Can You Live In A Garage: Is it legal (Lets Find Out)

Can you live in a garage or rent it out? The answer is a bit of a tightrope walk between YES & NO. LET’S DIVE IN!

YES, you can live in a garage with a permit, but it must also comply with safety and habitability requirements. Before listing your garage for rent, it’s important to fully comprehend the legal and practical considerations of your area. 

Converting a garage into a livable pad isn’t just about swapping the toolbox for a couch. It involves adding insulation, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical systems to make it suitable for human habitation. 

However, not all garages are fit for conversion due to structural limitations or zoning regulations.

Are you curious to legally turn your garage into your cozy corner or a potential cash cow? Then this article is your GO-TO GUIDE.


  • You can live in a garage legally if you get a permit and turn it into a livable place.
  • The legal nature of garage living changes from city to city. Each locality in the States has its own rules.
  • You can face a penalty if you rent it or start living in it without following the city regulations.
  • You can also report someone living in a garage to the local housing authority as it is against the law.

Can You Live In A Garage: Is It Illegal To Sleep In A Garage?

Yes, it is legal to live in a garage if you convert it into a bedroom and acquire a permit from your local municipality. In most cities, it is against the law to live in unfinished places due to safety reasons. In some cases, you can even face eviction and a fine for residing in a garage.

If you plan to rent out your property, you must meet specific standards that can be obtained from code enforcement. 

Usually, a converted garage property must pass a city inspection to be fit for living. The owner must have the right permits and register the property with the city.

Obtain a permit
Meet safety standards
Adequate insulation, ventilation, plumbing, etc.
City inspection
Registered with the city
Adequate parking structure (if required)

In some cities, the law also requires you to build a structure for parking your vehicle before converting your garage into a bedroom.

can you live in a garage (5) & Is it legal to live in a garage

You can get reported if someone founds you doing illegal conversion of garage.

Is It Safe To Live In A Garage

Living in a garage is not recommended due to potential encounters with some unwanted guests like insects, mice, and other disease-carrying creatures. Not only that garages are amongst the most unhygienic places to take a nape.

Garages lack ventilation, which can lead to carbon monoxide buildup from car exhaust, small engines, stoves, and lanterns. 

This gas is odorless and very dangerous. Its symptoms often do not appear until it’s too late. Even if these items are not in your use, fumes can drift into your garage from neighboring spaces. 

Can You Live In A Garage: Is It Illegal To Sleep In A Garage

To ensure safety, refrain from residing in a garage with automobile parking and abstaining from the use of propane stoves and lanterns.

How Can I Make My Garage Livable

Do you have a garage that you don’t use much? Why not turn it into a cozy and functional living space? 

You can do that by converting your garage into either a guest quarter or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).

A guest quarter is like a mini apartment that has:

  • A Bathroom 
  • A Wet Bar, But No Kitchen

You can use it for your visitors, your hobbies, or your home office. A wet bar is a small area where you can make drinks and snacks. It usually has a sink, a fridge, and a microwave.

An ADU is like a full apartment that has:

  • A Kitchen 
  • A Bathroom
  • Entrance. 

There are multiple ways to utilize the property. You can use it for family gatherings or rent it. In addition, its kitchen is fully equipped with a stove, oven, and dishwasher.

Type of ConversionFeatures
Guest QuarterBathroom, Wet Bar (No Kitchen)
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)Kitchen, Bathroom, Separate Entrance

Converting your garage can be a great way to add value to your home, make some extra money, or meet your changing needs. 

But the conversion also comes with its pros & cons:

Adds space and value to your homeRequires planning permission and regulations
Saves money and time compared to other optionsMay reduce parking space and curb appeal
Allows for creativity and flexibility in designThis may pose challenges with insulation, ventilation, etc.

You must obtain permits, hire professionals and comply with local regulations.

 Additionally, you need to ensure your garage is safe and comfortable for living in by upgrading insulation, wiring, and plumbing.

Turning a garage into a bedroom legally requires an egress window for safety. It should be at most 44″ from the floor and have 6 sq ft of area. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential for garages, which often lack heat and electrical outlets. 

Building permits and an interior wall can address these issues while maintaining storage space.

 can you live in a garage: Is It Safe To Live In A Garage
can you live in a garage:How To Report Someone Living In A Garage

The best part of converting your garage is the freedom to customize it to your style, budget, and needs with various designs and features.

How To Report Someone Living In A Garage

If you witness someone living in a garage, SHOULD YOU REPORT HIM? The answer is yes you should.

Because according to garages are not fit for human habitation. Besides that residing in such spaces can expose you to harsh weather and unhygienic conditions.

“It is a violation of the law to use any part of a building or lot not intended for human habitation as living quarters.”

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

To get someone reported you have to contact your local housing authority. They will guide you through the complaint process which usually requires evidence such as photos or videos.

 Once you provide the proof, they will investigate and take necessary action against the landlord.

Sleeping In A Garage: My Experience

A few years ago when I rented an apartment in LA.  Out of compassion, I allowed a homeless person to stay in my garage.

 After I few days I  noticed that some of my possessions were missing. It was later discovered that the individual had been selling them for drugs. 

The police didn’t get involved because I had previously granted him permission to stay premises.

Some weeks later, he attempted to hit me with a hammer, which aggravated the problem. When the authorities interfered, he was detained.

I know that not everyone is as bad as this. But, the bulk of homeless people are dealing with psychological/drug disorders which makes it difficult to help them

If you still want to help somebody, please use caution. Based on my previous experience, I would suggest you run some background checks before assisting them. 


Is It Legal To Live In A Garage In Washington State?

In Washington State,  you must consider various regulations and factors, such as zoning laws, building codes, and safety regulations, which vary among different jurisdictions. Contact local authorities for guidance.

Is It Legal To Live In A Garage In Arizona?

It is not legal in Arizona to live in a garage without transforming it into a habitable place and acquiring a permit. You can further inquire from your local authorities.

Is It Legal To Live In A Garage In California?

Living in a garage in California is legal if you convert it into a livable space and acquire a permit from the local authorities. Iiving in a garage is considered a violation as it is treated as an unfinished area, and can result in a fine.

Final Thoughts

In short, living in the garage is not a great option. But in some areas where there is a housing crisis, some people have no choice but to convert it into a living space.

To turn it into a Bedroom it must have:

  • One Or Two Windows (At Least 44” Above The Ground)
  • A Closet And A Door
  • A Bathroom

The above requirements change from city to city. That is why it is important to contact your local authorities.

I hope you have found this article (Can you Live in a Garage) helpful. Ask your queries in the comments down below and stay happy.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development, “It is a violation of the law to use any part of a building or lot not intended for human habitation as living quarters.”

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