For many Americans, the freedom of being able to travel wherever they want is the main attraction of RV ownership. However, not all prospective RV owners fall into this category. Some want to buy an RV to park it in their backyard and move into it permanently – simplifying their lives and reducing their costs of living in the process.

If you find yourself in the latter category, the following information is for you.

RV in Backyard: Understanding the Legalities

Before you decide to purchase and live in a camper van in your backyard, it is a good idea to learn a little more about some of the rules and regulations surrounding your plan. Let’s take a look at some of the questions you will need the answers to before moving forward.

Can I Park My RV in My Backyard?

Can you park your RV in your backyard? This question seems quite straightforward. However, the answer can vary significantly depending on exactly where you live.

In most rural areas of Ohio (and the rest of the United States), it is perfectly legal to park an RV in your backyard. There are no federal statutes that can forbid you from doing so.

If you live within the city of Dayton, however, you will need to adhere to local zoning codes when parking your RV on your property. In particular, you should note that:

  • You may park a maximum of five vehicles on your property, of which only one can be an RV.
  • Your RV must not be connected to electricity, water, or gas services.
  • Your RV must not exceed 30 feet in length.
  • Your RV must be kept operable and carry an up to date license or registration.

Should you live in a neighborhood that is governed by a homeowners association (HOA), you may need to adhere to some additional regulations. You will find these rules outlined in your HOA’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.

Can I Live in My RV in My Backyard?

Is it legal to live in an RV on your property? The answer to this question is almost always a resounding no, regardless of where you live.

If your main house is being fumigated or is undergoing extensive renovations, you may be permitted to live in your RV for a few days. However, if you try to live there for any longer than that, you are likely to run into trouble with the law.

Why is it Illegal to Live in an RV in My Backyard?

It is illegal to live in an RV in your backyard for one simple reason – because the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development does not classify them as permanent dwellings. The federal government states that RVs should only be used for recreational, travel, or camping purposes.

Can You Live in an RV on Someone’s Property?

Since living in a camper or RV in your backyard is not permissible, you may be wondering if you can skirt the law by living on someone else’s property. For instance, you might have a parent, sibling, cousin, or friend who has some extra space and would be willing to allow you to live on their land.

Unfortunately, if you try to make your home in an RV on another person’s property, you will run into the same issues that make it illegal to live on your own land. If you are caught unlawfully living in an RV on your friend or family member’s property, you are likely to land them in trouble with the law.

It is generally advisable to avoid living in an RV on any property that is zoned for residential use.

How Can You Live in an RV Legally?

If you would like to legally live in your RV, you have two main options:

Living Permanently in an RV Park

Renting a lot at a registered RV park is the easiest way to legally live in your camper year-round. These parks will provide you with the electricity, water, and other utilities you need while making sure that you stay on the right side of the law.

Traveling the Country in Your RV

If you are feeling adventurous, you can also opt to tour the country in your RV. Along the way, you can stop at campsites, RV parks, and other establishments that will allow you to park for a few days. Because you are not living in any one place for an extended period of time, you should not run into any legal issues.

If your RV is on the larger side, you may need to obtain a special driver’s license if you wish to travel around the country. Driving without the correct license is likely to result in problems with the law.