Recreational Cabins


Certain structures that are used solely by an individual or family for seasonal recreational use, such as hunting / fishing camps, may be excluded under Pennsylvania law from certain construction requirements of the code. In order to be excluded from these construction requirements, a sworn Affidavit must be filed with the Building Code Official indicating the structure will be used solely as a “recreational cabin”. When filing a Recreational Cabin Affidavit, all other regulatory requirements must be met, including zoning and sewage permit requirements.

Structures served only by a privy (outhouse), composting or an incinerating toilet can not met the plumbing requirements of the Building Code, and therefore, by default, must be declared as a Recreational Cabin. Septic & Privy Information

Under state law, a “Recreational Cabin” is defined as a structure that is:

Utilized principally for recreational activity ONLY

  • NOT utilized as a residence for any period of time
  • NOT utilized for any commercial purposes, including rental units
  • NOT greater than two stories in height
  • NOT utilized by the owner, or any other person, as a place of employment
  • NOT a mailing address for bill or other correspondence
  • NOT listed as an individual’s place of residence o a drivers license, tax record, car registration, passport, or voter registration.

Approval of this Exclusion is contingent upon the installation of at least one smoke detector, one fire extinguisher and one carbon monoxide detector in BOTH the kitchen and sleeping quarters of the cabin. AN INSPECTION OF THIS INSTALLATION IS REQUIRED PRIOR TO OCCUPANCY OF THE CABIN

It is very important to note that once a dwelling is declared as a Recreational Cabin, the limitations described above will follow the building to subsequent owners of the property. The Affidavit is recorded at the County Courthouse. Owners should be aware that claiming a structure as a recreational cabin may lessen the value of the building for resale purposes.

If a recreational cabin is subject to to the exclusion, upon transfer of ownership of the recreational cabin, written notice must be provided in the sales agreement and the deed that the recreational cabin:

(i) is exempt from the Uniform Construction Code;
(ii) may not be in conformance with the Uniform Construction Code; and
(iii) is not subject to municipal regulation.

Failure to comply with the deed notice requirement shall render the sale voidable at the option of the purchaser.
Persons considering this Cabin exemption are urged to carefully consider their options.