For many people, living in an RV or motor home is the easiest and most convenient way to get onto their piece of land. The RV life is simple and better than making use of RV parks most of the time.
There is a lot to learn from experience, which is why so many people are unsure whether they can legally live in an RV.
The question of whether you can legally live in an RV on your own land is often asked, and the answers differ. You can legally live in an RV on your own land in several places if you apply for the required permits.
Before living in your RV full time, make sure you have a suitable septic tank and local access to public services.
Permits for RV living can be difficult to obtain, and there is a lot of contradictory information available. (Learn How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving)
We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible in our guide, so you should have a better idea of whether you can start living full-time in your camper or RV on your property.
Is Living in a Camper Considered Homeless?
If you are parking RV in backyard and living in it and tied to a property, you wouldn’t be classed as homeless. Families living in RVs that travel around long term would be considered homeless as they have no fixed abode.
Can You Live in Camper On Your Own Land?
Yes, you can legally live in an RV on your own land. However, this will vary by city, county, or state. You can find larger cities with ordinances and codes, which effectively require your RV parking to follow local laws regarding the requirements laid out a house needs to comply with.
You may even ask, can you live in an RV on someone’s property, and much of the regulations apply if you will be there for extended periods. If you want to live this way, you’ll often find urban areas are stricter than rural areas for RV owners.
How Long Can You Live in An RV On Your Own Land?
Many rural areas allow private property owners who purchase a lot to live in a camper if they construct a conventional home. You often discover a time limit of usually six months where the camper can no longer be considered your primary residence and you will be deemed”camping” on your land.
Local zoning laws can differ from one region to the next, and much of the zoning law regarding this is if you are parking your RV or camper in built-up areas.
What States Allow You to Live in an RV On Your Property?
Here are some of the steps you’ll need to follow to live in your RV full-time and staying on the legal side of proceedings. For the average homeowner, most of these measures could be taken care of by the developer who built the house you live in.
However, since full-time RV living is still a new thing, to gain the cost savings and overall independence, RVers have to shoulder a little more responsibility to achieve this.
Permit conditions differ by location and by county-level most often; however, city codes and HOA covenants may impact your chance to live full time in your RV. Contact your county building office for the latest building codes and zoning requirements.
When two or fewer RVs are parked on private land, you could find no special requirements. Yet, if you wish to install permanent structures like decking or an outbuilding, you’d possibly need a permit. You could discover you need a septic system and an approved driveway. (Learn How Much Does It Cost To Ship An RV Overseas)
Do Mobile Home Laws Apply to an RV?
You could find special laws and permits with manufactured or mobile homes. Since RVs are mobile, it’s confusing if such laws apply to park your RV (recreational vehicle). Often, manufactured home permits and installation requirements won’t apply to RVs.
The manufactured home definition is dwellings of at least 320 square feet with a permanent chassis to enable initial and continued transportation of the home. The RV manufacturing industry asked for clarification as they were making RVs at over 400 square foot.
The definition won’t cover most recreational vehicles, yet you can check your state and county laws to be certain they don’t apply where you are parking an RV.
Mobile home is a common term and applies to many structures. Check the county definition since many structures are classed as mobile homes when built before 1976.
Do I Need a Septic for RV?
You may not need a full building permit to live in your RV full-time. However, you may need to install a permitted well and or septic tank. It is much the same as if you were in an RV park where there are hookups for your recreational vehicle. For a residence, you’d need to stick to such regulations.
If your county won’t allow alternative systems for water and sewer connections or have sustainable permaculture methods, remember most codes dictate nothing more than septic to be installed by law.
Address for my RV?
You will usually get an address for your land if it has an RV on it and no other structures. It’s rare to get an address without first getting a construction permit.
Most counties have a set of rules and a checklist that you can download that outlines the requirements for applying for an address. In some counties, getting and building a proper driveway is all that is needed.
Consult an experienced road builder in your area if you have questions about the cost or specifications for your driveway. Many professional road builders have built rural driveways that comply with state and county regulations.
Driveway standards typically consider local safety and emergency vehicles’ needs and include minimum widths, means of connecting to the main road, and, if the length exceeds a certain threshold, a turnaround.
Can You Live in a Camper Behind Your House?
Typically, it’s illegal to live in an RV full time within city limits. Yet, many county and state jurisdictions don’t have laws to make living in your RV illegal, when you follow guidelines. Many cities in the USA have ordinances to prohibit you to live in your RV full time within city limits.
Property Zoning & Regulations
You may find zoning issues in many jurisdictions. Most residential land falls under county or city zoning laws or homeowner’s association agreements. According to the new proposal in 2016, if the unit is constructed according to American National Standards Institute requirements, it is an RV and must comply with local zoning laws.
States to Live in an RV Full Time
Many states may allow you to live full time in a camper in your backyard or RV in your backyard legally, and some states are popular to do so.
- South Dakota
- Washington State
You will need to check for any zoning laws with the Department of Housing and Urban Development before you decide to dump your travel trailer on your property as a permanent residence.
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