Last Updated on December 2, 2022
Living in an RV is a choice that many people are making today. The freedom and reduction in bills is very appealing. Many people think of living in an RV as an alternative to having a home, but can you live in your RV in your own backyard? It is your property, so why not? Is this illegal or is it something you can do when you own your own home and your own RV?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2016 made a strict revision of the policies regarding living in RVs. It was mandated that they were recreational vehicles only and were not for living. The popularity of RV living had many cities dealing with an influx of RVs on private property with people living inside them permanently. It became important for officials to update local zoning laws to deal with this issue.
The original regulations for RVs did not include those larger than 400 square feet. With the increase in the size of some fifth-wheels and other recreational vehicles exceeding the 400 square foot barrier, the RV manufacturing industry would need clarification to keep all recreational vehicles exempt from Manufactured Home regulations enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The new proposal would define a recreational vehicle as a factory-built vehicular structure with a design for recreational use only and not for permanent residence. For those who own or are thinking of buying an RV, the standards by which it’s made will determine if it’s an RV or not. The new proposal dictates that if the unit is built according to American National Standards Institute guidelines, then it is an RV, and will face local zoning law regulations.
If you have an RV, you cannot legally live permanently in it in most areas of the country. If they certify the RV as a home, local building code regulations will apply as to how and where you can park. In this new proposal, the main distinction will remain that manufactured homes are built to be a permanent residence while the RVs are designed for recreational, camping, or seasonal accommodation only.
Can you Live in Your Camper?
Navigating through residential permits and zoning laws is tedious and often confusing for residential properties. This is the number one reason that people consider living in an RV and living on a piece of land they own or are planning to buy. Most cities do not allow full-time travel trailers to be on the property as living accommodations within the city limits. Make sure you research all zoning laws and city regulations before packing up the house for an RV. Some states do not allow living in an RV at all.
There is no law that prevents you from parking your RV in your backyard (at least not in most states). There are local regulations, however, that mandate requirements for parking an RV on a property. You can discuss these with any local attorney. Some people also like to use the RV for guests who are visiting and while there is not always a law prohibiting this, you should check with the city first.
If you are unable to live within city limits in your RV, then you need to find a piece of land outside of town that is suitable. Living in your RV in your yard is possible but it has to be done under the right circumstances and in the right locations. In most cases, it is best to consider moving to an area outside of town if you want to live in your RV but this will require a few important considerations first.
- You will need to find a clear place of land where you can have utilities
- You need to look into security measures, especially if you are away from the RV for large portions of time
- Pick a location not too far from shopping and business affairs
- You may have to give up better medical care facilities
- You will be more secluded and will only have basic services nearby
The easiest way to live in your RV is to purchase a lot in an RV Co-op. These parks offer the convenience of the hookups you need for an RV and prevent you from being completely secluded. The sites can be small, so your neighbors maybe a little too close, but this may be something you are willing to put up with so you can live in your RV. There are also some neighborhoods that have RV allowances, so be sure to check with the local city council to find out where you can live in your RV.