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


Lots of families live in mobile homes, and lots of families travel in an RV. But since they are a little bit different, and the laws can vary from state to state, I’ve wondered is it legal to live in an RV with a child in Texas?

Here’s what I know from being a Dad in Texas:

Living in an RV with a child in Texas is legal, as nothing in the law states that it is prohibited. As long as children’s safety, health, schooling, and well-being are ensured inside the RV, and doing so does not violate any custody orders, they cannot be taken away.

With that being said, there are some steps you’ll need to take when it comes to being as close to legal as you can get when living in an RV.

Where you keep your RV and how often you travel will have an enormous impact on this. And even when it’s totally legal, that doesn’t mean CPS can’t get involved. So we’ll also review tips to make sure you’re doing everything right.

Let’s get going.

Is it legal to live in an RV in Texas?

Yes, it’s perfectly legal to live in your RV in Texas. You just need to register the vehicle in Texas and have your driver’s license be from Texas.

Most RVers will choose one state to claim as their primary residence. Meaning this is the place that you register your vehicle, where you do your voting, and where you lease an RV lot or apartment.

It’s a good idea to establish a bank in this state too.

Texas is an excellent choice for this as they don’t have harsh rules for people with RVs, and they have no state income tax.

Vehicle registration fees are low, and you can even renew your driver’s license in the mail.

Can CPS in Texas take your kids for living in an RV? 

There is no Texas law that states that prohibit living in an RV with kids, so CPS is not able to remove children from the home purely for that reason alone.

The main concern of CPS is the safety and wellbeing of the children. If the household is abusive, not providing care, or is withholding education, CPS might step in, no matter where you live.

While these things might not stem from being in an RV, people that do not live the lifestyle will think otherwise. A CPS agent that doesn’t see life in an RV as normal may take a more in-depth look into your case.

Most of the time, though, you should be safe from CPS if you take care of and plan out your child’s education and doctor’s visits. It really boils down to the people around you and whether they want to call CPS.

Most of the time, you do your daily life and won’t attract CPS unless others get them involved.

The best tips I can give you are:

  1. Know your rights
  2. Know CPS does not always work for your best interest
  3. Get a lawyer
  4. Teach your kids not to answer questions of adults/authority figures without you being there and to not open doors for strangers
  5. Have a good network of friends/family
  6. Keep on top of your child’s education and follow state education laws fully.

I also have a recent article that goes more in detail about whether CPS can take your kids living in an RV. Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can my ex take my child if I live in an RV in Texas?

An ex-spouse or co-parent cannot typically take a child away just for living in an RV unless that directly violates a custody order previously drawn up.

This is heavily situational, though.

It depends on whether you have full custody or not and whether you are providing a stable household for your child. If you don’t already have custody of your children, then you living in an RV can be held against you if the judge finds it unstable.

Living in an RV isn’t unstable when well planned out.

The main problem some people may have is space for their kids. This is why there are different sizes of RVs to pick from. If you have a family with 2 or more kids, it’s best to stick to a Class A.

Also, if winters are harsh where you live, that can be a factor too if your RV isn’t [properly set up for the cold.

I have a recent article that talks about whether you can live in a Class A RV for winter. Just click the link to read it on my site.

Besides that, your primary focus should be on providing education and regular doctor visits. Having a plan for these well in place will help your odds of keeping your kids.

Can I live in an RV on my own property in Texas?

Unless it violates an HOA bylaw, if the property owned is zoned for residential living, it is typically able to be lived on in an RV.

There are just a few rules that you have to follow. And as I mentioned, this holds up even more so if you live in an HOA community.

Most small cities and rural areas are very easy going when it comes to any codes for RV living. These places tend to only enforce extensive rules when people start to complain.

We all have had that one mean neighbor, right?

The one where no matter what you do or how great of a person you are, they just want to tear you down. That’s the person you want to look out for.

While Texas is fairly easy going with RV living, you still need to respect zone laws and HOA bylaws.

Just remember, if there are enough complaints from neighbors, some action is usually taken whether there is a justified cause or not.

For the most part, though, as long as you have proper hookups to water and amenities, and keep the RV and land in good condition that doesn’t attract rodents or lower property values, you’re good.

Depending on where you are, you may need permits, but overall you should be fine, and you might even be able to bend a few rules here or there.

Are you considered homeless if you live in an RV?

If you live in an RV, you are not considered homeless. However, it could be considered homeless if the RV doesn’t have amenities that make it suitable for habitation, such as running water, a working toilet, and electricity.

Ultimately an RV is a home, so you have a home by definition.

So as long as you can afford amenities at a campground or if you have the means to properly dry camp, you’re not homeless.

However, there tend to be two types of RVers—the ones on the move who travel a lot and ones who are stationary to one campground.

The ones that travel more tend not to be considered homeless because they usually have one stationary location for a mailing address and standard housing.

The ones that are stationary to one campground could be considered homeless if they don’t have alternative accommodations and are not living in a typical living situation.

The main difference is where you legally call home.

If you truly plan to live in an RV full time, you want to make sure everyone is comfortable, including when it’s time for bed. I have a recent article that goes over how comfortable RV beds are.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

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

Just remember to keep an eye on the people around you. CPS and the state won’t give you much trouble unless they are provoked to do so.

Texas, Florida, and a few other places are actually safe spots for RV families. Just remember to look up your area’s rules and try your best to be a friendly neighbor.

Don’t take to CPS without a lawyer, and remember they have a certain time where they have to act if they feel something isn’t right.

Stay safe and keep your family happy.

Cassandra & Jeff Campbell

Cassandra and Jeff Campbell travel on and off with their 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. They write extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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