Building a Tiny House in Arizona

What does it take to have this view in Arizona?

Is smaller better here in the desert?

By Rose Burke

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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 (, Rose is currently focusing on a collection of humorous personal essays while she travels the world.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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