Are Tiny Homes Legal in Illinois?

by My Modern Cave
Are Tiny Homes Legal in Illinois

Illinois has yet to adopt a statewide building code, so cities and counties are free to adopt their codes. This means whether tiny homes are legal depends on where you are in the state. While Illinois allows tiny homes on private property, campgrounds, and mobile home parks, they are not allowed within Chicago.

Illinois Zoning Regulations

Zoning regulations in Illinois are used to plan land use for the community. Local authorities regulate zoning, which includes the distribution of lands into districts. For instance, running a household business in a residential area is prohibited in Illinois. Therefore, it is crucial to consider zoning regulations when planning to build a tiny home in the state.

As tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) are mainly classified as recreational trailers, it is advisable to learn whether their existence on a property violates building codes or not to avoid disputes.

Cities and counties in Illinois are free to adopt their codes since the state has not yet adopted a statewide building code. To find out about building codes in your area, contact your city or county code official or check the CDB website.

💡 Quick Tip:

Research local zoning laws: Check your local zoning laws to see if tiny homes are permitted in your area. Some municipalities may require specific permits or restrict the size and type of dwelling.

Tiny Houses on Wheels in Illinois

As of 2023, the suburbs and the city of Chicago do not permit the placement of tiny houses. Thus, it is essential to check whether placing tiny homes on wheels in a particular area is illegal. If the tiny home is only used as a recreational trailer, building codes may not apply. However, it must comply with the area’s building codes for day-to-day living.

Since there are no specific regulations regarding the construction of tiny homes in Illinois, the following are some of the standard regulations for tiny homes in the US:

  • There is no specific requirement for the number of windows in a tiny home.
  • The standard space ceiling of the house must be at least 6 feet and 8 inches.
  • The house must have at least one separate bathroom.
  • To access loft areas, stairs or ladders must be included inside the house.
  • The bathroom must be at least 6 feet 4 inches.
  • The tiny home must have standard emergency exit points.

These are the standard regulations, while some states have additional requirements, such as the minimum working space of the kitchen area, ventilation and light requirements, and the inclusion of a bathtub.

It is important to note that permanent residency is not allowed in THOWs. Local authorities mainly consider THOWs as recreational vehicles which can be parked in many campsites. However, parking must not be permanent, or you may receive legal notice. Parking in private spaces should be done while adhering to building regulations to avoid violating local building codes.

💡 Quick Tip:

Work with a reputable builder: If you plan to build a tiny home, work with a reputable builder who understands local building codes and regulations.

Safety Measures

Consult with a land use attorney or an expert on local building codes to avoid legal troubles. Additionally, prioritize safety by consulting with construction experts to learn about maintaining the safety protocols for your tiny home. If you want to register your THOW as a recreational vehicle, you must get it classified by a DMV representative. When purchasing a tiny home, it is recommended to learn about the American National Safety Institute standard 11.

💡 Quick Tip:

Consider joining a tiny home community: Joining a tiny home community can help you navigate the legal aspects of living in a tiny home and provide support from like-minded individuals.

Are Tiny Houses on Wheels Legal in Illinois?

Tiny houses on wheels in Illinois are classified as recreational vehicles. As such, they can be parked in campgrounds, mobile home parks, and private properties. However, the locations where you can live in your tiny house on wheels full-time are subject to the authority of individual counties.

According to Section 1-169 of The Illinois General Assembly, the regulations for camping trailers, motor homes, mini motor homes, travel trailers, truck campers, and van campers used primarily for recreational purposes and not owned by commercial businesses are explained.

💡 Quick Tip:

Be prepared to advocate for tiny homes: Advocacy efforts can help change local laws and regulations to allow for tiny homes. Consider getting involved with local government and community organizations to promote the benefits of tiny homes.

Are Tiny Houses on Foundation Legal in Illinois?

Regarding tiny homes on a foundation, Illinois leaves all rules and regulations to individual cities and counties to determine what is allowed. The state does not follow a statewide building code and has not adopted Appendix Q via the International Residential Code (IRC) 2018.

💡 Quick Tip:

Know your financing options: Financing a tiny home can be challenging since it may not meet standard mortgage requirements. Research alternative financing options, such as personal or RV loans, to find the best option.

Tiny House Laws in Key Illinois Counties: Local Zoning Ordinances

Illinois is made up of 102 counties, which means that building laws in the state vary widely. Each county has the flexibility to change statewide building laws to meet their area’s specific needs.

Below are some counties and their laws:

Cook County, Illinois

Tiny homes on foundation and wheels are not legal in Cook County, Illinois. Those who want to live in a tiny house in Illinois should look to other counties.

Chicago, Illinois

Tiny homes, both on wheels and on foundation, are illegal in Chicago. The city strictly enforces this law, so those who wish to live in a tiny house in Chicago should explore more rural areas.

Evanston, Illinois

Evanston, Illinois, passed Ordinance 13-0-21 on March 22, 2021, allowing homes of 500 square feet or less to be legal within the city limits. While tiny homes are not legal in Cook County, Evanston’s ordinance overrides the county law, providing good news for the tiny house community in Evanston.

Quincy, Illinois

Quincy, Illinois, is a small home-friendly city with a community of tiny homes for veterans within the city limits.

Here is a table for you where we break things down:

LocationTiny Houses on WheelsTiny Houses on Foundation
State of IllinoisAllowed to be parked in campgrounds, mobile home parks, and private properties. Individual counties have authority over where they can be lived full-time.All rules and regulations are up to individual cities and counties. No statewide building code.
Cook CountyNot LegalNot Legal
ChicagoNot LegalNot Legal
EvanstonAllowed with the adoption of Ordinance 13-0-21 by City Council on March 22, 2021. Homes can be 500 square feet or less.Not legal in Cook County, but the city ordinance overrides county law and allows homes to be 500 square feet or less.
QuincyTiny home-friendly city. Has a community of tiny homes for veterans within city limits.Tiny home-friendly city.

Here are three tiny home builders in Illinois that you might want to check out:

  1. Titan Tiny Homes – This builder is based in South Elgin, Illinois, and specializes in custom-built tiny homes. They use high-quality materials and work closely with clients to create unique and functional living spaces.
  1. Bantam Built Homes – Based in Manteno, Illinois, this builder specializes in creating unique and affordable tiny homes. They offer a range of designs and customization options to meet their clients’ needs.
  1. Lil Lodges – This builder is located in Bear Creek, Wisconsin, but serves customers in Illinois and the Midwest. They offer a range of park model homes and tiny homes and customization options to fit each client’s specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Illinois does not have specific laws regulating tiny homes, but they may be subject to local zoning ordinances and building codes.
  • To ensure compliance, it is essential to research and follow local regulations and obtain necessary permits.
  • Tiny home communities are emerging in Illinois, providing a legal alternative for those interested in the tiny house lifestyle.

Here is a Video About a Tiny Home Community in Illinois:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tiny homes legal in Illinois?

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Illinois does not have specific laws regulating tiny homes. However, local zoning ordinances and building codes may apply. It’s essential to research and follows local regulations and obtains necessary permits.

Can I live in a tiny home on my property in Illinois?

Yes, living in a tiny home on your property in Illinois is possible. However, local zoning ordinances and building codes may still apply. Be sure to research and comply with local regulations.

Can I park my tiny home on a vacant lot in Illinois?

This may depend on local regulations. In some areas, zoning ordinances may prohibit parking a tiny home on a vacant lot. Research local regulations and obtain necessary permits before doing so.

Do I need a permit to build a tiny home in Illinois?

Yes, you will need a building permit to construct a tiny home in Illinois. The requirements and process for obtaining a permit may vary depending on your location, so check with your local government.

Are there any tiny home communities in Illinois?

Yes, several tiny home communities in Illinois provide a legal alternative for those interested in the tiny house lifestyle.

Are there any tiny home builders in Illinois?

Yes, there are several tiny home builders in Illinois. It’s essential to choose a reputable builder who is familiar with local regulations and building codes.

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