Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse?

do you need a permit to build a treehouse

Building a treehouse is an exciting project to undertake that both you and your kids could enjoy for years to come. However, before you start reaching for your handy tool-belt, there may be legal requirements that need to be met before you can proceed with building the structure. One important thing to find out before getting started is, do you need a permit to build a treehouse?

Generally, there is no need to secure a building permit for a treehouse if it’s mainly a little playhouse for kids. However, this may not be the case depending on the size of the structure, and if you’re building an actual home with plumbing and electricity on a tree.

Whether or not you need a permit for a treehouse will depend on the size and overall purpose of the structure. In any case, it is helpful to be informed about the legalities of treehouses in your area. This article aims to provide you the information you need regarding treehouse permits.

Don’t forget to check out our post on how to build a treehouse without hurting the tree

Do I Need a Permit for a Treehouse?

Having a treehouse in your property is one way of building a bond with the family, especially when kids are around. But building a treehouse will not always be a smooth project when it comes to the legalities. You may still need to do some research regarding the rules about building structures in your specific area.

In most cases, building permits are not required for treehouses. That’s because treehouses built in a family property are solely for the purpose of letting kids enjoy their childhood. This house can simply be a place where kids will play or meet with their friends.

However, treehouses have evolved as some homeowners do get serious with their treehouse plans. These beautiful modern buildings serve as actual homes with electric and plumbing lines.

This means that a treehouse has been made to have whatever amenities a traditional home has. If that is the case, a building permit will be required.

Does a Treehouse Add Value to a Home?

Why should you build a treehouse besides the obvious fact that kids will love it? If you’re thinking about the future and you have plans to sell your property, will the treehouse affect your home’s market value?

The answer will depend on what kind of treehouse you built. If it’s in perfect condition and it adds beauty to your property, then it can raise the resale value. Alternatively, if your treehouse is a rundown structure, it’s better if you have it taken down as it will negatively affect your property’s resale value.

Is It Illegal to Build a Treehouse?

Before you start building a treehouse, you might also wonder if it’s illegal to build one. You might think there’s no way a structure as innocent as a treehouse could be forbidden but you’re wrong. In fact, one dad was ordered to demolish a kid’s treehouse because a neighbor complained to the city officials about it.

You could be planning an elaborate treehouse but what you may not expect is that a neighbor could hate you for it for whatever reason and tell on you. If that happens, all the effort and money you put on building the structure will be for nothing.

For this reason, it’s important to know if it’s illegal to build a treehouse. This will depend on where you live. But generally, if the structure is 100 square feet, then you’ll likely be in trouble if you don’t get a building permit.

In addition, if your treehouse is situated 25 feet from the ground, then it’s likely going to be an illegal building. That said, you will have to secure a building permit just so you don’t have to face any fines or destroy the structure you’ve worked so hard on.

How Do I Get a Permit for a Treehouse?

It’s hard to tell if a treehouse will be illegal or not. It might just be a simple wooden box up on a tree for kids, but to a neighbor, it could be an eyesore that will make them report you. To be on the safe side, it’s best to ask your township if a permit is required for the kind of structure you’re planning to build.

Again, you may not need a permit if it’s in your backyard and it’s only a small treehouse. However, do keep in mind that it’s better to keep it out of sight from annoying neighbors who might want to report you.

If you’re building a complex treehouse that is livable, a permit is necessary. If you have the permit, there is little risk of the township to get your construction to stop. Also, you won’t have to worry about getting your structure demolished in the future.

As for how you can get a permit, here are some tips you can use:

  • Call your township first to check if you should get a permit for your structure.
  • Comply with requirements and provide details of your project
  • Details may include the floor space of your structure
  • You might also be asked if you will put up plumbing or electricity in your treehouse
  • The township may check if you’re not building near the property line
  • Be prepared to make adjustments to your plans
  • Submit plans according to suggestions from your township
  • Pay the necessary fees and then get the official approval.

Permit Requirements Per State

As mentioned, building a treehouse may or may not require a permit depending on the zoning and building codes of your area. In this section, we will review some of the permit requirements for each state.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in Washington

If you live in Washington, just remember that a building permit is not required if you’re having a treehouse that is less than 200 square feet and is built for play purposes.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in Pennsylvania

PA generally doesn’t need permits for building treehouses, as long as the structure doesn’t require ground support, such as pillars and posts, to be erected. Otherwise, the township needs to go to your home and assess your plans so you can have the permit.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in NY

For New York homeowners, treehouse laws are the same as the laws on building sheds. This means that a permit is not necessary if the structure is less than 120 square feet and less than 10 feet high. In addition, the treehouse should be at least three feet from the property lines.

If you want to build a treehouse, it should also be in your backyard. If your home is a landmark area, make sure that your treehouse is not seen from the street.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in Florida

Treehouse laws may differ in different areas of Florida. That said, there may be no laws regarding building treehouses in rural parts. There may be laws in urban areas that will require you to meet some standards. So, you may want to research local codes or check with your township.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in Connecticut

Connecticut doesn’t require building permits for treehouses. Just make sure they are under 200 square feet. Otherwise, you might want to consult with the local council if a permit is necessary.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in Ontario

If building a simple treehouse for a child for play purposes, then it’s generally not required to have a permit in Ontario. You might also want to check with the township if you want a more elaborate structure.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Treehouse in Maine

If you’re in Maine, building permits may be required for accessory structures such as sheds, gazebos, and the like. Treehouse is generally considered an accessory structure so you may want to check with your local council regarding permits.

Can You Insure a Treehouse?

Now that you know the treehouse building permit requirements of some states, you may have also considered having a treehouse insured. But is this possible? This can be done if you have built a modern treehouse complete with plumbing and electricity.

If you’ve paid so much for your complex treehouse and you see it as a magnificent work of art, it might be practical to insure it. Often, this will be insured as an accessory building, just like gazebos. But to be certain, you have to check with your insurance agent as well.

Conclusion: Do You Need A Permit To Build a Treehouse?

A treehouse will make a great structure to add to your property, especially when you have kids. Precious memories will be made when there is a treehouse in your backyard. Before you build one on your backyard, though, make sure you do your homework regarding treehouse laws.

Generally, a building permit is not required for treehouses that are small and built for kids’ play. But if the treehouse is huge and is built using more complicated plans, then a permit may be required.

Whether it’s an innocent structure or a livable one, you can be certain if a building permit is necessary if you consult your local council.