What legally is the smallest house you can build in Texas? Before I answer the question, what legally is the smallest house you can build in Texas, I want to point out that I’m not a lawyer and it’s always best when dealing with anything legal to consult a real lawyer.
That being said, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject matter and here is what I’ve found.
The quick answer is about 200 square feet, based on the International Residential Code (IRC). But there are other things to consider …
All homes, no matter how big or small are subject to building and safety regulations.
For your reference, here is a quick link to the Texas Administrative Code regarding homes on wheels.
A tiny house on wheels (in Texas) that is less than 400 square feet is what the state calls a house trailer and falls under the RV laws.
Your tiny house on wheels must be certified by the American National Safety Institute (ANSI) to meet the personal property tax exception rules. If you are buying a pre-built tiny house on wheels, make sure it is certified by ANSI.
If your tiny house is on wheels, don’t forget you must register it as an RV (recreational vehicle).
If your tiny house is built on a foundation and not on wheels, it’s considered real property and subject to property taxes just like any regular house might be.
This tiny home will be subject to local building code regulations. Although it’s worth noting, most rural areas in Texas have no local building codes.
Building codes means getting permits and lots of inspections. In fact, for new residential construction on a vacant lot, a minimum of three inspections must be performed during the construction project to ensure code compliance, That’s in addition to contractor inspections for things like electrical and plumbing.
This can be time-consuming and costly. This is why so many people prefer building their tiny house on wheels.
If you don’t comply with all building regulations the county in which you build in could actually fine you a daily fee, until you get in compliance (Could even be $1,000 a day) or require you take the building down altogether.
Some towns in Texas like Spur, Texas encourages the building of tiny homes, but you must submit your house design in advance for approval and agree to connect your home to the electric grid and town’s water and sewage system.
There is a thing called the IRC, or the International Residential Code. Here are some highlights…
So if you build a tiny house, that is laid out like a traditional home, it could be as small as 208 square feet and still be legal.
A tiny house is fairly self-descriptive: it is a very small dwelling unit that is free-standing, usually styled to look like a site-built home. Tiny houses typically range from 100 to 400 square feet in size and often come mounted on a wheeled trailer chassis so that they can be towed behind a vehicle. Similar to a micro-unit, the space in a tiny house usually has convertible or modular furniture that plays different roles, depending on what activity is taking place. Tiny houses on wheels typically have recreational vehicle-style utility hookups – powered with electricity, external holding tanks; those that venture off the grid can rely on solar or even no electricity at all. Diminutive domiciles that are permanent structures (not on wheels) tie-in to utilities in the manner of a traditional house. Tiny houses should not be confused with mobile homes, which are generally more than 600 square feet in size, and are transported via semi-trailer truck to a destination where they are placed permanently or semi-permanently.
In Austin as long as you get all the proper permits and go through the correct inspections, etc. as any new build would, they don’t seem to care how small the house is (as long as it follows the rules of the IRC).
In Dallas, tiny houses are often referred to as “granny flats”, “granny pods” or “mother-in-law cottage”. They are legal only if you apply for a special exemption and they don’t violate your property’s homeowner association’s rules.
But keep in mind this is talking about building a tiny house on a property that houses a main, regular size house. The regulations aren’t clear about building a tiny house as the only house on the land.
So just how small is too small in Texas?
It’s actually the HOA that could be a big problem for most Texas cities. As long as you follow IRC rules, I have found most places in Texas who have rules, and building codes, don’t care about actual size and don’t even reference size restrictions when you get your permit.
HOW TO COMPOST AT HOME
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of composting and how great it is for the environment and your garden. If you have a green thumb and you like to give your plants their best, then you should start composting right now. It’s nature’s way of recycling and for the sake of enriching your garden soil and making it fertile, everyone has gotten in on the compost movement. If you have not started composting yet, that’s okay! It’s not too late to get started and one of the best ways to do it is from the comfort of your home as it’s quite easy to do.
We’re excited you want to do something extra for your plants as compost can be added to make your soil fertile which could help you grow some nice veggies in your garden. Composting is known to be one of the ways that organic waste is biodegraded. If it sounds like an adventure you would like to get in on, keep reading to learn exactly how to compost at home.
Get your equipment ready.
This sounds a lot more sophisticated than it is. Some people like to have a simple rot pile, you can have it located in your backyard or somewhere around the house where you can dump vegetables, leaves and other compost materials or you could choose to get a nice bin for your compost instead. What’s great about this part is that you can purchase a good bin online or use any old kind of container laying around your house that is no longer in use. Whatever kind of bin you decide to use, make sure it’s easy to rotate so you can turn your compost around and mix it up. If you’re going with the option of a rotting pile, it shouldn’t be too high, about 3 feet would do so you can easily mix it but it should be compact enough to retain heat.
Select a location
Let’s face it, compost is actually waste and like some waste, it might come with some unpleasant smells as composting is biodegraded organic waste and no one wants to have it smacked in their face each time they walk past your yard. While you decide to do your recycling with nature, choose a place where you can keep your compost safely, out of the reach of foraging animals and with enough exposure to air so the breeze helps keep your compost cool and aerated. It’s also great to have your location close to shade and enough access to water.
Start tossing in your materials
This is the fun part! After setting up your compost site and getting your rot pile or compost bin ready, the next step is to begin the good work of recycling natures way! There are lots of stuff you can add to your compost as long as they are organic and biodegradable. Things like vegetable scraps and peels, coffee grounds, manure from animals like sheep or chickens, yard waste like leaves and sticks and even newspapers or eggshells can go in your compost.
However things like animal products especially meat, bones or butter shouldn’t go in your compost. Also, stuff like synthetic chemicals, ash, seeds or pet waste should have no place in your compost. You should have a nice balance of brown materials and green materials so your compost gets enough carbon and nitrogen and don’t forget to add water sparsely so your compost is moist but don’t over-wet the compost and kill off the bacteria.
Pay close attention to your compost
It’s not enough to just toss your compost materials in your rot pile or bin and walk away, you have to monitor it, check on it often and make sure it maintains the right temperature of being warm so the composting process stays active. This will also let you know when your pile needs to be mixed or turned. You can use your hands or a thermometer to check your compost temperature and if it was previously warm but turns cold later, you need to give it a nice turn to get the process back in action. It’s also important that your compost stays moist and gets enough oxygen so the bacteria keeps working. You can use a pitchfork to turn your compost and you should also add moisture to your dry materials like sawdust and dry leaves when you add them to your composting pile.
Wait for your compost to mature
The waiting process can take anything from weeks to months or years before your compost is ready. You can help the process along by covering your rot pile or compost bin with a tarp to retain the moisture content of your compost. This isn’t strictly necessary and you can skip this part if you want to. So if you are wondering how to know when your compost is ready, look at the bottom of the pile of your compost. If it is dark and rich in color then your compost is nice and ready to use.
Start using your compost
When your compost is ready, you can now mix it into your garden soil to act as an enricher or fertilizer or lay down some of your compost on top your garden or lawn soil to act as mulch. In no time you’ll notice a difference in how your plants are faring and you’ll be all the more glad you decided to learn how to compost at home.
There are no strict laws to how many compost piles you can have at a time, as long as you have enough space and materials to put in, you can have as many compost piles as you want to keep your gardens and landscape going. With the tips we’ve shared with you above, you’ll be recycling in nature’s way in no time and your garden will thank you for it. The process is pretty
easy and basically every material you need is right at your fingertips. You’ll be able to avoid wasting things like vegetable scraps and other organic biodegradable waste by putting them to good use in creating the compost of your dreams.
Buy a Compost Bin on Amazon Here