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Tiny House in Michigan: The Complete Guide!

  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 7 minutes

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Michigan is a great place to own a house. It will always be a great choice if you prefer tiny houses to live in. Living in these small houses is still in its early stages. However, Michigan is one of the few states that have started to make definite rules and regulations for these structures. So, are you planning to have a tiny house in Michigan? 

If yes, you must know that they must satisfy all local building codes and zoning requirements. These focus mainly on accessory dwelling units (ADUs), with definite rules and regulations set by individual cities and counties. You must know your local laws to meet Michigan safety and building requirements. 

Don’t worry! Our article will give you a much-wanted insight into tiny houses in Michigan and tiny house communities in Michigan. 

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Is it legal to live in a tiny house in Michigan? 

Yes. Since Michigan doesn’t have a statewide policy on tiny houses, the answer will vary depending on the city or county. However, due to zoning laws, you won’t get permission for ADUs in some areas. The rules and regulations governing tiny houses in Michigan can be quite different. ADUs are illegal in some parts of the state, but Briley Township has relatively relaxed restrictions on Economic Efficient Dwellings. These tiny houses can range in size from 240-500 sq ft.  

How tiny can a house be in Michigan? 


It can be as small as 500 sq ft but varies by where you live! It is due to the state’s ‘Tiny House’ law, which allows for building homes of this size. Couples’ houses must have at least 250 square feet, but the houses of families having four members must have at least an area of 450 square feet. 

Remember that your tiny house must have emergency exits, carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, lighting, plumbing, and ventilation requirements. You should also ensure you have the basics for sleeping, personal hygiene, and cooking. 

Where are tiny homes allowed in Michigan? 

Currently, the following towns and cities allow tiny houses in the state. 

  • Ann Arbor 
  • Kalamazoo 
  • Briley Township 
  • Grand Rapids 
  • Dearborn 
  • Lansing 
  • Traverse City 

Ann Arbor revised its zoning laws to permit ADUs. 

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Where can you build your tiny house in Michigan? 

You can construct it on your property or rent land from a friend or family member. Some RV parks and campgrounds also permit the construction of these. You must check your local zoning laws to see if there are any restrictions on where you can build your tiny house. 

Once youve located a spot, you must get the necessary permits and licenses. You’ll need a permit from Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth to build it. In addition, your tiny house must meet all of the necessities for a dwelling unit, like a foundation, walls, floors, roof, and ceilings. After obtaining all the required permits and licenses, you can start building your tiny house. 

Building a tiny house in Michigan: How to do it 

So, decided to build a tiny house in the Great Lakes State? Then there are some steps you must follow.  

  • Choose the type of house you want. Are you looking for an ADU in a large, open backyard? Or are you interested in the new Economy Efficient Dwelling? 
  • Check your citys and countys building codes and zoning laws.  
  • Select a house construction company. Companies like Dickinson Homes and Great Lakes Tiny Homes can help you navigate the legal requirements while building your ideal tiny house. 
  • Choose a location and a background. You could build it in the back of a large backyard or relocate to a city with fewer building restrictions. 
  • Choose a good home insurance. The state law doesn’t mandate having home insurance, but having one protects your home. 

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What are Economy Efficient Dwellings? 

The standards for Briley Township’s Economy Efficient Dwellings vary from those for ADUs throughout Michigan. The following are the guidelines for this type of house. 

  • The area must be between 240-500 sq ft. 
  • Side elevation must have 12 feet or less and no more than 20 feet. 
  • The length should be between 20-30 feet. 
  • You must construct the house on a permanent and preapproved foundation. 
  • Constructing in residential 2, agriculture, and forest recreation areas is possible. 
  • You must follow the building codes in Michigan and obtain a certificate of occupancy.  

Where can you park your tiny home in Michigan? 

home on wheels

Depending on the municipality, you can park your tiny house in various locations. You can park it in tiny home communities, on a friend’s or a family member’s property, or in RV parks. Before determining where to park your tiny home in Michigan, always check with your local zoning office for restrictions. 

Are there tiny house communities in Michigan?  

Yes, there are many. The following are some examples.  

  • Tiny house community near Ann Arbor: It features a variety of tiny homes. This community’s homes begin at $50,000. 
  • Tiny Home Village in Detroit: This village features many tiny homes in the heart of Detroit. Homes in this neighborhood start at $25,000. 
  • Grand Rapids Tiny House Community: This community is located just outside Grand Rapids and features many tiny homes. The rate for homes in this community starts at $45,000. 

Here’s more info about tiny home communities in Florida!

Do you have to pay property tax for your tiny house? 

The answer depends on the area where you live. However, if a tiny house gets classified as a dwelling unit, it may have to bear property taxes. Local property taxes apply to those built on a foundation. However, you needn’t pay property taxes for those on wheels. Some property taxes you may have to pay for your tiny house are the following.  

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Types of taxes 

  • Sales tax: Depending on your state, you may need to pay sales tax on your tiny house purchase. 
  • Estate tax: Depending on the value of your property and the laws of your state, an estate tax may be imposed on your tiny house when you die. 
  • Real estate transfer tax: You may be required to pay real estate transfer taxes if you buy your tiny house from someone else.  
  • Generation-skipping tax (GST): It applies when you transfer your tiny house to someone two or more generations below you. This tax plus any other taxes, such as an estate or gift tax, may apply. The person making the transfer is responsible for paying the GST. 
  • Gift tax: When you gift someone your tiny house, you must pay this tax. 


Is 500 square feet a tiny house? 

Tiny homes typically have less than 600 square feet. Still, the average size of a tiny house for sale in the US is only 225 square feet. 

Can I live in a camper on my property in Michigan? 

According to state law, you can’t use ‘travel trailers and camping trailersas permanent residences. But you can set these on your property for short periods as emergency shelters. 

Do I need a permit to build a cabin in Michigan? 

Yes. All resort cabins in campgrounds should have approval from the local zoning/planning department. The local building authority will also require building, electrical, and plumbing permits before construction. 

Can I put a mobile home on my land in Michigan? 

Setting up a mobile home on any property for living purposes requires obtaining planning permission. So, suppose you set up one on your property. In that case, you should include permanent services like waste treatment plants and electricity and water supplies. 

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