Local Missouri Laws You Need to Know Before Buying a Portable Building

Sep 30, 2022 | Building Types

Before you jump into buying a portable building in Missouri or plan to construct your new garage, deck or porch, etc. in your newly bought property, you’ll need to know the setback regulations for your local area, which determine how close you can build to your property line as per local Missouri laws.

Most cities and municipalities have local regulations in place that determine where you can build a detached structure—like your new garage—even on your own property. Therefore, before buying any portable property it is essential to know whether the local rules and regulations have been adhered to during construction.

These local regulations are called setbacks—but what are they exactly, and how do you get the information you need? Read on to find out.

Important Points to Know Before Purchasing a Portable Building


In almost all cases, outhouses are illegal in Missouri.  They are only allowed in places that are not continuously occupied, and in remote areas not served by piped water.

Deck or Porch Additions

All additions of decking to a residential dwelling must be permitted by the city. If the construction is not being done by a licensed contractor, a to-scale drawing must be submitted with a Deck Permit Application (PDF) for review by the city’s Building Inspector.

Bulk, Setback, and Spacing Regulations

All portable buildings shall comply with the bulk, setback, and spacing regulations applicable in the zoning district in which they are located and with the following additional regulations:

  • Portable buildings in residential districts shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the rear lot lines. In all other districts, the portable building shall maintain the same rear yard as is required for a principal structure located on the lot.
  • Portable buildings shall maintain the same side yard as is required for the principal structure located on the same lot.
  • Portable structures shall otherwise comply with the bulk height regulations applicable in the district in which they are located.
  • No portable structure shall be permitted in any required front yard.
  • On corner lots, portable structures must setback half the setback distance of the adjacent structure facing the side street.
  • All portable structures used for temporary vending as established in G.O. 4927 shall be excluded from these requirements.

Missouri Zoning Laws and Off-Grid Living

In many states, zoning laws may prohibit you from using your land in certain ways or set requirements such as minimum lot sizes.  When purchasing a portable building in areas with no zoning, you will be mostly free to do whatever you want on your land.  Luckily, there is still a lot of land in rural Missouri which has absolutely no zoning. You will still need to adhere to local building codes though (which are put in place to protect you and your neighbors).


However, there are surprisingly many places in Missouri that don’t even have building codes.  For example, while searching for portable structures you can look into Osage County which does not have building requirements or zoning.

Bennett Spring Building Center, located in Dallas County, MO, has portable buildings, backyard sheds, garages, and more. All our portable buildings are constructed following local Missouri laws and regulations and we have all inspection papers ready. Get in touch with us today to take a look at the best portable structures available!