How to Live in an RV on Your Own Land

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An RV is parked on private land to be used as a permanent living residence rather than living in a traditional home.

Have you been full-time RVing for a while and want a patch of land to call your own? Maybe you’re thinking of building a sticks-and-bricks home and want to live in your RV in the meantime. If you find yourself in either of these situations, you’re probably wondering: How do I live in an RV on my own land? Is it even legal? 

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s examine how to live in an RV on your own land, whether or not it’s legal, the zoning requirements, and where you can find all this information.

Can You Legally Live in an RV on Your Own Land?

Let’s get right into it: Is it legal to live in an RV on land you own? The short answer is: Yes, as long as you live in the right place. 

The primary factor to consider is your jurisdiction’s zoning codes. Most cities have rules that require all places of residence (RVs included) to follow the same ordinances. These can include the size of the dwelling, whether it has a heating system, access to water, and appropriate means for disposing of sewage and gray water. 

Therefore, living in your RV doesn’t exempt you from housing codes and zoning requirements. You must still follow the rules and regulations of your city or county. However, a general rule of thumb is the more rural the area, the more relaxed the rules will be. 

For example, you’ll probably have the best luck buying land in an unincorporated area or a community that’s governed by a county or parish instead of its own municipality. While you can find these communities in cities, you’re more likely to find them out in the country.

What Kind of Zoning Requirements Does Your Land Need to Meet?

The zoning requirements differ depending on where your land is. The type of zoning requirements your land must meet depends on your intentions. 

For example, are you planning to live in your RV while you build a house? If so, it might be easier to find land that will accommodate this. It’s common to find zoning rules that allow landowners to live in their RV for up to six months while building a permanent residence. 

Another common example is the one-month rule. Many towns and cities only allow RVs to be occupied for up to one month in a 12-month period. If you plan on living in your RV long-term, make sure this isn’t the case. 

More lenient zoning requirements allow RVs to be permanent residences if they meet the same housing codes as traditional homes. This includes having sewer access or a septic system, access to fresh water, and possibly even electrical. Moreover, some lots are simply too small. 

For example, most places require a half-acre of land to install a septic system, and the septic needs to be at least 50ft away (sometimes 100ft) from any water source. 

So the two main questions you need to ask are: What do my local zone requirements say about living in an RV? And can my land (or the land I want) accommodate those requirements? 

Pro Tip: Read The Worst Things About Full-Time RV Living before you commit to RV life. It’s not always the easiest lifestyle!

Do You Need Sewer Access to Live in Your RV?

Like everything else, your local zoning requirements will dictate whether or not you need sewer access. If your land doesn’t provide that, however, a septic system will fulfill the same requirements. 

Are you planning on using a traditional RV toilet and thus creating “sewage?” If so, you’ll most likely need an approved place to dump your black tank (such as sewage access or a septic system). 

In some rural communities, however, you can apply to get approval for an alternative toilet. These include compost toilets, outhouses, incinerating toilets, and privies. Nevertheless, you’ll need a way to dispose of your greywater, and that may mean needing a septic system regardless of how you choose to do your business. 

In some areas, there are ways around this. For example, you might be able to use a gray water disposal system. Ultimately, it really depends on the local regulations governing your land. 

An RV is parked on private land is being used as the living space for the property owner.

Do HOAs Allow RV Living?

Whether or not a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) allows RV living completely depends on the organization in question. HOAs exist to create and enforce rules that protect the value of a community. 

To put it plainly, they don’t want to see massive, unsightly rigs parked throughout the neighborhood. Therefore, if you have a small, newer class C parked in the back of your lot, you’ll probably have an easier time getting approval from your HOA if you want to live in it. On the other hand, if you have a 30-year-old class A that’s annoying your neighbors, you won’t be quite as lucky. 

If you want to purchase a lot within an established community, you might look for a private RV community designed for full-time RVing. You’ll have fewer hoops to jump through (and less convincing to do) than in a traditional HOA situation. After all, they’ll be expecting that you’ll live in an RV in the first place! This is probably one of the simplest ways to live in an RV on your own land. 

Now that you’ve read all about how to live in an RV on your own land, it’s time to find out if it’s actually possible in your area. 

The best place to find your local zoning and ordinance laws is at your town office or city hall. You may also find this information at your local Department of Housing or city attorney. If you have a local library, they might have the information as well. 

And like everything nowadays, you could find it on the good ol’ internet. If your land is part of an HOA or a gated community, you might be able to find the information you’re looking for right on their website. 

An RV can make a permanent living space on private land with some simple modifications like adding a deck and a sewage dump.

Would You Live in an RV? 

There are many reasons someone would choose to live in an RV on their own land. Maybe they want a home base for half the year. Maybe they want to live in their RV while they build a house. Or maybe they want to live in their RV because housing is insanely expensive where they live! 

Whatever the reason, it’s possible to live in your RV legally. It just depends on your intentions and the jurisdiction in which your land is located. 

Now we want to hear from you. Are you planning on living in your RV on your own land? Let us know in the comments below!

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