RV Guide

Is it Legal to Live in a Camper in your Backyard?

Is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard

Is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard? That is the question. Let’s find out the answer below.

Living in a Camper

Each year, the number of people who choose to live in a camper increases. Because of its many benefits – savings, debt pay-off, and mobility, many have opted to downsize their life and live in a camper instead of in a full-on manufactured house.

In fact, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear people planning to prep their land for RV connections instead of building a house of brick and cement. Afterwards, they’d just park an RV and then live there.

However, this is based on the assumption that they are free to do so. Which begs the question, is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard? Let’s find out.

Is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard?

Right off the bat, let’s get it out of the way. Are there any legal ramifications to living in a camper in your own backyard? First of all, you have to ask yourself three main questions:

  • Do you own the land you’re parking in?
  • Are you planning to live in your camper full-time?
  • Where do you live?

Do you own the land you’re parking in?

Firstly, before we can answer the question, “Is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard?”, you should answer this one first. Why? Because it will rule out whether or not you’re trespassing. In line with this, if your answer is yes, then you’ve cleared the first hurdle. Consequently, parking and living your RV on your own property is alright.

How long are you planning to live in your camper?  

Secondly, the next question is how long you plan to occupy your camper. Are you going to live in your camper short term or long term? Moreover, will you be treating it as a permanent home? If you answered yes to the last question, then you might have a problem.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has classified RVs, trailers, campers, whatever you call them, as for recreational use only. That is to say, they are designed for camping or seasonal use only. For this reason, you are not allowed to treat it as a permanent house.

If you’ll only live in it short term, then you could probably get away with it. However, if you’re planning to live in it permanently in your backyard, you might run into a lot of issues.

Where do you live?

Lastly, where do you live? This is important because different states have different zoning laws. In a nutshell, zoning laws are rules or regulations that specify how land or certain geographical areas can be used, be it residential, industrial, recreational, or commercial.

Rural Areas

For example, do you live in a rural or urban area? Zoning laws in these areas are quite different. Rural areas, in particular, may allow RVs to be parked and treated as a full-time residence. However, the owner of the land has to obtain the proper permits and undergo inspection.

Urban Areas

On the other hand, in urban areas, rules on RV living are much stricter. As a matter of fact, zoning laws in metropolitan areas usually do not allow RV living within the city. In addition, there are urban areas that forbid you from parking even an empty RV on your land.            

So, is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard?

So, is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard? The answer is, it depends. Notably, the issue is contingent mostly on your location and the duration of your stay. However, if you live in the city, it’s not going to happen.

That being said, if it’s your dream to live in a camper on your own property, don’t throw in the towel just yet. In truth, you might have to relocate, and it will be a ton of work, but it’s possible.

What to do

As discussed above, buying a piece of property and parking your camper on it is not as easy or as simple as it sounds because there are many laws governing what you can and can’t do with your RV. Below are some of the things you can do if you’re really dead set on living in a camper.

Check state laws and regulations

Firstly, check the state laws and regulations on trailer living. As we mentioned, zoning laws differ depending on your area. Make sure to do a thorough check. Who knows? You might find a suitable plot that you can purchase. If that happens, all you’d have to worry about is the paper work. As long as you follow the laws governing RV living in your area, you will not run into any problem.

Find a safe and secure location

Secondly, if you’re looking for an area that allows full-time RV living, your best bet might be a secluded plot of land away from town and any type of neighborhood. We discourage you to go for this location because of the inherent security risks it poses. As an example, read about an RV family’s experience that left them with a damaged trailer and stolen equipment.

For this reason, make sure you choose a location that’s near or inside town. Moreover, it’s better to have neighbors because it’ll give you a sense of community. In addition, you’ll have easy access to various services and utilities.

Where to live

If you’re having a hard time looking for areas zoned for full-time RV living, we’ve got a few suggestions for you.

RV Co-Op Parks

Firstly, check out RV Co-Op Parks. When you purchase a lot in an RV Co-Op park, the experience will be the same with owning a permanent lot in a campground. It might not be as private or secluded as you want, but it will definitely be more secure. You’ll also have a chance to be part of a neighborhood, with seasonal activities you can take part in. Read more about owning a deeded RV Lot in an RV Community.

Neighborhood with RV living allottments

Secondly, you can focus your search on neighborhoods that actually have allotted spaces for RV living. For instance, some subdivisions in Alabama have developed parking lots with full hook ups.

Living in a camper on your backyard

Is it legal to live in your camper in your backyard? The answer is not quite yes but not quite no either. It depends on a host of factors such as location, duration, and governing laws. That being said, living in a camper on your own land is not impossible. It’s just that quite a bit of work goes into it. Hopefully, this article cleared things up for you.

Lena Horner
the authorLena Horner
Lena Horner is a LA Galaxy fan who does freelance writing and marketing. A graduate of UCLA with a degree in Marketing, she enjoys the outdoor. Lena enjoys the outdoor and is constantly convincing her partner to live in an RV fulltime.

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