Can You Live In A Shed Legally?

During the hot summer months, it is not that uncommon to want to get rid of the kids. Especially in large families, that many people on top of one another can create a lot of short tempers. As such parents look for ways to get rid of the kids, and moving them into a shed. As such some simply move the kids into a shed, asking the question, “Can you live in a shed legally?”

The quick answer is…

The quick answer is “no”.  A shed is not built to any sort of real building code, and is just there to make sure that the weather does not affect what is stored within it. Because it lacks a number of basic amenities, ranging from real weather-proofing, bathrooms, and plumbing, a shed is legally seen as unfit for human habitation; this means that no one is supposed to live in one, even temporarily, as the shed is just not set up for the basics of habitation. However, that is just the quick answer.

Some Exceptions

Obviously, mileage will vary on that statement. Some jurisdictions are willing to ignore people living in a shed as long as the weather is at least on the warm side, and recognize that there are some advantages to having such an option available. For example, large families use the shed as a spare bedroom for older children and it is not that uncommon for a shed to become a man cave, especially during a sport season. This means that the shed can be used as a temporary living facility as long as the issue is not pressed and it can make things interesting if the police become involved.

What About Building Codes?

For those interested in preparing the shed a little bit the shed can become a habitat. This means that it needs to be brought up to the local building codes and that the resulting building must be maintained. However, the home owner should look into local laws as some cities prohibit a secondary building on the property. Also, local home owner associations may have a word to say about the additional fixture, especially if it is likely to be used as a rental. In all honesty, you should run any ideas for your backyard through the local association, but a shed being built up is a special case.


So, the answer to the question “Can You Live In A Shed Legally?” is a conditional yes. while it is not legal to move into a shed, or at least live in one, it is something that can be made to happen. However, with a few modifications and the local constabulary looking the other way, one can set up home in a shed for a little while without any major risk. Just make sure that the extension cord is weatherproof and that there is a solid foundation, and you should be okay. This can help you save quite a bit on bills, especially if limit the number of cords that can be used, give the kids a sense of independence, and better yet get them out of the house during the summer months, making it a win for everyone.

Now that you know the ins and outs here, it is time to build a shed!  Look at our review of My Shed Plans for some great info on the next steps.