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

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

Families live in all kinds of housing. And finding families with kids living in their RV isn’t unusual. But laws can vary from state to state, especially if you are separated or going through a divorce. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you may have wondered, is it legal to live in an RV with a child in Oregon?

Here’s what I found out when I was looking into it:

You can get a permit to live in an RV as an accessory dwelling in certain parts of Oregon. And an RV can be considered a permanent residence if you’ve established a physical connection with the locality. But certain cities do have specific local laws.

So that’s not all there is to know.

In this article, we’ll take a look at whether you can live in an RV with a child in Oregon. We’ll look at Oregon in general and concentrate on Portland and Eugene.

So let’s dive in!

Can an RV be considered a primary residence?

Yes, an RV can be considered a primary residence, if the RV is permanently maintained in an area with power and water service, and the occupants have a well-settled physical connection with that area, such as a mailing address.

Oregon considers a “permanent place of abode” to be a dwelling that is permanently maintained by the taxpayer, regardless of whether or not the taxpayer owns the property.

The main requirement for a domicile of any sort to be considered a primary residence is that you spend a “sufficient period” of time there. You must have some sort of relationship with the local community. (source)

Oregon makes it clear that you can have many abodes but only one domicile.

If your RV has facilities found in a dwelling – bathroom, cooking area, and sleeping area – then it can be considered a primary residence.

The key, though, is to park your RV permanently somewhere, whether it is on a rented piece of property or in an RV park.

If you spend a significant amount of time in one place, have kids enrolled in school, or have other ties to the community, then your RV can be considered a primary residence. Your intent to stay needs to be made clear.

Think you’re safe to just live in an RV park?

You can’t always stay in those year-round, so check out this recent article. Many RV parks have a limit of 28 days, and others have no limit. For those with permanent residents, you can often get weekly, monthly, or even yearly rates.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is it legal to live with a child in an RV in Portland?

It is legal to live in an RV in Portland, with or without a child, and Portland even has a pilot program to empty black and grey water tanks for RVs parked on city streets that do not have access to dump stations.


Technically, an RV is not supposed to be used as a permanent dwelling.

However, if it is parked on private property, and you have the owner’s permission to park, then there isn’t much that municipalities will do about it.

There are some restrictions on living in an RV, particularly if you’re located in a flood zone. It must be elevated and anchored, and ready for highway use. It must also be on the site for fewer than 180 days. (source)

You can even live with a baby in an RV, but it comes with its own set of challenges.

To read about living with a baby in an RV, check out this recent article. In that article, I get into all the things to consider you might not have thought of, including things CPS might look for if they got called.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do living accommodations affect child custody in Oregon?

Child custody agreements in Oregon typically involve ensuring a child has a stable home environment with power, water, food, and proper education. In and of itself, living in an RV does not violate those things.

While child custody laws vary from state to state, every state works in the best interest of the child.

When evaluating living accommodations, judges will consider things like the amount of privacy a child has, the number of children living in the home, the parent’s financial situation, and yes, the type of home.

Children need to have privacy. Ideally, they will have their own room, but if you are a non-custodial parent, courts may be more lenient in that regard. At a minimum, children need their own space to sleep and shouldn’t be bed-sharing 100% of the time.

You also need to be able to provide for your children.

Again, if you are not the custodial parent, it may not have such a big impact on you. But if you are the custodial parent, you will need to make sure that you can provide basic needs. Kids need food, education, and access to healthcare.

Living in an RV may be viewed almost like living in a car – there’s not enough space, and it may indicate a lack of resources and support.

However, if you have a large RV with a lot of space and access to friends and school, the judge may take those things into consideration.

The judge may also take into consideration whether your situation is temporary or permanent, where the RV is located, and whether your child has regular doctor visits.

Is it legal to live with a child in an RV in Eugene, Oregon?

It is not possible to live in Eugene, Oregon, in an RV with a child near or on the water. However, in rural areas, a permit can be obtained to allow an RV to be used as a permanent residence.

RVs are considered accessory dwellings.

In many places, you can get a permit to live in an RV as an accessory dwelling. But it has to be on the same lot as a one-family dwelling.

The permit requirements vary from zone to zone. (source)

But these just address living in an RV, not for living in an RV with a child.

Generally, CPS will not take your kids for living in an RV. However, you need to make sure your kid’s basic needs are being met.

And if you are co-parenting, you need to make sure any living arrangements are in accordance with the custody agreement.

To read more about whether CPS can take your kids for living in an RV, check out this recent article. As a general rule, CPS won’t take kids just for living in an RV. But there are some specifics they will be on the lookout for.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is it legal to live in a trailer on someone else’s property with kids in Oregon?

Living in a trailer or camper on private property isn’t illegal in Oregon. But it could violate HOA by-laws, zoning rules, or local ordinances.

People live in trailers, manufactured homes, and recreational vehicles all the time.

For the most part, you won’t be disturbed. If you are unsure, you can contact the local government offices to find out what the rules are.

If you are considering renting a mobile home in Oregon, you should be able to do so without any problems.

Just like the rest of the country, there are mobile home parks all over Oregon. So, if you want to rent a trailer, your best bet may be to go through a mobile home park.

In fact, living in a rented trailer on private property will definitely look better to the judge and to CPS than living in an RV would.

If you’re looking for some adventure with your kids, you may want to consider dry camping. It shouldn’t be done as a permanent solution because it can look like you don’t have the means to support your kids.

But, you can dry camp for up to 14 days before you need to dump your tanks, charge your batteries, or add fuel to the generator.

If you’ve never done it before, or if you’re concerned about being investigated by CPS, you shouldn’t do it for more than a few days. To learn more about dry camping, check out this recent article.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How to Keep Kids Engaged on a Long RV Trip

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

There is no law that states you cannot live in an RV with kids. You need to follow the laws regarding education and health care.

You also need to make sure you are in compliance with custody agreements.

Renting or buying a trailer and putting it on private property would be a better solution to living in an RV.

But simply living in an RV isn’t grounds to have your child removed from your home.

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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