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guitarhero1983's avatar

How to live in a yurt?

Asked by guitarhero1983 (135points) September 2nd, 2010

In light of the recession, economy, etc. I’ve been considering buying a build-it-yourself yurt instead of a house and renting an apartment. I assume, though, that you still need to buy a plat of land upon which to build the yurt. How would one go about doing this (finding the land, getting a permit, etc.) and where would be the best place to do it (if I currently live in a metropolitan area)? Also, does anyone here live in one and could attest to what it’s like to live in one? Thanks.

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17 Answers

daytonamisticrip's avatar

What is a yurt?!

frdelrosario's avatar

Weird. A day ago, I would’ve read “how to live in a yurt?” with no idea of what it meant. But “monk’s hut” was a crossword puzzle clue yesterday, so I learned the word “yurt”, which I would’ve figured as a word I’d only ever see again in another crossword puzzle.

Seek's avatar

I don’t see this happening in a metro area. They tend to dislike “eyesores” like… I don’t know… giant wicker tents. Zoning and permitting requirements would be far too stringent.

You might have to go somewhere like a primitive camping grounds – where it is acceptable to have a property that isn’t connected to indoor plumbing or electricity. If a property is zoned for strictly residential development, you might be forced to comply with building permit regulations (which demand certain materials, blah blah blah…)

I just did a pretty thorough Google search, and found this blog, where the author decided to build and live in a yurt – on her family’s farm, and discusses all the legal loopholes they had to go through to do so.

Short answer – it’s not legal to live in a yurt. If you want to build one, you have to call it a “storage shed” and lie your ass off to the authorities overseeing the permitting process.

Coloma's avatar

I almost bought a Yurt in New Mexico a few years ago.

It depends on the state.

You can get around certain permits if you can obtain an agricultural permit which allows a dwelling to be used as long as it does not contain kitchen facilities.

In my case there was already an existing Xmas tree farm on the property, but, if you plant fruit or nut trees or Xmas trees you can get the Ag. permit as long as it is either a working farm or you continue to expand your plantings.

I lived in a dutch barn converted to a home in the early 90’s on property where I live now.

I was allowed a laundry room, bathroom with shower and electricity, but no kitchen, or built in kitchen appliances other than a fridge. I was allowed a wood stove for heat.

I cooked with a crockpot, buffet range and BBQ for 4 years but my payments were dirt cheap and it was a great cozy little place.

You will have to check with your county/state building permits.

zen_'s avatar

I read yogurt by mistake, but I do agree with seek.

To each his own, though, and I’ve seen urban igloos and even converted buses.

Personally, I like the ones that are made of mud bricks

Coloma's avatar

I like the rice bale dwellings, have a really cool one near my house.

Seek's avatar

Wow, all this reading has me wanting to build a yurt. I could totally do it.

Codes, schmodes. I wonder if I know anyone with enough property that you couldn’t see it on a drive-by…

guitarhero1983's avatar

Would the National Forest Service be open to leasing tiny plats, I wonder?

Seek's avatar


No way, José. Federal land – no dwellings unless you’re a park Ranger. There are a few parks that have yurts available for rent in lieu of camping cabins – perhaps you could rent one for a week or so as a test run? See if you can handle it?

Coloma's avatar


Stake a mining claim, gold, whatever.

I am in California gold country, tons of gold mining camps all over still on BLM and state lands.

MissAusten's avatar

I know a family who sold their house, bought a big parcel of land, then built and lived in a yurt while they build their new farmhouse themselves. They did this working full time, with three kids and three large dogs. They lived in the yurt for a year until their house was finished. Then, they started a farm.

I don’t know anything about the legal loopholes they had to go through. You can see pictures of the yurt here , which they mainly built themselves.

zen_'s avatar

What seek said the second time is good advice.

cazzie's avatar

We have a cabin up in the mountains that was built in the 60’s when the laws were still reasonable. No power. No plumbing. Fresh water source, tho. We’re going there this weekend and I dream of giving up the stupid, tiny, overpriced apartment we rent in the city and living in the cabin full time….. but with access to horses to pull up supplies..(no road access we hike 40 minutes to it). I guess it’s our ‘yert’. And it is in a National Park (in Norway), but before the laws were changed, so we are so very, very lucky. We need to sort out a better toilet solution and the place is in dire need of repairs…. We could organise a Fluther Dugnad… anyone wanna help? You’ll get a real Emersonian treat.

Seek's avatar

@cazzie I would, in a heartbeat.

cazzie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr you and your family would be SOOOO welcome. Tell hubby to bring the guitar.

lilikoi's avatar

Yes you need some place to build the thing.

Permitting can be a sticky issue. Rules vary by state or county. I would thoroughly investigate this point since an unpermitted structure can make your property un-financable should you want to sell later.

I’ve never lived in one, but I’ve seen the insides of a few. Looks pretty simplistic but cozy. Furniture may be an issue because you’re dealing with atypical angles.

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