Truth, simplicity and candor: these are the cardinal virtues of a lawyer." - George Sharswood

Tiny Houses

There is a new and growing trend which started around 2012 for affordable and simplistic homeownership – tiny houses. These houses are generally between 100 and 500 square feet in size, and are often built on trailers, so the homeowners can move their houses with ease. With a growing number of Americans foregoing the traditional route of homeownership – a land lot, a stationary house, a mortgage, it is no surprise that many towns and cities across America are changing the way they word zoning rules and regulations. Often times a tiny house is considered either a recreational vehicle or an accessory dwelling unit.

What is the difference between a recreational vehicle and an accessory dwelling unit?

A recreational vehicle is an automobile which usually has a bathroom, a kitchen and, a sleeping area, and is used for traveling or camping. A recreational vehicle is generally meant to be used as a temporary residence.

An accessory dwelling unit is a secondary living space that has a separate kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area, which is either attached to, or on the same lot as the primary living unit. An accessory dwelling unit is generally meant to be a permanent or semi-permanent residence.

Are there any restrictions to having an accessory dwelling unit on an existing property?

There are many restrictions to adding an accessory dwelling unit to an existing property. One such restriction is that an accessory dwelling unit must be constructed at the time a new house is built, or, may be added as an addition to an already existing structure. If the addition is to be added as an addition to a pre-existing single-family structure, you may be required to significantly modify configuration of the current lot. Only one accessory dwelling unit will be allowed to occupy each single-family lot. If the site is a proposed new construction, the primary residence must be built prior to the accessory dwelling unit. The accessory dwelling unit must be smaller than the primary residence in all ways, to include height, lot location, square footage and building coverage.

A lot must be at least 5,800 square feet for an accessory dwelling to be considered. If a lot contains an accessory dwelling unit, it may not be subdivided so that the accessory dwelling unit and primary residence are on separate lots.

An accessory dwelling unit must be a minimum of 375 square feet, and a maximum of 750 square feet. If the back yard of the lot abuts the front yard of a neighboring lot, the accessory dwelling unit must be at least 25 feet away from the street side property line.

If you are considering purchasing or building a tiny house, or adding an accessory dwelling unit to your existing property, it is important to know the zoning rules and regulations in the area you are looking to settle, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney to review your case, understand your rights, and defend your interests. Contact the experienced Florida real estate attorneys at Carnal & Mansfield, P.A. for a consultation today.

6528 Central Avenue, Suite B
Saint Petersburg, Fl 33707

tel: 727-381-8181
fax: 727-381-8783

Carnal & Mansfield, P.A. is located in Saint Petersburg, FL and serves clients in and around Saint Petersburg, Seminole, Tarpon Springs, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Belleair Beach, Clearwater Beach, Terra Ceia, Clearwater, Anna Maria, Sun City Center, Ruskin, Holmes Beach, Safety Harbor, Tampa, Bradenton Beach, Sydney, Cortez, Ellenton, Oldsmar, Ozona, Crystal Beach, Brandon, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.

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