Living in a tiny house on wheels can be the time of your life. Whether you intend to travel across the country and visit a new place every day or week, or you just want to move your house around a few times every year, tiny house living (on wheels) is all about freedom and mobility.

However, you still have to consider road limits in your area, and whether or not you can legally tow your tiny house on the road.

So what are the limits that tiny house homeowners have to think about before their first expedition? Road limits in the United States are set by local laws rather than a national standard, but the general limits for trailers you can expect are:

  • Trailer length: 40’ - 50’
  • Trailer width: 8’6”
  • Trailer height: 13’6”

In this article we will discuss the tiny house limits for the United States, tiny house limits in other countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France), and ways to limit your size or acquire temporary oversize permits.

Road Limits for Tiny Houses on Wheels in the United States

Road Limit Dimensions (Length, Width, and Height)

road limits for tiny houses on wheels illustration

One surprising aspect of tiny house living in the United States is that there is no national road limit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US should technically be in charge of all national road legalities, but the responsibility for setting road limits is distributed to authorities and councils in each state. 

This means a tiny house on a trailer might be road legal in one state, but could face penalties for crossing into a state where it doesn’t fit the road limits. Your tiny house build should always account for towing with these limits.

The good news is that for most parts of the country, the road limits are pretty close to one another. If you build a tiny house to a certain average width, length, and height, you won’t have to worry about breaking any road limits while driving across state lines. 

The average road legal tiny house dimensions are:

  • Total length: 65’
  • Trailer length: 40-50’
  • Motor home length: 45’
  • Width: 8’6”
  • Height: 13’6”

Below we have compiled the specific road limit dimensions for trailers for each state in the US:

StateTotal LengthTrailer LengthMotor Home LengthWidthHeight
California65’ – 75’28’6”40’8’6”13’6”
Delaware60’ (65’ with tow)40’45’8’6” for trailers, 8’ for motor homes13’6”
District of Columbia55’40’40’8’ (8’6” on certain roads)13’6”
Georgia100’53’Not specified8’6”13’6” – 14’
Iowa65’53’ (45’ if travel trailer)45’8’6”13’6”
Kansas65’Not specified45’8’6”14’
Maryland55’ (65’ if travel trailer)35’40’ (45’ for interstates)8’6”13’6”
MississippiNot specified53’45’8’6”13’6”
Missouri65’45’45’8’6”13’6” – 14’
Montana65’Not specified55’8’6”14’
Nevada70’Not specifiedNot specified8’6”14’
New Hampshire53’Not specified45’8’6”13’6”
New Jersey65’53’45’8’6”13’6”
New Mexico65’40’45’8’14’
New York60’48’40’8’13’6”
North Carolina60’40’45’8’6”13’6”
North Dakota75’53’50’8’6”14’
Ohio65’Not specified45’8’6”13’6”
Rhode IslandNot specified40’45’8’6”13’6”
South Carolina53’40’45’8’6”13’6”
South DakotaNot specified45’45’8’6”14’
TennesseeNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specified8’13’6”
Texas65’28’6”Not specified8’14’
Vermont75’Not specified56’8’6”13’6”
Washington75’Not specified40’8’6”14’
West Virginia65’40’45’8’6”13’6”

What About Tiny House Weight?

Roads in the US do not generally have limits on the weight of your tow load, making it easier to build heavier and bigger tiny houses with all your desired features: kitchen, bathroom, living space, and more. However, it is typically recommended to keep your tiny house’s total weight below 10,000 pounds.

If your house weighs above 10,000 pounds, you will be legally required by some states to obtain a special non-commercial license. For more information on whether your state or surrounding states will require this license, check out this page or check your area’s laws.

International Tiny House Road Limits

The tiny house movement isn’t limited to the United States alone, and as many of our international readers can tell you, there are tiny houses all over the world. However, the spread and popularity of tiny houses in an area is generally limited by the laws and legalities surrounding them.

So what are the road limits in the most popular tiny house countries outside of the United States? Below we discuss the tiny house road limits for four countries with strong and growing tiny house communities: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France.

Canada Tiny House Road Limits

Canada is similar to the United States in respect to road limits for vehicles and tiny houses on wheels, wherein the exact legal dimensions depend on the laws of each state. For Canada, the average road limits for towing tiny houses are as follows:

  • Total length: 23m (75’5”)
  • Trailer length: 12.5m (41’)
  • Width: 2.6m (8’6”)
  • Height: 4.15m (13’7”)

Here are the specific road limits for each Canadian state:

StateTotal LengthTrailer LengthMotor Home LengthWidthHeight
Alberta20m12.5mNot specified2.6m4m
Northwest Territories21mNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specified
British Columbia20m12.5mNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specified
ManitobaNot specified12.5mNot specified2.6m4.15m
New Brunswick23m12.5mNot specified2.6m4.15m
Newfoundland and Labrador23m12.5mNot specified2.6m4.15m
Nova Scotia23m12.5mNot specified2.6m4.15m
Nunavut25mNot specifiedNot specified3.2m4.2m
Ontario23mNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specified
Prince Edward Island23m14.6mNot specified2.6m4.5m
Quebec23m12.5mNot specified2.6m4.15m
Saskatchewan23m12.5mNot specified2.6m4.15m
Yukon25mNot specifiedNot specified2.6m4.9m

Note: If your state does not specify a certain dimension, you can choose to inquire from your authorities, or follow the specified dimensions from the nearest adjacent state to your area. 

Australia Tiny House Road Limits

With almost no tiny house regulations in Australia, many Australians are beginning to take up the tiny house lifestyle. As there are a few regulations restricting where homes can be built, most tiny houses in the country are built on wheels. Mobile homes can be parked anywhere – your own land or the land of a friend or neighbor.

Tiny homes are usually categorized as caravans or medium trailers, which many Australian states have regulations for. For towing road limits, there is a simple national limit on dimensions:

  • Width: 2.5m
  • Length: 12.5m
  • Height: 4.5m

While you can build your house as long as 12.5m, Australian builders generally discourage tiny home owners from doing so, as unlike the United States, there are stricter regulations on the weight of tow loads, capping out at 4.5 tons (9920lbs). Above this, you will be required to attain a permit which can possibly make it much more difficult to move your tiny house.

New Zealand Tiny House Road Limits

Road limits in New Zealand are determined by the New Zealand Transport Agency, or NZTA. Tiny houses on wheels are classified as light simple trailers in New Zealand, as long as they abide by the following criteria:

  • 1-3 axles arranged in close proximity along an axle set
  • Maximum dimensions of:
    • Width: 2.55m
    • Length: 12.5m
    • Height: 4.3m
    • Gross vehicle mass (GVM): 3500kg
  • Other requirements found here

Again, while 12.5m is the maximum length of a tiny house trailer, most New Zealand contractors strongly discourage potential owners from building this long, due to the impracticality of it for several reasons:

  • The maximum GVM of 3500kg is already difficult to stay under when towing an 8m-long trailer
  • There are no galvanizing plants in the country longer than 9.5m
  • You would not have a balanced load above 8m because the axle centre to rear maximum length is just 4m
  • New Zealand has many smaller special roads that circle with tight turns, making it impossible to have safe clearance in most areas out of the city

The recommended maximum length when building a complete tiny house with a kitchen and bathroom is 7.2m with an additional drawbar of 1.5m.

For a more thorough understanding of the required dimensions of a light simple trailer in New Zealand, refer to the image below (provided by the NZTA light simple trailer fact sheet):


Europe (France) Tiny House Road Limits

You don’t often read or hear about tiny houses in Europe, and that’s partly due to their stricter regulations on weight. Whereas the average tiny house in the US can weigh over 10,000 pounds (with supersized tiny houses weighing up to 16,000 and even 20,000 pounds), the average European towing weight limit for roads is just 3.5 tons, or about 7700 pounds. 

As for specific dimensions for size, France has their standard trailer dimensions set at the following:

  • Width: 2.5m
  • Height: 4m
  • Trailer length: Not specified, although with a 7700-lb weight limit, tiny houses can’t be much longer than 6-8m

Another unique requirement in France is that anything towed on a trailer must be removable from the trailer, meaning tiny houses on wheels need to be built in a way that they are not permanently fixed to their trailer.

With these strict limits in place, what kind of tiny houses would we be looking at in Europe, or specifically France? Check out this legal tiny house built by Bruno Thiéry of Normandy, France. Known as the “Appalachia”, this tiny house comes in at just 95 square feet, without sacrificing any of the basics of modern living (full kitchen, bathroom, and more):

Common Tiny House Problems with Road Limit Width and Height

If your tiny house is being built by a contractor, then they should be experienced when sizing the house perfectly for your area’s (and surrounding areas’) road limits. Contractors will usually give you a few inches of space on either side for overhang and wall thickness, ensuring you can build what you need to build without going over the limits.

However, if your mobile tiny house is DIY with some contracted professional help, you might run into some problems with width and height. Make sure that your entire team is aware of your sizing limits, and that every inch is measured and accounted for. Here are some of the most common problems with tiny house sizes:

  • Eaves and guttering: Some tiny house owners find themselves with eaves and guttering that extend 1-2 inches over the limit, and this overhang can be the difference between legally towing your tiny house and requiring a permit. 
  • Rain screen: One common thing that tiny house owners overlook is some of the building requirements for their walls, one of which is a rainscreen in some coastal areas, which can add some thickness to your walls.
  • Roof: The type of roof you choose for your tiny house can determine whether you will break the height limit or not. Think carefully about the kind of roof you would like (flat roofs seem intuitive to limit your height, however they can be problematic and require more maintenance and repair since debris, rain, and snow will stick to the surface instead of sliding off). Here are some common tiny house roof types:
  • Shed roof
  • Gambrel roof
  • Saltbox roof
  • Arched roof
  • Gable roof

Tiny Houses on Wheels Over Road Limits: What to Do

Not all tiny houses on wheels are built under their community limits. If you do not intend to frequently travel with or move or your tiny house on a trailer, then building an oversized mobile tiny house might be an option to consider. 

There is a growing trend of 10-foot and 12-foot wide tiny houses on trailers, with their owners simply securing temporary oversize permits whenever they move the house. Obtaining a permit can be easy in some places, with no more than a $65 fee and a few simple requirements.

However, it is important that you are absolutely familiar with your community road permit laws before choosing to build an oversized tiny house. There are some cases where tiny house owners report not being able to secure a permit at all, due to strict restrictions in their local laws, requiring them to move the tiny house from the trailer and onto a lowboy trailer.

In one example, a tiny house owner found that their tiny house was oversize due to a few size misjudgments, making it illegal to tow on the street without a permit. However, their state laws (British Columbia, Canada) prohibited them from moving oversized tiny houses on their own axles. This meant that the house would have to be moved onto a lowboy trailer which would be incredibly costly.

Thankfully, they were able to find a loophole around the law, where the application for the permit was submitted for a cabin rather than a tiny house. Without the loophole, they would have found themselves stuck in a pretty rough spot.

So remember: before anything else, always find out the local laws of your area and the areas you intend to visit with your tiny house.

Ready For Your First Taste of Mobile Living?

Once you’ve figured out the limits for your area and planned and built the perfect tiny house design appropriately, you should be ready to take off on your legal tiny house trip. 

There’s nothing more exciting than the first time you take your tiny house out on the road and realize the possibilities of tiny house living – the freedom and mobility of living your life as a journey. Good luck!

About Us

Manuela and Ivan from Tiny House Bloom

Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).

This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.