Can I live in a caravan while building a house?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I live in a caravan while building a house? We will discuss the steps to take if you want to live in a caravan and what are the legal requirements in order to live in a motorhome.

Can I live in a caravan while building a house?

Yes, you can live in a caravan while building a house, as long as you notify the planning department of your choice and for how long you intend on doing it. 

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Buy or rent a caravan (static caravan, camper, RV);
  2. Make sure the caravan is livable, thus has electricity, internet, access to fresh water, kitchen and lavatory, wastewater, etc.;
  3. Ensure you can get insurance cover for the caravan;
  4. Plan your council tax;
  5. Make sure you have a copy of the detailed schedule works on your house;
  6. Notify the planning department of your decision;
  7. Be ready for an inspection and a refusal (if the caravan is not “habitable”). 

A caravan is smaller than a house, but often a little cosier and the perfect solution as a temporary home. There are many caravans on the market with very good prices, often older but generally well maintained.

They are easy to bring to the lot, often less bulky than a mobile home, but inevitably also smaller. Like mobile homes, they are generally designed for use in fine weather, that is to say, that they are poorly insulated or not heated.

The greatest advantage is that a caravan can be rented or resold when you no longer need it!

What are the legal obligations for a habitat?

Your caravan must be considered a “habitat” in legal terms in order for you to be allowed to live in it while building a house. Thus, keep in the mind the following keywords:

Waste: It is required to treat the effluents discharged as a result of the: greywater and black water.

Black water (our excrement) can quite easily be treated via a dry toilet system and waste composting.

Regarding greywater, it can be more delicate because it requires more voluminous installations.

It is possible to reduce them by limiting the detergents, it is quite possible to wash your clothes in a laundromat. It is also possible to shower quickly, with little water and natural soap.

Security service access: For safety reasons, particularly if there are children, an access route allowing emergency services may be necessary. In any case, it is strongly recommended.

Network connections: It will be as difficult for an authority to impose a connection (whether to the water supply, to an electricity network or to a wastewater collection system) as to the occupants to require it … temporary housing requires it!

If the temporary housing in question is intended to allow people to live in a place while waiting to have finished the work of a duly declared and supervised housing, it is necessary to make the request or the declaration in the town hall. 

As regards the connections, given that this habitat is, in a way, a temporary annexe to a sustainable habitat, it will be possible, for example for the management of wastewater, to treat them definitively, either by anticipating the request for connection to a collection network, either by starting work by installing a non-collective sanitation system, of course respecting the legislation.

It is possible to do this, either by directly fitting out a habitat, even basic or by installing  a mobile home on the lot.

Can you just buy a piece of land and live in a caravan?

You can buy a piece of land and live in a caravan or RV, but you must make sure you follow certain essential rules if you don’t want to find yourself with an eviction note. 

Thus, parking and living in a caravan on your own piece of land is not illegal, but you must follow these rules:

  • There must be a septic tank or access to city sewage on the private land;
  • You cannot have 110-120V electrical cables;
  • Depending on the caravan size, there is a limitation on how many people can reside in the same vehicle.

Our recommendation is you buy a piece of land in the country if you want to live full time in a caravan. If the land is not considered a residential area or part of a suburb, you are entitled to live freely on it.

Mobile homes account for 6.4% of the housing sector in the US. There are about eight and a half million of them, slightly less than in the past decade, according to census data. The number of inhabitants is not registered but is estimated at around 20 million.

According to the Prefabricated House Institute, about 57% of the heads of families who live in this type of housing are employed full time, while 23% are retired. But the income of these families is only slightly above half the national average.

The bottom line

Legally, you can live in a caravan while building a house, but only as a temporary measure. Make sure that the caravan is habitable, meaning that your basic needs can be met in the motorhome.

On the same subject, it is not illegal to live in a caravan in the US, yet, if you have children, we wanted to mention that it is important to put their needs and safety first and make sure that your children have access  to education. 

The caravan is subject to fewer constraints than the static caravan, in particular, because of its size and it’s easy mobility. Before setting up a caravan in your garden, check with your town hall that the town planning rules allow you to do so. A caravan positioned on your lot less than three months a year does not require any formality.

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

FAQ on Can I live in a caravan while building a house?

Can I live in a caravan on my land?

You can live in a caravan on your land, but only a temporary measure. A caravan must in no case lose its mobile nature, otherwise, they will be considered as a fixed installation by the municipality.

Where to live in a mobile home all year round?

You can live in a mobile home all year round at certain campsites, residential leisure parks and certain holiday villages.

Can I live in a mobile home?

Living in a mobile home on private land is prohibited. You cannot, therefore, install a mobile home in your garden, even temporarily. … But this prohibition in principle concerns exclusively mobile homes, to the exclusion of other dwellings which are similar.

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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