Can I Have a Shipping Container in my Backyard?

You probably already know how cool shipping containers are — how versatile, how secure, how cozy and comfortable if they’re converted into a container home. That’s why you’re here! But one question might still be nagging at you as you imagine your dream container: Can I put a shipping container on my land?

This is a good question, and it’s wise to ask it. Although we like to think that our properties are ours to do as we please, there are local, state, and federal regulations that we all must adhere to.

Beyond that, there are often neighborhood regulations, as well as homeowners associations (HOA) that all have a say in whether or not you can have a shipping container home on your property.

Rules and Regulations For Shipping Container Homes

Don’t worry, though. Rules and regulations such as those alluded to in the paragraph above this one are there to protect the value of our property — along with the value of all our neighbors’ properties. And in most cases, shipping containers have been welcomed onto private property without so much as a peep or a hassle from anybody.

Let’s take a closer look.

Our conversation will cover a variety of topics, including property zoning, building codes, municipal and county codes, building permits, residential areas, and more. Consider it a checklist of things to investigate when inquiring about putting a shipping container on your land.

Sound fun? Let’s do this!

Property Rights and Shipping Containers

Property rights and their application to shipping containers used for storage and housing vary by jurisdiction. Local rules also apply regarding how large a structure must be before it’s necessary to apply for a permit. Depending on your location, there may also be building codes and necessary and regular inspections.

Since containers can be placed directly on the ground, there’s no need to install supports — hence no need to dig. Again, you’ll need to check with your local government to make sure you stay legal and up to code.

In some jurisdictions, making modifications to an existing container home — such as cutting doors or windows — may be a red flag for building inspectors. They may require you to hire an engineer to redo the container specification sheet.

And, of course, you’ll need permits for any electrical or plumbing work that’s done on the container home.

Finally, you should be aware of the deed restrictions on your particular piece of property. This is where an HOA might come into play since they are usually tasked with governing this aspect of property use.

Whatever you do, don’t try to hide a shipping container on your property to avoid legal responsibilities. This will only cause problems and headaches to accrue — not to mention significant legal fees and fines — down the line.

Make sure you’re aware of the zoning regulations in your area and adhere to them! Your best bet is to hire a real estate attorney to help you navigate the often complicated rules and regulations concerning shipping container homes and property rights.