small house is a recreational vehicle on wheels. You'll need to pay property taxes if your tiny house is on a foundation and the zone administrator views it as a principal residence. To be certain, ask the zoning office in your area.

Real estate taxes apply to manufactured and mobile homes attached to your own property.

You must pay annual license fees and the mobile home tax in cases where this is not applicable. Property taxes are only exempt for your mobile home while it is still in the dealer's inventory.

Where can I park a tiny home in Utah? 

In Utah, there are several locations where you can park a tiny house, but it depends on the rules and laws established by the city and county.

You can park your tiny home in Utah in the following places: 

  • Tiny house communities
  • Campgrounds 
  • RV parks
  • Properties owned by interested landowners
  • Rural recreational land

In residential zones, tiny dwellings on foundations are permitted as long as they are connected to utilities.

However, do your homework and adhere to all local zoning laws before constructing your tiny house. That will assist you in staying clear of any future problems.

Are there tiny home communities in Utah?

Utah is home to several intentional communities that encourage sustainability, homesteading, and simple living among their people.

Riverbed Ranch 

250 farmsteads are living in this homesteading community at Riverbed Ranch, Utah, and they all share a self-sufficient way of life. The Utah OSR Land Co-Op is creating the Riverbed Ranch tiny home community as a non-profit land cooperative that aims to boost self-reliance and sustainability.

For about $30,000, the intentional living community provides each family with a 2-acre property for homesteading. Due to funding from a nearby NGO, the town is able to provide this incredibly low pricing.

Wasatch Common Cohousing Community

The Wasatch Common Cohousing Community seeks to strike a balance between the benefits of shared common spaces and continuous relationships with neighbors and the conventional advantages of home ownership. The neighborhood, situated on 4.5 gorgeous acres close to downtown Salt Lake City, comprises 26 clustered townhouses.

The community members cooperate in caring for the land and carrying out daily tasks. A few residences in the neighborhood are rented, but most residents own their homes. 

Wasatch Commons is ten minutes from Salt Lake City's central business district. Internet access, a common house, a garden, a library, a workshop, a fire pit, a gym, and outdoor play areas are all provided as community amenities.

Takeaway: Know the tiny house regulations in Utah before moving in one

The laws governing tiny homes in Utah are left up to the local governments, so they differ from city to city. As a result, before constructing a tiny house in Utah, it's crucial to review the area's zoning regulations and building rules.

You can build your tiny house in Utah based on zoning regulations. The requirements for the house are outlined in the building codes.

Are you looking for inspiration to build your own tiny house? You've come to the right place. is the go-to place for tiny house builders and owners.

Ready to learn more about the advantages of living small? Let us assist you in designing and constructing your tiny house. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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