What Counties in Hawaii Allow Tiny Houses – Rules & Regulations You Need To Consider


You might be wondering, where can I legally put a tiny house in Hawaii before you pack your bags and go to Aloha State? And what guidelines and rules must you adhere to?

This post will discuss the state of tiny houses in Hawaii today and offer advice and resources for those who want to become tiny homeowners. We will assist you in determining the best solutions for your needs, whether to rent a tiny home for a holiday, buy affordable tiny homes for sale, or construct your own tiny house on a foundation.

Tiny House Prices in Hawaii 

Now that you have set sail on your tiny house project, you are probably wondering about pricing options that fit your budget and your tiny living dreams.

Hawaii has far more expensive small houses than other states; they range from $223 to $575 per square foot.

However, we have an option for every living style and budget to help you move one step closer to your living project. Check out tiny houses for sale in Hawaii.

What Counties in Hawaii Allow Tiny Houses?

In Hawaii, the law does not prohibit tiny homes as a form of dwelling. Hawaii’s counties have special regulations allowing small houses on farms as long as they are at least 220 square feet in size and feature a minimum living area, kitchen, and bathroom. Some counties permit tiny homes on wheels as long as they meet specific sizes (between 100 and 400 square feet) and safety requirements.

Hawaii County

Hawaii County has regulations regarding house trailers and mobile homes, including tiny houses on wheels (THOW). All mobile homes follow the county planning department, which lays forth these regulations, stating that Chapter 5A of the County Building Code. According to this rule, a mobile home cannot be kept outside of a licensed mobile home park for more than 30 days at a time.

This limitation can be overcome in a few ways. However, they may be difficult to implement:

  • Get a permit for your land and park your THOW in a mobile home park.
  • Every 29 days, spend one night at a hotel.
  • Every thirty days, shift the home 10 feet.

Maui County

Maui County is another county that has specific rules regarding tiny houses. These particulars acknowledge the various varieties of small dwellings, each constructed uniquely.

As a result, the county establishes distinct guidelines for the two primary categories of small homes: those with wheels and those with foundations.

Regarding permanent tiny homes:

  • Possess a construction permit from the Department of Public Works in Hawaii
  • Be a minimum of 120 square feet overall, excluding the bathroom
  • Possess a minimum of seven feet of ceiling height

Regarding tiny houses on wheels:

  • Not more than 9 feet in width, 14 feet in height, and 45 feet in length.
  • A building permit is not needed if the trailer runs entirely off the grid (with a composting toilet, water collection system, and solar or wind power).
  • A qualified contractor and county permission are needed if the trailer is linked to the county’s power, water, or sewer system.

Tiny House Regulations And Rules In Hawaii

It is essential to check local zoning rules, secure a construction permit, and adhere to setbacks, size limitations, and utility requirements before erecting a small home on a property in Hawaii. Rules from the homeowner’s association can also be relevant; ensure to confirm.

Permanent Structure Rules

Hawaii has strict regulations for tiny houses, treating them as permanent structures rather than temporary dwellings. It means tiny houses in Hawaii are subject to the same building codes and zoning laws as regular-sized homes.

Additionally, there are rules regarding the minimum square footage for a permanent dwelling, which could make it challenging for tiny house enthusiasts to find suitable locations for their homes. These regulations aim to ensure safety and adherence to building standards in Hawaii.

Some building codes and regulations for permanent structures include the following:

  • Maximum height of 13.5 feet and a minimum living area of 70 square feet.
  • Counties have rules on living in compact spaces. For example, special farmhouses must have a living area, a bathroom, and a separate kitchen and be at least 220 square feet in size.
  • Any construction, including tiny houses, needs a building permit and needs to be fixed to a solid base to avoid floating collapse or lateral movement.

Temporary Structure Rules

In Hawaii, temporary structures such as tiny houses are subject to regulations and rules to ensure safety and compliance with building codes. These regulations may include size limitations, zoning restrictions, and permit requirements. Those interested in living in a tiny house in Hawaii should familiarize themselves with these regulations before embarking on their building project.

  • The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation allows tiny homes on wheels to be registered as recreational vehicles (RVs), as they are deemed temporary buildings.
  • They are no taller than 13.5 feet, no wider than 8.5 to 10 feet, and no longer than 40 feet, including the trailer tongue.
  • For stability while towed, these houses reach or above an axle weight rating of 3,500 pounds per axle. Except in cases of emergency, RV-built tiny houses are not permitted to be parked in public parks or other recreational places.

Transitional Structure Rules

The floodplain laws do not specifically permit temporary residential constructions as transitional structures. For a tiny home to be considered a recreational vehicle, it must fulfill the floodplain management regulations for recreational vehicles. It implies that small houses follow tight rules to guarantee safety and adherence to local laws, even if they are transitional buildings.

In Hawaii Where Can I Build A Tiny House?

The location of your tiny house is vital. Select a certified tiny house builder to guide you through the process, manage all the paperwork, and ensure your residence complies with building codes.

Although constructing a tiny house is a big project, it does not need to be stressful if you plan accordingly. The typical places for tiny houses include.

  • RV parks
  • National Parks and campgrounds
  • Tiny house communities
  • Private properties

Tiny House Communities in Hawaii

 Tiny house communities are gaining traction in Hawaii, offering a sustainable and affordable housing option for residents. These communities promote a minimalist lifestyle and a strong sense of community with shared spaces and amenities. With the high cost of living in Hawaii, tiny house communities provide an alternative for those seeking an easy way of life.

Cinderland Eco Village

Nestled amid the lush, verdant terrain of the Big Island is Cinderland, an intentional community living off the grid. The group’s main objectives include permaculture, organic farming, ecology, cultural education, self-sustainability, and interpersonal and physical rehabilitation.

Because living in Cinderland is entirely communal, joining the group means committing to friendship. Options for housing include three acres of farmland and tiny mobile homes, school buses, yurts, tee-pees, domes, treehouses, tents, hammocks, and naturally formed clay or timber buildings.

Kalani Mua Community

The Kalani Mua Center’s missions are to celebrate variety, support communities in Hawaii Island by encouraging abundance, sustainability, and well-being, foster growth experiences for visitors, and honor culture and holy places.

Daily yoga, spa and wellness treatments, art and dance courses, group dinners, permaculture gardening, community seminars, special celebrations and events, and much more are available to residents and visitors.

Tiny House Builders Near me 

Great Lakes Tiny Homes offers multiple tiny house designs with nationwide delivery, eliminating the need to scout for local builders to find your dream home.

Furthermore, Great Lakes Tiny Homes is an RV Industry Association (RVIA) builder. Passionate about the highest manufacturing standards and strict compliance with the building, safety, and regulatory guidelines for compact residences.

Do I Need a Certified Builder? 

Yes, you do. You could consider the DIY approach, but the risks are higher and the results are uncertain.

Working with an RVIA-certified builder, like Great Lakes Tiny Homes, assures you will own a tiny house manufactured according to rules and regulations.

Furthermore, it offers peace of mind because it ensures the materials in your residence are safe, durable, and of top quality.

Other advantages of working with a certified builder include streamlined access to financing options and insurance coverage. Compliance with RVIA standards certifies your tiny house is a safe and habitable environment.


Can You Make a Tiny House in Hawaii Your Main Residence?

Yes, you can make a tiny house your permanent residence in Hawaii. 

However, be mindful of the local rules and regulation variations. The best practice is to check with your local authorities and zoning officials to discover if your tiny house adheres to codes and regulations, including inspections.

Do your homework and work with certified builders to enjoy the perks of a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle in Hawaii.

What Are the Tiny Home Size Restrictions in Hawaii?

While tiny houses of any size can be constructed in Hawaii, several are typically between 100 and 400 square feet. Additionally, people have 40-foot-long and less-than-8-foot-wide Tiny Houses on wheels. No matter where you reside, you can design your own house as you choose.

Is Tiny Home Parking Allowed on Properties or Open Spaces?

For some reason, you decide to park your tiny house on undeveloped ground or the property of friends or relatives. There are a few considerations to make if you want to park your house on someone else’s land:

  • Before parking your house on someone else’s property, be sure you have their permission.
  • Treat their property with respect and don’t take it for granted.
  • Treat the property with the same consideration that you would.
  • Maintain it neat and orderly, and if needed, perform any minor repairs.


Tiny homes are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a more affordable, flexible, and environmentally friendly way of living in Hawaii. This lifestyle choice does come with constraints and difficulties, though. Zoning laws, construction requirements, and utility connections may vary depending on where you plan to place your small house.

Consider the registration and safety standards for small dwellings on wheels. Thus, before you purchase or construct a tiny house in Hawaii, you must thoroughly study and speak with the relevant authorities.

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