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Building a Tiny House in Arizona – Is smaller better here in the desert?

With housing costs in Arizona rising at a rate that most salaries can’t keep up with, people are searching for affordable solutions. If you’re one of these people, then likely you’ve come across tiny houses. Typically under 400 square feet, they’re the only cost-effective housing available that allows you to own your own home. If you’re ready to get on board with the tiny lifestyle, keep reading to learn how you can build a tiny house in Arizona.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A TINY HOUSE IN ARIZONA

In Arizona, any home built below 400 square feet falls under the category of a tiny house and should follow all respective building codes. This includes size regulations that require any home built with a foundation to be no smaller than 200 square feet. For any tiny house built on a trailer, they must be larger than 160 square feet. The structure can be professionally built out of lumber, using a DIY tiny house kit, or made from a repurposed shipping container. All materials are suitable when building a tiny home in Arizona as long as it follows the building codes.

What does it take to have this view in Arizona?

BUILDING CODES FOR PERMANENT TINY HOUSES IN ARIZONA

For the most part, building codes for permanent tiny houses follow many of the same restrictions as they do for a single-family home. Some slight adjustments have been made to the dimensions, such as:
• Reduced minimum room dimensions
• Ceiling height requirement reduced from 7’ to 6’4”
• Fewer electrical circuits required
• Less insulation needed
A permanent tiny house includes any home built on a foundation or a trailer where all of the mobile aspects have been removed. Whether you are building your home on a property in Arizona or moving it there, you will need to have it inspected by the appropriate county. If your structure doesn’t adhere to their codes as is, you’ll simply have to make the required changes.

BUILDING CODES FOR A TINY HOUSE ON WHEELS IN ARIZONA

When choosing your tiny house on wheels drawings, remember that they follow a different set of building codes in Arizona, as they’re considered mobile homes. You will need a building permit before you begin construction, as well as an approved trailer. Once your home is finished, an inspection will be required. You won’t be able to receive a Certificate of Occupancy and live in your tiny house until you’ve acquired a permanent land site. This could be a rented property that you’ll use temporarily or a permanent piece of land for your residence.

ZONING CODES FOR TINY HOUSES IN ARIZONA

A tiny house built on a foundation has a variety of options when it comes to zoning. Unlike other areas of the United States where there are heavy restrictions on tiny homes, Arizona allows them to sit on a number of different zone types. This includes multifamily, detached single-family, and accessory dwelling unit zoning. There are also some tiny house communities popping up all over the state that allows you to live with like-minded people. Together you can build a community garden, have access to a laundry facility, a shared kitchen, and maybe even a few on-site restaurants. It’s little things like this that turn a house into a home. A tiny house built on a trailer, on the other hand, is considered a recreational vehicle. As long as the structure has the capability to be mobile, it doesn’t fall under the category of a permanent structure. These tiny homes can only be parked in zones allowing mobile homes and RVs, such as state parks.

Tiny Houses for Everyone

Building a tiny house in Arizona has never been more accessible than it is today, and it will only continue to get easier. By choosing to make this lifestyle change, you’re not only going to find yourself with more money in your pocket, but you can sleep better knowing that you’ve significantly reduced your carbon footprint. Tiny homes are known for being both affordable and eco-friendly, making them the top housing choice among millennials. Contact your county to get the appropriate permits and start building your tiny house today.


Freelance writer and art enthusiast, Rose Burke, often writes humorous essays inspired by awkward dating experiences and life’s cruel sense of humor. When she’s not doing that, she’s typically writing entertainment articles on women’s issues, politics, feminism, travel, and other trending topics her readers love. Author of the popular feminist blog series Writings of the Satirical Feminista (www.writingsofthesatiricalfeminista.com), Rose is currently focusing on a collection of humorous personal essays while she travels the world.

57 COMMENTS

  1. I have been dreaming of a future in my own tiny hlme, I survive on social security, my son and his family have evaded my home since 08, I really need my own space, I also love Arizona, Prescott and North East of west, I have been saving $ , but fear land and tiny would be more than I have currently, but if we all contributed, we could accomplish something great. Please keep connecting maybe we could come up with a way to generate revenue, together. Marcie

  2. I live in Tempe, where it is 117 degrees today. I would like to move to a climate in AZ at a higher elevation. There is a tiny home community in Lakeside, however that is above the rim and the winters can be harsh. I would like to be somewhere below the rim. Cottonwood, Sedona, Clarkdale, Cornville are all very nice, though Sedona is definitely out of my price range. Another option would be the areas around Prescott; Chino Valley and Mayer come to mind. Or head east to Payson, Pine/Strawberry, or Young. Out of all of those choices I would choose Cornville, Mayer, or Young.

  3. I am interested in any info or communities in Mohave Co specifically Golden Valley area (Near bullhead City)….. I plan on getting a couple acres this week and would welcome tenants who wish to live in a portable tiny home on my land.. A community of like minded people.. I am just short of 55 yrs old by a couple months at this time and the 55+ communities are all so EXPENSIVE!!!! I hope to build a permanent tiny home using a 45′ shipping container…. I am slightly disabled and am not abole bodied enough to do the construction but would love to talk to someone who would like to trade labor for lot rent….
    Anyone know what the laws are for tiny homes in Mohave County for tiny homes?
    Anyone wish to come out and park their tiny home on my land for reasonable trades or rent? I am Easy to deal with and Overall very friendly and helpful…. I also know a great real estate broker who can get you into a acre or 2 (or more) for little money down and he finaces all his land himself without credit problems and he is very easy to work with, tomorrow he and I are going to drive around and look at several site but I do expect I will pick a spot on the North West side of Golden Valley near to the highway to Bullhead City and Laughlin (I currently have a part time retired guy job in Laughlin and don’t wanna loose it…..)
    Poke me back with a text at Eight One Zero- four four nine- two zero five nine and leave a message and I will get back to you…. or drop me an email at DESERTFOXTINYLIVINGatGMAILdotCOM

    @Daniela Maldini PLS reach out to me and have your ex also!!!

    Would love to find others interested in info exchange and maybe more in future like an Discord meeting room!

  4. Would like to discuss options for tiny homes….my ex husband is also starting a company that builds them. He helped building mine and now has the space to do so in Cottonwood. Reach out to me if you want to build a tiny home community.

  5. I live in Paulden Arizona and I am intrested in finding a way to facilitate a timy home community. I am building my own tiny home. I have horses and that is limiting my mobility. My home is on wheels. I have 5 acres. I would like to turn them into a sustainable living community or i am interested in the Sedona community. If anyone wants to talk about how to make this property work as such a community i an open. I am near prescott. I imagine animal oriented people that like to cultivate their own food and improve the land.

  6. I own small home with a yard on the corner of the Arizona Mohave Valley in Needles, CA. If anyone is looking to park and live on my lot, drop me a line. I am very tiny home friendly.

  7. Hello everyone, I am not necessarily looking for a tiny home. However, I am interested in purchasing a lot near Camp Verde, AZ and getting a container home. I am having difficulty finding any builders in Arizona that would specialize in this. Do any of you have any experience or knowledge on how it would work? Thanks in advance!! and I love everyone who is willing to come together and create their own communities.

  8. so what I’m seeing is lots and lots and lots of people who want to create a tiny home community. Is there a way in which we can all connect? Just leaving comments doesn’t actually move any of this forward.

  9. Hi,
    I too am interested in this tiny home living idea. There are 44 comments in this thread of people seeking a Tiny Home lifestyle. That sounds like enough people to put together a community! Pima county (south of Phoenix) is where zoning is more lenient towards Tiny Homes that are certified. I watched the owner of Luxtiny on video explain how he started out. http://www.luxtiny.com/about-tiny-home-community/ He also builds the homes. Sounded like a lot of work! I wonder if he would be interested in expanding to another area? I plan to email the people who have left their email addresses for contact. I’m not much of a people gatherer, more of a groupie. :) So if you or an investor decide to pursue this idea, may keep in touch and I’ll back someone’s guidance on all of this. weluvgod2@bellsouth.net

  10. Hi fellow dreamers! I’m so glad I found this thread- it is renewing my hope that there might be a community of like minded folks in Arizona. I have a job opportunity in Paradise Valley area and would love to explore the tiny house life. I’m moving from PA in October 2020. I don’t have a house yet but would consider buying a little piece of land somewhere not too far out. I’m not familiar with the area – can anyone suggest a good place to buy land for tiny house living?

  11. All these posts talking about our dream tiny home community but nobody’s doing anything about it lol. I’m already in an rv in AZ looking to find such a community. I’m a single mom with 2 autistic kids with an online store so I’m looking for a safe place for my family and to use more of planet’s resources instead of paying $800 a month for a parking space to plug in. We should all get together and create a such community! Who’s with me?!

  12. Hello everyone, I am looking for anyone who are interested to get land and tiny home together, so we could create a small community/neighbors. It would be great if we could do survey/search together to find location/land and contractor/builder who could help us to build our tiny/container home. perhaps we could do it together as community. I think….if we do it together, we could create a strong community. I am planning to retire and create sustainable living by growing my own food..:). if anyone interested, please let me know so we could set up meeting (time/place) by email me at: Johancool2020@aol.com. I hope that we could make our dream tiny home a reality…:)..anyone have information about the land or reliable builder/contractor let me know. THANK YOU Johan!

  13. Hello everyone, I am interested in having a tiny home in Northern Arizona near flagstaff or Grand Canyon area. anyone interested to create a small community with all tiny houses? I would love to live in place where I could grow fruits and vegetables on the property/land. of anyone know which area should be consider or like to join and create a community.. that would be great. Thanks ..Johan

  14. Penny, hi I’m Pamela 55 and in the exact situation. I’m thinking of moving from OH to AZ and downsize to a tiny house while on disability. Hopefully we both can find good people and companies to help.

  15. Your questions about living in a Tiny House On Wheels is answered here in this blog I ran across some time ago. It looks like the short answer is no. Fact it, every neighborhood has the NIMBY attitude.

    https://www.myarizonaland.com/blog/

    I have a THOW and have been relegated to Mobile Home/RV Parks. Have been in Wickenburg 5 years now. The over 55 crowd isnt bad, but barking dogs and drama…… I would LOVE to be able to buy an intown small plot. No way they will allow that here and sadly, I do not see any Tiny Communities being created in the greater Phoenix area anytime soon. Not when cheaper single family homes are being snatched up overnight (mostly by REIT’s).

  16. I’m like so many of you, older and wanting to build a tiny house in AZ. Is it possible to run and ad with this site? I’d love to connect with others with the same goal.

  17. The thing is, Tucson is not on board for a community of tiny’s yet. They’re scattered in random yards & RV parks but there is ZERO community in regards to. I’ve found 1 person building in town, legally. The sites have to be zoned for “new home construction” in order to build & theres maybe 4 categories for this? Maybe this has changed for 2020 but shit’s mad limited here. Find a builder elsewhere with RV certs until you find site to park.

  18. I am so encouraged reading this blog! I am moving to AZ and want to live in a tiny house. I’ve started working with a company out of Charlotte, NC and they will build wherever I want. I’m interested in Pinal county, near Apache junction or Gold Canyon, but if there are other like-minded folks, I would welcome the opportunity to share land in the Tempe area. I’m happy with a THOW or one on a foundation. How do we get in touch to discuss?

  19. We have just purchased land in Golden Valley. There are several 1 acre parcels near us that would make great small tiny home spots. We currently live full time in our 26 foot Motorhome with 1000 watts of solar. We are going to build a tiny home on our 1.38 acres and would love to find a group who wants to do the same in this area. We are living on Social Security and have done very well in Arizona Boondocking and living the small life.

  20. I recently visited the Home and Garden Show in Phoenix that featured tiny houses built by Tiny House Developers (www.arizonatinyhouse.com). I too am interested in building a tiny house community in Phoenix. This company is currently working with a non-profit and building tiny homes for vets in Phoenix. Was told that the current codes in Phoenix for tiny house required them to build a two-car garage for any tiny house. Also looking in the City of Guadalupe, near Tempe, AZ for land.

  21. I am 71 years young on a fixed income SSI I just lost my husband. He left me with nothing I am close to living on the street in my car. I am very interested in Tiny House living I want to live in Mohave county, Az. Can anyone help me.

  22. I am looking for property in the Cottonwood/ camp verde area from 8000 SF to 1 acre or more.( would love to plant small vineyard. I want to put a nice new park model on it From Recreational Resort Cottages in TX and have space for garden And a small yard for my dog. Plan to retire or work pt. . If anyone working on a community in the Verde Valley Is love to hear from you. I don’t want to live in some trashy older model mobile home subdivision.

  23. I too would like to join a tiny house community. I see there are people here working on starting a community, but how will it be affordable after getting a home to park on someones land where they will want rent and who knows what other types if fees. I’d be willing to share a purchase of land with like minded people. We’d have to agree on some things, but I believe it would be possible. Perhaps we can get a discussion going in email or a tiny house forum?

  24. Im in the tempe area and looking to own a tiny. My fiancee and I are in our 30s, in our search for options beyond rent we are constantly see age restrictions. Im looking for a tiny or rv community that isnt “luxury” but affordable. Suggestions, i dont know where to start.

  25. Are you building a community of tiny homes in Sedona? Would like more info! Me and my wife are interested in purchasing a tiny home. We currently live in Tucson AZ!

  26. Here is my experience with Mike & Mary Partanna of Uncharted Tiny Homes in Phoenix.

    They promised they could build my tiny house & utility trailer. Mike stated numerous times that everyone trusts him. They provided a detailed quote and accepted my 50% deposit. Then they began building. Then they asked for more money and said they need to raise the prices. They increased the pricing on the cabinets by $6,000. I stated that we had already agreed on pricing. So they stopped building and communicating!

    My attorney sent a letter demanding Uncharted honor their pricing and continue building. They have refused to respond.

    Uncharted Tiny Homes has taken my money and completely abandoned me. My only option now is to file a lawsuit.

  27. This comment is for Brenda in Tucson. I also live in Tucson, and have been considering looking into the “tiny house” option. I am currently in talks with the local agencies and government offices dealing with our housing crisis as such relates to “(S O.I. discrimination…Source of Income Discrimination) This affects many who are considered as low income, such as SSI, for example. I am on SSI myself so I fully understand the limitations that affect our choices. Let me know of any information that may be useful. Anyone wishing to assist in the housing issues feel free to contact me…(520) 255-5180..

  28. I’m am creating such a place on some acreage in Arizona, near Sedona on the river. it is very beautiful. Would love to be part of this community.

  29. Shirley,
    I am interested in the same. I want to be near family and would want to be in the Phoenix area only because I need to be near family.

  30. I would love to partner up with someone in AZ. I prefer north of Phoenix and want some animals, a garden and solar, to be sustaining. Some wonderful person needs to start a directory/group of all of us so we can not just want, but do. I am busy trying to downsize and it is sure hard to do. I, also, am on social security, and it leaves little to play with, but I can work and hammer a nail as, I am a senior and very healthy, and do not take medicine.

  31. I’ve lived in a tiny house and it is fantastic. I sold it but I want to find land or a community and do it again . Keep me posted if a tiny community pops up.

  32. Hello everyone ! I have been living in a tiny home for a little over a year now . I’m looking for a permanent happy ever after place for myself and my tiny treasure . My current residency is in Indiana . Thank you ! Angie Buxton

  33. I am actually working with an engineer who is designing some tiny homes for me. I have a builder and realtor who is currently locating land for me. I will be selling and eventually renting out tiny homes within tiny home villages. I am also trying to figure out all the restrictions. Any additional information regarding all of the regulations would be most helpful.

    • Gina,

      Are you locating in the SW near Tucson? We currently live in Tucson, but are willing to look somewhere in Arizona that is a little cooler and greener. Have you chosen a location? We’re in the market for a Tiny Home or even a small TH community. Our unit must have a downstairs bedroom. If our chosen unit has a loft, it would be for storage, an office, or a guest area and has to have stairs and be able to stand up in the loft. I’m 6 ft and my wife is 5′ 7′, but we can’t go up and down stairs at night.

      Please keep me informed of your current status and progress. Thank you.

      Paul

  34. For those of you who are looking to live in a tiny house neighborhood I have a investor that is working with me to open up the first tiny house neighborhood in Southern Arizona I live in Tucson and it would be in Pima County if you are interested let me know my name is Brenda I am also on SSI and I am going to be on my own within the year as my son will be moving out soon and it is the only way that I can afford to live on my own is in a tiny house so let me know

    • Brenda,

      My wife and I are in Tucson and are interested in a Tiny Home community. I recently retired on social security and we are looking to downsize. Please keep me informed of your progress, locations where you are considering buying land, etc.

      We would prefer to be in the NW part of Tucson, ie, Marana area, up near Catalina, etc. As of next year we’ll be “snow birds” since we love Tucson but are tired of the heat and the monsoons.

      At what stage are you presently at? Do you have land, or are you starting from scratch?

      Paul

    • I am very interested. I am 64 healthy, active female & would love to sell my current house in Ohio & have a tiny house in Arizona. Do you have land to build house? What is cost of land in a tiny house neighborhood or is it available if you build? Thanks, Nancy

    • Brenda,
      My wife and I live in pima county in marana and have been dreaming of a tiny home around this area could you give me some more info on what you got going on ? Maybe we can help ? Thanks!

  35. Hi, I am considering moving to Arizona and building a tiny house. I am 64 and would love to be part of a support group in this endeavor.

  36. I have searched but could not find any Maricopa county zoning regulations addressing the minimum square footage of a house on a foundation. I read here it’s 200 sq. ft.. I don’t want anything that small but if anyone has a link to the actual code that specifies this, I would appreciate it.

    • Uncharted Tiny Homes

      909 W PINNACLE PEAK RD STE A110
      PHOENIX AZ 85027
      SHOWINGS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
      MONDAY-FRIDAY 9:00AM-3:00PM

  37. Hi Penny, my name is Roy and I am in a similar situation. I just fell out of escrow on a house in Dolan Springs due to structural issues with the house. I am now thinking I will buy property and build a small house myself or do something like a tiny house. I am also interested in the area east of Snowflake. Maybe we could collaborate on something or just share ideas.

  38. Hi Penny.
    We have a similar dream.
    I would love to live in a tiny community.
    Maybe I will see ya one day.
    Good luck on your journey.

  39. Hello I’m a 57 year old single woman on SSI with a very limited income. However, it has always been my dream to build my own tiny home out of used materials. I have no one for any type of support so I am totally on my own and I need to find a permanent place if my own to finally set some roots and call my own. Would someone be willing to work with me? I’m in Sholow AZ. Thank you

    • Yes, There’s Cornerstone Tiny Homes
      in Longwood, Florida. Custom Made
      and design by you or there floorplans.
      Check out their website.

      Marie

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