Is It Legal to Live in an RV Camper in Your Backyard or Your Property?

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If you think living in a spacious home is all you need to enjoy your living, it is not true. The majority of Americans prefer living in a small house. It saves not only their living cost but also a way to save energy. This also requires less cleaning and maintenance while you still enjoy a cozy and intimate living.

That said, there is nothing more excited than living in a home that you can carry with you wherever you go. Especially in America, people prefer living full-time in their recreational vehicle than living in sticks and bricks house. Living in your RV means you have almost all the necessities, such as kitchen, bathroom, dining room, etc. while still enjoying the outdoor living.

But is it legal to live in the RV camper in your backyard? It is the ubiquitous question every RVer has in their mind while considering to experience RV living.

Answering this query is not as simple as it seems. There are multiple Federal and state laws related to RV living that you have to consider first.

is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard

In this post, I’m going to explain everything in detail that you need to know so that you can enjoy your RV living without running yourself into any problem. So, let’s get started!

Is it Legal to Live in an RV Camper on Your Backyard or Property?

No, It’s actually illegal to live in an RV on your backyard or property. It is complicated. As I have just stated that your RV is recognized as a vehicle that you can use for camping, traveling, and other recreational purposes, it means even if your RV meets all the requirements of manufactured housing, living full-time in your RV on your own property means you are breaking the laws.

In 2016, the HUD (Department of Urban Development) in another statement clearly stated that recreational vehicles could not be used for permanent living, which causes an uproar among RVers.

However, it is worth highlighting that the regulation didn’t extend to vehicles larger than 400 sq. ft. Due to this fact, most RV manufacturers now started manufacturing RVs surpassing 400 sq. ft. These RVs also features additional decks and patios, which makes them nearly a traditional permanent residence.

The bottom line is, even though you have an RV and you are living in it on your own property, it is illegal, and you are breaking the laws.

Federal Law on Living in an RV

You should know that you can live in an RV. But if you plan to live there for full-time all year round, regardless of the fact that you have parked your RV on your own property, you are breaking the law. According to the United States government, you cannot use your recreational vehicle as your permanent residence. It is entirely different from your sticks and bricks home.

Moreover, the Department of Housing and Urban Development classified RVs as vehicles for traveling, camping, and other recreational purposes.

Local Laws Regarding Living in an RV

When you’re considering living in an RV, the story doesn’t end at state laws. You have to deal with local zoning laws as well. Although it is clear that to live in an RV in your backyard is illegal, you should also know that you can live in your RV for a shorter period.

However, that too requires you to familiarize yourself with local zoning laws first. Your RV should meet the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards or NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) vehicle standards.

Regardless of what area you are going to live in your RV, if the zoning laws exist there, you can only live for thirty consecutive days legally. However, there are some counties where RVs can be used for a permanent living if grouped together with motorhomes.

It means you can live in your camper on your own property, but you have to get the same permit first. This will ensure that your RV meets all the vital living requirements such as water and sewer hookups, electrical facility, and drainage system.

Rural and Urban Laws Regarding RV Living

In addition to keeping zoning laws in your mind when parking your RV, you should also keep in mind that both rural areas RV parking and Urban areas RV parking has different laws. Some states don’t allow you to park your RV for full-time living within the city limits, while in some states, you are not even allowed to park your RV on your own property.

If you are living in urban area settings and you have surpassed the thirty-days limit, there are chances that you might get reported by your neighbors. As a result, you will find yourself paying a painful amount to local authorities as a fine.

Ok, all the above discussion aside, the real question is how to live in an RV in your backyard?

How to Live in an RV Camper on Backyard or Your Property?

Don’t worry! You don’t have to give up on your dream of experiencing RV living. You should research local laws thoroughly and then start finding an appropriate location on your property where you can live legally without running yourself into any issues. However, you should also get a permit and pass the inspections.

But what are the options if you cannot find a place on your property to live in your RV?

Well, some alternative option that you have got included;

1. Find a Mobile Home Park or Co-Op Park

mobile home park

Since there are nearly 45,000 mobile parks throughout the United States, you can easily find one. There you can rent or purchase the land to park your RV to enjoy full-time RV living. This is the best option you’ve got with plenty of locations to choose from.

If you have found a perfect RV living place on a mobile home or co-op park, you’ll get the benefit of having hookups, water, and cable facilities. Moreover, if you are lucky enough, you might get other luxuries, such as swimming pools, etc.

2. Find A Neighborhood with Camper Allowances

If you don’t like the first idea because of the fact that co-op and mobile home parks are too congested and noisy, then you have the option to discover locations that allow RV living. For instance, in Alabama, you can buy many lands to park and live in your RV permanently.

You might also find some places with full hookups and spacious enough to park two RVs at once. Moreover, some places also have luxuries like pools and clubhouses.

3. Find a Place in Rural Settings

Are you ready to sacrifice some perks and conveniences to experience full-time RV living? If yes, then you should look for a place in rural settings to park your RV. In this regard, the Arizona state is the best where you can purchase land to legally live in your RV.

However, you should also know these areas don’t usually have basic necessities nearby as they are quite isolated. You will have to take care of water, sewer, and electricity by yourself.

Wrapping Up

So, that is all about, is it legal to live in an RV on your own property. Some states have very strict laws in the United States and don’t allow you to use your recreational vehicle as your full-time residence. While in some states, you can live in your RV full-time. However, it is recommending to check state and local laws before you move into your RV. Each state and county has its own RV living laws. Make sure to thoroughly research so that you don’t run yourself into legal issues.


Can I save money by living in an RV full-time?

It depends where you stay and how much you travel. However, living in an RV still cost you significantly less than living in a home.

Do I need a permit to live in an RV full-time?

Yes, living full-time in your RV, even on your own property, means you have to get a permit and pass the essential inspections.

How many days can I live in an RV legally?

Although you can live in an RV for consecutive thirty days, you are required to follow the local and zoning laws. After you have surpassed the limit, your neighbors might report you to local authorities, and you will find yourself paying a considerable fine.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.