Can I buy land and live in a caravan in the UK?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can I buy land and live in a caravan UK? We will discuss whether it is legal to live in a caravan in the UK, what are the exemptions and how to make the best of it.

Can I buy land and live in a caravan in the UK?

You can buy land and live in a caravan in the UK, but there are a number of restrictions and licensing conditions you must understand and follow. You can stay in a caravan on your land for 28 days without a planning license or permit

If your plan is to live on that land longer and make the caravan your primary residence, you will need to apply for a license. This can come with a fee and will only last as long as you have planning permission for the camper site. 

You could be fined up to £2,500 if you fail to obtain a license or breach any of your license conditions, and your license may be withdrawn entirely if you repeatedly breach its conditions.

The council can also put conditions on your license, including:

  • The layout of the site;
  • The type of caravan/motorhome;
  • Sanitary and washing facilities;
  • And the number of people that are allowed to live in the caravan.

If you do not agree to the imposed conditions, you may be able to appeal to a local trial court. 

There are certain exemptions that mean you may not need a license, and there are several nifty ways you can use these exemptions to get around planning and licensing laws, such as:

  • Eating at least one meal a day in a house that is on the same lot means that the caravan could be classified as an additional bedroom and as such can remain occupied indefinitely.
  • If you can divide your land into parcels and register each one under a different name in the land registry, you can move your motorhome between these parcels without any problem and live in your motorhome indefinitely. You will also need to remember to draw up a lease and pay each parcel owner £1.00 per month for the rental of the land.
  • If you have one or more parcels of land covering a combined area of ​​more than 12.5 acres, you have up to five years to build a barn or some type of lavatory in one of them and live in your mobile home for infinitive time.

Is it illegal to live in a caravan in the UK?

No, it is not illegal to live in a caravan in the UK. There are no UK laws preventing you from living in your motorhome or camper van full time. You must, however, must have a technical inspection certificate and that the special vehicle tax is up to date, making it fully legal on the road.

Can I park a caravan anywhere in the UK?

Most, if not all, local authorities in the UK and Europe will place restrictions on when and for how long you can park on certain streets and sidings, even if you can stay overnight there. If you are not sure where you can and cannot park, especially at night, check the UK Highway Code guide.

Even if overnight parking is allowed, it may not be safe to do so, so always check the surrounding area beforehand; If it doesn’t feel right, you better move on.

Your best alternative would be a legal campsite. Here are the most popular camping places in the UK:

  • Bert’s Kitchen Garden, Wales
  • Amber’s Bell Tents – Norfolk, Shropshire, Worcestershire
  • Kilvrecht Campsite, Perthshire, Scotland.
  • Finchingfield Camping, Essex
  • Canal Camping, Norfolk
  • Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite, Herts
  • Ten Acres, Winkleigh, Devon, England
  • Abbey Home Farm, Gloucestershire
  • Cilrath Wood Camping, Pembrokeshire
  • Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • East Coast Adventure, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland
  • Gill Head Farm, Cumbria
  • Birds & Bees, Suffolk.

How long can you live in a caravan in the UK?

If you are considering using your motorhome for more than weekend breaks or short trips across the UK and Europe, you will fall into one of two camps:

Full-time living- Those who choose to live in their motorhome or caravan throughout the year.

Long-term living: Those who choose to live in their mobile home for an extended period of time, but return to their primary residence some months of the year (most common in winter).

Once you’ve decided which category you fall into, you need to determine if you’re made to live in a motorhome

Will you be able to continue working or do you have another way to complement your lifestyle? Will you sell your main residence? It is advisable not to, as properties generally always appreciate in value and you will still need a ‘permanent residence to receive mail. It may be best to rent your property and use this money to maintain your mortgage or as wages if you already own it.

Can you live in a caravan?

 Leaving everything behind and going to live in a caravan is not an easy thing. You have to prepare for it!

  1. Ask yourself the right questions: Here are a few essential answers you should have:
  • If you are constantly travelling in a motorhome, ask yourself if it is worth paying rent/credit for your house?
  • What lifestyle do you aspire to? Is life in a motorhome only for leisure?
  • Is/will your vehicle be suitable for this change of life?
  1. Calculate your budget: Is it expensive to live in a motorhome? Before you get started, don’t hesitate to take a look at the financial aspect of your project in the short, medium and long term.
  1. Get organized: Choosing to live in a motorhome involves many changes. You are going to have to sell all your furniture and also your house. Subsequently, a certain number of administrative procedures will have to be taken to be in order.

Administrative procedures for living in a caravan

Mail Management: First of all, it is imperative to justify an address. It could be the reception of a campsite where you stay all year round. Or the mailbox of a family member or friend. You can also use a specialized organization offering paid services for mail management. 

Vehicle insurance: If your vehicle is already approved and insured, you will need to change your contract with your insurance company. You should specify that your motorhome will now serve as your main residence throughout the year.

Get a planning permit: You will need this document if you plan on living in a caravan on your own land. 

All these administrative procedures certainly seem a little complex but are essential to be in order at the level of tax administrations and other bodies.

Final thoughts 

Buying land and living full time in a caravan in the UK is somewhat complicated, but entirely possible! As long as you know the rules and the steps to take, you can make it happen. 

Our final advice would be to get in contact with your local city council. They will be able to provide you with all the necessary information in order to make the big move.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions on the content. 

FAQ on Can I buy land and live in a caravan UK?

Can I live in a caravan on my land?

You can live in a caravan on your land, but there are a few rules to follow. Caravans and motorhomes can remain on the grounds of a primary residence, but only between uses. They must in no case lose their mobile nature, otherwise, they will be considered as a fixed installation by the municipality.

Can I put a caravan in my garden?

You can install your caravan in your garden without authorization if you are not using it as a home or as an annexe to your home. The caravan must permanently retain its means of mobility (wheels, drawbar, etc.) in order to be able to leave its location at any time.

Can I put a trailer on my land?

To put a trailer on one’s land, the owner of a trailer must have the mayor’s parking authorization to install his trailer on his land. If the trailer is fixed, a building permit is required.

How to live on non-building land?

It is not allowed to live year-round on any non-building land. You can set up a tent or request authorization from the town hall for your caravan or mobile home.


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