Living in an RV sounds like a great adventure. However, there are a lot of federal, state, city, and county laws that can affect where you live. So today, we’ll explore: can you live in an RV on your own private property?
You can legally live in an RV on your own private property if you apply for proper permits, which may be required by the city or county. You also need access to a septic tank as well as water and power, especially if children will be living there.
But in my experience, residential areas that have the Homeowners Association can be a bit tricky to navigate.
Sometimes there are rules against living in an RV on your own land, but then again, it depends on the area and your state. Generally speaking, having private residence inside the RV might be frowned upon depending on the state laws and city limits.
Small towns and rural areas typically have relaxed ordinances.
And they only act upon them if someone in your neighborhood complains about it. Larger cities have codes and ordinances that mandate your RV to meet some standard requirements.
Of course, if you have a lot of land and the RV isn’t visible from anyone else’s property, it may not be worth worrying about.
What States Allow You to Live in an RV on Your Property?
A lot of states allow you to live in an RV on your own property, but some are friendlier than others. Here are a couple of states that are the best choice if you want to live in the RV full-time:
Colorado – Colorado is going towards more RV friendliness. They are trying to actively reduce restrictions on RVs and tiny homes. This also includes easy to obtain opportunities for special permits.
Florida – Florida has relaxed rules regarding RV living. The weather is better, and you can even get utilities hooked to your RV without trouble.
Oregon – Oregon is pretty and has multiple places for you to enjoy nature. The city of Portland supports the construction of tiny homes and communities, which also includes RV parks and RV living.
I also recommend Washington State, South Dakota, Nevada, and Texas.
All of these states have wide-open spaces, and the more the space, the relaxed the rules are regarding RV living. Less restrictive zoning and usage laws mean that you’ll be able to live in your RV without getting into any legal trouble. More space means more affordable land options as well.
There are many wonderful things about full-time RV living, but there are some downsides as well.
Here’s a recent article discussing the pros and cons of living in an RV in detail. If you can’t move states, and you happen to be in a state that’s practically hostile to RV living, you’ll be better off making a new cabin in the backyard instead of tackling the city laws.
Lastly, the weather also has a big impact on whether you enjoy your RV stay or not.
Pleasant weather makes for a pleasant stay. I recommend states that have mild weather for permanent residence, so you don’t have to spend time and money getting ready for scorching heat or chilly winters.
You also have to do upkeep, and if the weather is arid or humid, the RV equipment will have a shorter life.
Check out this recent article that discusses how long RV equipment lasts. I get into all the main things in an RV and what the average lifespan is. But I also share some crucial tips for extending the life of your RV’s equipment.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Stopped to look around a boutique chocolatier. The front room of their purple house is the store. Parked in the back & look what I found! A working RV. The owner’s sister used it for a movie she made. What a fun find! Plus, the chocolate was fabulous. #PinkRV #Glamping #rvlife pic.twitter.com/I7RYMUrEBz
— Supersize LIFE (@Supersize_Life) December 22, 2017
Can I Live in an RV Next to My House?
Many people park an RV next to permanent dwellings such as their homes. But whether someone can live in that (legally) depends on where you live and the local laws, and if you have an HOA.
Live in a big city urban development?
Unfortunately, in most cases, it is not possible to legally live in an RV full time in a city. That doesn’t mean that there are no states that allow you to live next to your house in an RV or travel trailer.
Of course, there are some established guidelines for property owners you need to follow before you can start living.
However, many major cities in the United States don’t allow you to live full-time in the RV within the city limits. Here are a few things you need to check before parking your RV next to your house:
- County zoning law from
- City Building and Planning departments
- City Beautification and Nuisance laws
- Miscellaneous laws of local governments
- Local HOA laws
The laws regarding living in an RV as a permanent home vary wildly from state to state and are highly specific.
Usually, you won’t need a building permit as you would for tiny homes, but if you want to hook utilities, you may require some. So you’ll need to check whether your state, city, and town is okay with you living in an RV or not.
Some cities are very friendly to mobile living arrangements, while others are practically hostile.
Living the RV life. Laurie Landry DeRouen is the best co-pilot a man could ask for. pic.twitter.com/rRR11VJx3i
— Brandon Michael (@Brandon05858112) March 2, 2022
Is It Safe to Live in an RV full-time?
Living in an RV full-time as a primary residence is safe.
Of course, it also depends on the area you live in and how extreme the weather is there. All you need to do is simply prepare for the worst, and you’ll be fine living full-time in an RV.
It also depends on where your property is located. If you live in a remote area, you’ll still be isolated even if you live in a house. Being further away from emergency services means it will take you longer to reach them or for them to reach you. RV parking location matters as well.
Some choose to live in their RV in mobile home parks.
And if you’ve seen these, you know that the conditions can vary wildly. Some will be far safer than others. But if you observe the condition of the mobile homes, yards, and vehicles, you can get an idea of how much people care about their living conditions.
Generally speaking, having a couple of self-defense weapons in your RV wouldn’t hurt.
But it also depends on your state laws if you can keep them or not but having pepper spray or even a Taser can help you feel safe. Make sure your doors and windows are properly locked and secured before going to bed as well.
Always remember to air the RV when using propane-based utilities. Simply open the windows and turn on all the exhausts a couple of times each day, and you’ll be safe from any mishaps.
Airing the RV out also helps reduce the possibility of carbon monoxide building up inside the cabin.
Also, make sure that you are not drinking while the RV is parked in a public place.
Here’s a recent article that talks about avoiding DUI/DWI while living in an RV. As crazy as it sounds, even if the RV is not about to drive away, there are circumstances where you could be arrested if caught drinking.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Overall, living in an RV is just as safe as living in a house, with the added benefit of you being able to drive away from any danger. You just need to prepare better for utilities and sanitation.
Is that a mountain growing behind Mount Comfort RV? Or is it a cloud? Either way we had a beautiful morning! #mountcomfortrv #greenfield #indianapolis #indiana #letsgocampin #rvlife #rvliving pic.twitter.com/20mTcFzZCj
— Mount Comfort RV (@MountComfortRV) November 3, 2021
Where Do Most Full-Time RVers Live?
The RV Industry Association notes that most RV owners are living in Indiana, then in California, and after that in Texas.
These aren’t full-time RVers though, it’s just the number of RVs owned in a state. So, according to the statistics, I’d argue that most full-time RVers also live in these states.
But you don’t have to live there. There are generally better options.
Texas, Florida, and South Dakota are all income tax-free. This makes them an ideal location to move to when you want to live full-time in an RV. All of these states will accept mail forwarding addresses as well, so you’ll continue getting mail and parcels delivered without any fuss.
Full-time RVers usually seek a few important factors that also depend on their income:
- Vehicle licensing fees
- Mail on the road
- Health insurance options
- Annual inspection requirements
- Owning a business
You’ll have to ask these questions to yourself, so you can settle in a state that supports your lifestyle and income.
Of course, if you already own a house and don’t want to move, you’ll need to check your state laws to see whether you can live full-time in an RV on private property or not.
Did you know that South Dakota has NO state income tax, and is ranked one of the least expensive states for vehicle registration fees? Now those are savings we can all be excited about! #retirement #freetaxes #rvliving #hifromSD pic.twitter.com/oIUSgYag9X
— Americas Mailbox (@AmericasMailbox) July 8, 2021
How Do Taxes Work If You Live in an RV?
Full-time RV owners who live year-round in an RV must have an address that they note as their permanent address. That could be a PO Box in the town you call home. All tax-related correspondence would be sent to that address and taxes would be paid according to both Federal laws, but as well as the laws in that state.
So obviously it would be best to have your home base be in a state without a state income tax.
And if you’re running a remote business from your RV, it can get a bit tricky, but not overly so. Just make sure you keep track of your expenses all year round, and that alone will make your life easier when tax time arrives.
Keep in mind that you cannot take a home office deduction when the RV is a hundred percent dedicated to the business. An RV already has a limited amount of space, and dedicating all of it to a business might not be the right move. That is unless you have 2 RVs.
Also, if you are renting your RV, that becomes a whole other case.
working from kombi! #AWS #MotorHome #DeepRacer pic.twitter.com/SQoPdWgwmS
— Vinicius Senger (@vsenger) April 9, 2021
How Can I Make Money Living in an RV?
In the last few years, a lot of jobs have moved towards being remote. So, making money while living in an RV is easier these days. You can do all sorts of jobs right from your home/RV, which include being an accountant, a writer, a blogger or YouTuber, an online teacher or tutor, and even a full-time marketer.
I obviously lean towards the blogging and writing side, simply because I enjoy doing it, earn 5-figures a month, and have been doing it for quite some time.
Want to see how I do it?
Check out this recent article with links to my income reports, where I explain my every step in being a full-time blogger. Just click that link to read it on my site.
Helping others avoid the same RV living mistakes I made while starting out brings me true joy. Also, putting my thoughts out and seeing them help others is a wonderful way to start the day.
A friend of mine has an advertisement agency, and he’s been working overtime while living in an RV. I’ve met several young people who are into digital illustration and 3D animation. They work entirely from their parent’s RV.
Some people can run a small business out of the RV.
What I’m trying to say is that there are multiple options and avenues for you to make money while living in an RV. You also have the benefit of driving the whole place around.
You can live in an RV on private property.
All you need to do is check out the local and state laws. Also, having permits is a good idea. Now all you need is proper sewage, access to electricity and water, and also some entertainment.
Speaking of which, here’s a recent article that talks about Dish vs. DirecTV for RVs, and you’re all set. Do both also offer internet too? Just click that link to read it on my site.
Having extra square feet of shelter next to your house is amazing.
You can even treat the RV as a separate guest house where your friends and family can crash for a couple of weeks or use it as a place of solitude. Either way, full-time RV living is a blast.
Photo which requires attribution:
CampingCampBlanding_2-4-18-5540 by Rob Bixby is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.