Is It Legal to Live in an RV with a Child in Ohio?


Is It Legal to Live in an RV with a Child in Ohio lg

Living in an RV can be a great way to save money before settling down into a permanent residence or a temporary thing after a divorce. But either way, if you live in Ohio, you may be wondering if it’s legal to live in an RV with a child in Ohio.

I did some research, and here’s what I found out:

As a general rule, it is not illegal to live in an RV with a child in Ohio. While there may be local ordinances or HOA rules in certain areas, the primary concern will be ensuring the child’s basic needs are being met; food, power, water, education, and clothing.

With that being said, there are some steps you’ll need to take to ensure the best living conditions for your child.

In this article, we’ll look more closely at whether you can live in a camper in Ohio. We’ll focus on Ohio in general and look at limitations and restrictions regarding living in an RV in Cleveland and Columbus, specifically.

Just keep reading!

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Is it legal to live with a child in an RV in Cleveland, Ohio?

In Cleveland, Ohio, the best place to live in an RV with (or without) a child is in an RV park. Many neighborhoods have ordinances requiring RVs to be stored and not connected to power or water. Not having access to those could be viewed by CPS as unfit living conditions.

There are no federal statutes that forbid you from living in your RV.

But if you live within the city of Cleveland, you need to make sure to adhere to local zoning ordinances when parking your RV on your property or living in your RV.

It really depends on where in Cleveland you want to live. If you want to live in a residential district, you’ll run into some problems when it comes to RV living.

For example, in Cleveland Heights, you cannot live in an RV.

It has to be parked in a garage and cannot be hooked up to sewage or water. So, while it may not be illegal to live with a child in an RV, it violates zoning ordinances.

There are many campgrounds open year-round.

But even the ones that are available year-round may have limits on how long you can stay there. If they have stay limits, this means you’ll have to move from campground to campground.

Moving around like this all the time could be considered an unstable living situation. The unstable living situation is what could prompt a visit from CPS, especially if it violates your custody agreement.

If your kid isn’t school-aged yet, you probably have a lot of questions about whether you can live in a camper with a baby.

It is absolutely possible to live in a camper with a baby, but it comes with its own set of challenges.

I’ve addressed those challenges in this recent article. I get into all my best tips for kids of all ages, including the tips I use with my 3 kids.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is it legal to live in an RV with a child in Columbus, Ohio?

There are no laws that prevent you from living in an RV with a child in the Columbus Ohio area in an RV park. Outside of an RV park, make sure to check local zoning laws in the appropriate county or town. 

If you live in an area governed by a homeowners association, you will likely have additional rules and regulations you need to follow.

As long as you are providing a stable, nurturing home, CPS isn’t going to care where you live.

But stability isn’t just where you live or even what you live in. Stability ensures that your kids are cared for and nurtured without parental conflict.

So just make sure to follow your custody agreement and make sure CPS doesn’t have a reason to get involved.

If you don’t want to live in an RV park, you might want to consider dry camping. You can dry camp for a maximum of 14 days before you need to dump your tanks, charge your batteries, and fuel your generators.

But dry camping isn’t meant to be a permanent situation, especially with a child. But it could be a fun, temporary adventure.

If you’re new to RV life, you might want to make your first dry camping experience a short trip.

To read more about dry camping and how to do it successfully, check out this recent article. I get into everything you need to know about dry camping.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What are considered unfit living conditions for a child in Ohio?

As a general rule, factors considered “unfit” for a child in Ohio, include drug use, alcohol abuse, educational or medical neglect, and absent or neglectful parenting. But also ensure a child has access to electricity, water, nutritious food, and clean clothing. 

Custody decisions are going to be made concerning what is in the best interests of the child.

When it comes to child custody in Ohio, there are several factors the courts will take into consideration, including the living conditions.

Ultimately, they want parents to work together when it comes to raising their child.

Kids need stability. But this doesn’t mean that living in an RV can’t be a stable environment.

Living in an RV would be considered unfit living conditions if the kids were being unsupervised, abused, or neglected.

If you are in a divorce situation or have a custody agreement in place, you need to make sure you do not violate a custody agreement.

Ohio family courts want parents to work together, and they will take your cooperation with the other parent into consideration. (source)

They will also consider whether the child’s basic needs are being met and the relationship with both parents.

They also consider geographic proximity. So, if you live in an RV, you may need to reassure the court that you aren’t going anywhere.

I wrote this recent article on whether CPS can take your kid for living in an RV. Unless you’re putting your child in danger of living in extreme filth, CPS is unlikely to take your children.

Just click the link to read more on my site.

Can CPS in Ohio take your child for not having their own room?

No, a child not having their own room is not a valid reason for a child to be removed from their home by CPS in Ohio. The biggest concern is whether the child is well taken care of and safe. 

But this doesn’t mean that they don’t need their own sleeping space.

While every CPS agency can use their discretion, typically, children over 5 should not be exclusively bed-sharing with a parent. They also shouldn’t be sharing a room with a sibling of the opposite sex.

If CPS does an inspection, they’ll expect children to have, at a minimum, their own bed and bedding.

They’ll also make sure you have working utilities and food. They’ll also look around to make sure your home is safe. Essentially, this means the home can’t be falling down or unkempt.

The bottom line is that CPS wants to make sure kids are having their basic needs met. Kids need to be educated, have adequate healthcare, and are safe from abuse or neglect.

To read more about what CPS can take your child for, check out this recent article. In this article, I take a deep dive into the ins and outs of living with a child in an RV.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do kids attend school in Ohio if they live in an RV?

Ohio children can attend the local school zoned for the area where the RV is parked, attend private schools anywhere, or be homeschooled. Ohio compulsory school attendance laws require children between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend school full-time. 

If your RV is parked permanently, the easiest way to meet attendance requirements is to send your kid to a local public school. But this means that you at least should stay in one spot for the school year.

Alternatively, you can send your kid to a private school. Then you can move if you like, but your kid can stay in the same school. But with a private school comes private school tuition.

You can also homeschool your kids. But if you homeschool your kids, it’s your responsibility to develop a curriculum and maintain all of the paperwork that comes with it.

For a comprehensive guide on homeschooling requirements in Ohio, check out this handy guide.

If coming up with a curriculum on your own doesn’t sound appealing, your kids can still get an education at home through an online public school. You still have lessons and homework that needs to be turned in and teachers you’ll meet within a virtual setting. Just like a traditional public school, they are free to attend.

But if you go that route, you have to have a consistently stable internet connection. That’s not always possible while living in an RV.

If you’ve managed to find an RV park with a stable internet connection, many RV parks will let you stay as long as you like. They may offer discounted rates with weekly, monthly, and yearly rates.

But some may let you stay for a few weeks at most.

Read this recent article on my site to see how long you can stay at an RV park. It really depends on the park, but many parks will close for winter, which could be a problem if you are sending your kid to a local public school.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Did I answer everything you wanted to know about living in an RV with a child in Ohio?

The ability to live in an RV in Ohio is going to vary according to local zoning ordinances. If you are unsure about whether you can live in an area in a camper, call the local zoning office.

Generally, you can live in RV parks long-term, but there may be stay limits. CPS wants to keep families together. They won’t give you much trouble unless there is a valid reason to do so.

Just make sure your kids are safe and educated, and you should be good to go.

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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