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Are Shipping Container Homes Legal in Florida? Facts & FAQ

Shipping container home under construction

Shipping container homes are growing in popularity across the United States. As housing costs continue to rise, people are looking for clever alternatives to help them save money in the long run. One such way is with a shipping container home. Shipping container homes are quaint, but they are very affordable, especially compared to a new traditional house. Florida is a place with rising home prices and a lot of stringent building codes. So, are these new shipping container homes legal in Florida?

The answer is yes. Shipping container homes are legal in Florida, but they must adhere to all local zoning laws and building codes. This means that shipping container homes will not be able to be built everywhere in Florida but will be legal in specific locations.

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Zoning Requirements

Shipping container homes fall under housing and urban development (HUD) codes that regulate mobile homes, modular homes, and factory manufactured homes. These types of dwellings can only be built in specific zoning areas and cannot be built everywhere. The zoning restrictions will vary by county.

The types of zoning in Florida include residential (R), agricultural (Ag), and residential-agricultural (AR). There are different classifications of zoning within each category, denoted by numbers ranging from 1 to 15.

For example, a shipping container home might not be allowed in residential zones R1 to R5, but it might be perfectly legal in zones R6 to R9. Most modular homes are legal in all agricultural zones and most residential-agricultural zones.

Before buying or leasing any land for the purpose of building a shipping container home, be sure to check the zoning rules to ensure that the home will be legal in your area.

red shipping container house
Photo Credit By: ChompooSuppa, Shutterstock

Wind Requirements

Another requirement for Florida homes involves wind mitigation and roofing codes. If your shipping container home does not meet standard roofing codes or cannot pass a wind mitigation report, then you could have trouble getting the dwelling insured. When building the shipping container home, you should strive to have it meet all of the required wind codes to help with the insurance process.

Some areas will require your home to be built to specific codes. In areas near the coast, shipping container homes might not be able to be built to regulations. You should always use a builder or contractor who has experience in Florida and with shipping container homes to get the best results. If you try to order a home from out of state, you might run afoul of Florida’s strict building regulations. Local builders will be much more familiar with the codes than out-of-state builders.

A shipping container home in the woods
Image Credit: ANGELOXWU, Pexels

Evacuation Considerations

The last thing to consider is evacuation zones. Since shipping container homes fall under the same regulations as mobile and modular homes, they are at a higher risk of being involved in any evacuation orders given in the state of Florida. Florida is prone to experiencing severe weather such as hurricanes and flooding. These events will likely result in an evacuation order for shipping container homes. That will be especially true in any area near the coast or near a body of water like a river or lake.

If you are curious, check the evacuation zone maps for any area where you are looking at building a shipping container home. Also, keep in mind that in the event of a severe weather event, you could be forced to leave your home by local government officials.

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Shipping container homes are legal in Florida, but they do come with some extra considerations compared to other states. Florida has some very strict zoning and building restrictions. Shipping container homes will only be able to be built in some locations. Some zoning bars them from being built in specific areas. Even in places where shipping container homes are allowed, they might be difficult to insure or subject to evacuation orders ahead of severe weather. It is important to consider all of these things before building a shipping container home in Florida.

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Featured Image Credit: Lucas de Lara, Pexels


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