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

Rhode Island

Are you dreaming of simplifying your life and downsizing to a tiny house in the beautiful state of Rhode Island? Before you start planning your minimalist dream home, understand the rules and regulations surrounding tiny houses in the different counties of the state.

From zoning laws to building codes, there are various factors to consider when seeking to settle down in a tiny house. Don’t let the red tape discourage you though, as with the right knowledge and preparation, you can navigate the process smoothly.

So, let’s explore where to buy tiny houses, which counties in Rhode Island are tiny house living, and what regulations you need to keep in mind as you pursue your house dream.

Tiny House Prices in Rhode Island

Once you begin your small house journey, you will know how much you can spend and the best low-cost alternatives for tiny homes.

We offer a solution that satisfies all requirements and budgetary limitations, enabling you to begin your home construction project. Check out the tiny house for sale in RI!

What Counties in Rhode Island Allow Tiny Houses?

Like many other states, Rhode Island is addressing the rising interest in tiny homes as a method to offer more sustainable and affordable housing alternatives. The rules and regulations governing tiny homes in Rhode Island differ by county and municipality, resulting in an assortment of local ordinances that potential small homeowners must traverse.

Narragansett County

Narragansett allows tiny homes with certain restrictions. Although they don’t need a foundation, they still need to adhere to specific height and wind zone guidelines.

  • The structure needs to meet the 127 mph wind zone requirements and be at least 7 feet tall.
  • Every feature of a house needs to ensure that it has no detrimental effects on the environment.
  • Before starting construction, submit two construction plans and three site plans.

Bristol County

In Bristol, mobile tiny houses are not legal because they must be on a foundation. Additionally, the county lacks minimal square footage guidelines.

In general, building inspectors are not necessary if the residences intend to have considerable space between nearby properties. However, if the property is adjacent to other properties, a land planner may be required to certify the property lines.

Tiny House Regulations And Rules In Rhode Island

Like many other states, Rhode Island is adjusting to the rising trend of compact homes. These homes, which get rave reviews for their sustainability and simplicity, must contend with a challenging regulatory landscape.

It is a thorough overview of tiny home laws, which apply to temporary, permanent, and transitional constructions.

Permanent Structure Rules

Tiny houses are subject to the state’s permanent structure rules, which dictate that any dwelling must meet minimum size requirements, have a foundation, and comply with local zoning regulations. These rules ensure that tiny houses follow a certain standard.

  • Tiny homes with fixed foundations need a building permit.
  • As auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs), tiny houses on permanent foundations are subject to state construction rules, which include the International Residential Code (IRC).
  • A small home with a maximum space of 400 square feet is a permanent tiny house.
  • In addition to meeting state construction codes, these dwellings require connection to private systems or public utilities.
  • The need for additional consent will depend on the property size, location, and zoning laws.

Temporary Structure Rules

Rhode Island has regulations in place for tiny houses, including rules for temporary structures. These regulations outline the specific requirements for building and parking tiny houses, ensuring they meet safety and zoning standards. Temporary structure rules also outline the limitations and guidelines for temporarily living in a tiny house.

  • The RI Building Code’s Chapter 31 covers temporary structures as a part of exceptional constructions.
  • Temporary buildings meet regulations for hygienic conditions, light, ventilation, fire safety, and structural strength.
  • The temporary construction permit has a time limit of one year or less.
  • Tiny houses can become temporary accommodations in Rhode Island for no more than 180 days per year.

Transitional Structure Rules

Transitional structures are small houses that can be moved or waiting for a permanent location, and they may have a temporary foundation or be mobile.

  • Guidelines for movable buildings—which may be used as temporary structures—are in Chapter 31 of the Rhode Island Building Code of 2021.
  • While the building code doesn’t specify transitional constructions, regulations for relocatable buildings may apply.
  • Movable foundation tiny homes must be registered and licensed as RVs or mobile homes.
  • The requirements governing RVs and trailers must also apply to tiny homes on wheels.

In Rhode Island, Where Can I Build A Tiny House?

Finding a cozy place to call home is essential. Select a licensed tiny home builder to help you with the labor, handle any paperwork, and guarantee that your home complies with building requirements.

Although it takes a lot of work, building a tiny house doesn’t have to be tough if done well. The following places are commonly host to tiny homes:

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

Tiny House Communities in Rhode Island

Currently, there are no tiny home communities in Rhode Island. However, there are some projects and initiatives aimed at promoting small homes living in specific locations.

Providence City Councilman David Salvatore

It considered the idea of building tiny houses, on a portion of the parking area of Veazie Street Elementary School in Wanskuck, Providence. This effort seeks to improve affordability by creating smaller homes.

Tiny House Builders Near Me

You don’t need to spend time researching Rhode Island tiny house builders to discover your ideal home because Great Lakes Tiny Homes have so many small houses available and can be sent anywhere in the country.

An RV Industry Association (RVIA)-certified builder like Great Lakes Tiny Homes specializes in upholding the strictest safety, legal, and small home construction requirements to the best production standards.

Do I Need a Certified Builder?

You do! There are more risks and hassle when doing it yourself.

Working with a builder certified by the RVIA, like Great Lakes Tiny Homes, ensures that the tiny house you buy follows legal requirements and guidelines.

It also gives you confidence because it ensures that the materials in your home are strong, durable, and safe.

Choosing a certified builder makes it simpler to obtain finance options and insurance coverage. If your tiny house complies with RVIA regulations, it promises to be a secure and habitable place.


Can You Make a Tiny House in Rhode Island Your Main Residence?

Yes, of course! Living in a tiny house full-time is acceptable in Rhode Island. Nonetheless, the little house has to be an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).

Remember that local laws and ordinances differ based on where you live. Consult the local governments and zoning authorities to see whether the small house complies with all applicable laws and regulations, including inspection requirements.

Collaborating with certified builders in Rhode Island enables a more eco-friendly and stress-free lifestyle.

Can I Construct a Tiny Home in Rhode Island and Place It in My Backyard?

If your local zoning permits it and you have extra space, you may construct a tiny house in your backyard. Some counties and cities allow auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs), while others have more stringent requirements. You must also ensure that the little house is inside the boundaries of your yard and meets any setback restrictions.

What Is the Rhode Island Minimum Square Footage Required for a House?

Zoning rules establish the minimal size limits for your tiny house according to the zone in which it is located.

The average tiny house needed is between 80 and 220 square feet, while most towns and counties currently have a minimum square footage requirement of 1,000 feet.


Prospective tiny house owners in Rhode Island must thoroughly understand the particular rules of the county or city where they intend to build or locate their tiny house. The variances in restrictions reflect local government and the ever-changing nature of tiny home legislation.

Rhode Island is looking at additional rules to support the tiny house movement and meet the pressing need for more affordable housing options as the demand for these homes grows.

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