Is Full Time RV Living Illegal?

One of the questions we hear a lot is full time RV living illegal? To be honest, the answer to this question isn’t a simple yes or no. For the most part, living full time in an RV is perfectly legal. In fact, there are over 1 million Americans currently living in an RV.

Full time RV living on your own land

In most places, it is perfectly legal to live in an RV on your own land. However, please keep in mind though that this depends on your local zoning laws.

Depending on your HOA or local laws, you may not even be able to park your RV on your own property. Some may allow you to part it on your property if you keep it out of sight. Others may only allow you to park your camper overnight and then you have to find another place to keep it.

How much does it cost to install RV hookups?

The answer to this depends on how elaborate you want to get. Are you planning on running a water line to the RV or just electric? Here are some cost ranges you can expect:

  • RV Water Hookups – From $20 if you do it yourself to $750+ if you hire a plumber
  • RV Electrical Hookups – From $100 if you do it yourself to $1200+ if you hire an electrician
  • RV Sewer Hookups – From $0 if you can hook up to an existing sewer or septic system to $3500 or more if you have a sewer tank installed.

If your place doesn’t already have an existing sewer system, a great alternative is installing a composting toilet. Compost toilets are eco-friendly and help you avoid having to install a tank on your property. While composting toilets aren’t exactly cheap, they are a great alternative to putting in a sewer holding tank.

RV Parks and Mobile Home Communities

In most places, as long as the RV Park allows long term camping, it is completely okay to live in your camper in an RV park or mobile home. Not all RV Parks or Mobile Homes allow this though so you will want to check around and see which ones do allow it.

Keep in mind that some of them can be quite strict on who they even allow into their park. You will find that there are quite a few parks that only allow campers that are 10 years old or newer into the campground. Sometimes if you can prove that your older RV is in really nice condition, they will let it slide by.

RV’s as Permanent Dwellings

If you are talking about traveling full time in your RV and using that as your permanent dwelling, then yes, it is perfectly legal. The problem sometimes comes in if you are planning on staying in one place too long and setting up a permanent residence there. You will want to do your research on local laws. You will find that some areas will allow it and most will only allow it for a certain amount of time. It is very hard to find an area that will allow you to live in an RV full time while being stationary.

State Laws Against Recreational Vehicle “Use as a dwelling”

The problem is the government. It doesn’t classify RVs as permanent dwellings. An RV is a descendant of the mobile home, alongside manufactured housing. However, it took a different route, and now it’s more of a vehicle than an actual home.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, RVs only have recreational, travel, or camping purposes. On the other hand, they treat manufactured housing as a permanent residence. Because of this, it’s never really been legal to live in an RV on your property.

Figure Out The Zoning Laws

You will want to check your state, county, and local zoning laws. Not all areas have zoning laws. To check your local zoning laws, call your municipal planning or building department. The planning department typically executes the zoning laws for a particular location.

Don’t just go on what you think you know or what a previous owner did. Typically, when a new zoning law happens, the people that are currently doing that thing are grandfathered in. However, if the person moves, the new owner may not be grandfathered in.


As you can see, living in an RV full time may or may not be legal. It depends on how you are planning on doing it. So be sure to check your state and local laws if you are planning on staying in one place for any length of time.

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