Dwelling Law and Legal Definition

Generally, dwelling refers to a place to live in or an abode or residence. The meaning of the term varies according to the context in which it is used. In real estate it includes the house and all buildings attached to or connected with the house. In criminal law, dwelling means a building or part of a building, a tent, a mobile home, or another enclosed space that is used or intended for use as a human habitation.

Example of State statutes ( North Carolina) and case law defining dwelling

According to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-442 , "Dwelling" means any building, structure, manufactured home or mobile home, or part thereof, used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith, except that it does not include any manufactured home or mobile home, which is used solely for a seasonal vacation purpose.

According to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 53-244.030, "Dwelling" means a residential structure that contains one to four units, whether or not that structure is attached to real property. The term includes an individual condominium unit, cooperative unit, manufactured home, mobile home, or trailer if it is used as a residence.

Under the Oregon law, a "dwelling" is defined as a "building which regularly or intermittently is occupied by a person lodging therein at night, whether or not a person is actually present." United States v. Adams, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 25866 (9th Cir. Or. Nov. 25, 2009)