State Fire Marshal: Learn the Laws About Ready-Removables Before Buying
NASHVILLE – The “tiny house” trend is booming across the country, but the illegal conversion of ready-removable shed structures into living spaces could mean big headaches for buyers. In an effort to protect consumers, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging Tennesseans to be aware of state laws governing ready-removable structures and not fall victim to persons trying to make big profits by selling these small structures as legal living spaces.
“Don’t get duped by a seller who promotes or promises a ready-removable as an affordable living space,” said State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “Ready-removable structures are not built with the intention of being used as living spaces.”
What’s a ready-removable? The term “ready-removable” refers to a structure without any foundation, footings, or other support mechanisms that allow a structure to be easily relocated, but which may include electrical wiring. According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-126-303, ready-removable structures include, but are not limited to, stadium press boxes, guard shelters, or structures that contain only electrical, electronic, or mechanical equipment that are solely occupied for service or maintenance of such equipment.
It is against state law to modify ready-removable structures for use as residential, recreational, or emergency housing in Tennessee.
“Building codes are necessary life-safety measures, and ready–removable structures do not pass the code for sleeping spaces,” said Commerce & Insurance Deputy Commissioner Gary West. “The State Fire Marshal’s Office cannot issue certificates for electrical power to ready-removables that are used as housing.”
Ready-removables with electrical wiring can be used for work spaces or storage, but must still meet applicable state and local electrical permitting requirements, local building permitting requirements, and have hardwired smoke alarms installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Ready-removables cannot have plumbing systems.
If you want to report a violation of the state’s ready-removable law, call (615) 741-7192 or email Modular.Buildings@tn.gov.