In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you buy a piece of land and live in a caravan? We will discuss laws, rules and exceptions to the rules when it comes to parking and living in a caravan full-time.
Can you buy a piece of land and live in a caravan?
In the US, 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.
Where to install a static caravan in the US?
In the US, you can install a static caravan at your choice:
- In a dedicated residential leisure park;
- Within an approved holiday village;
- On a campsite.
You cannot, therefore, live in a static caravan on private land as part of a real estate investment project on a property that belongs to you. Likewise, it will be impossible for you to set up your static caravan on land that you have inherited by succession.
On the other hand, you can absolutely buy (or rent!) a mobile home directly from a campsite, a holiday village or a residential park. You will be happy to go there on your vacation!
You can live in a mobile home on private land if it is considered a caravan. The respective legal definitions of the mobile home (static caravan) and the caravan are very similar.
The difference between these two habitable vehicles: unlike the mobile home, the caravan can move by itself and it is authorized to circulate. When buying your mobile vehicle, therefore, pay attention to its category! If it can circulate independently, it will be considered a caravan, in which case the rules are more flexible.
Other questions you may be interested in
The conditions for installing a caravan in your garden
You can set up your caravan at home, on your private land. Depending on the length of storage, the rules differ:
- Less than 3 months per year: your caravan can remain in your garden, without any prior authorization, under 2 conditions. First, you must give it the means of transportation (wheels and/or traction system). Then, you cannot use it to live there, nor to develop it in an annexe.
- More than 3 months per year: you need to make a prior declaration of work to leave your caravan in your garden. In the absence of opposition from your town hall, the habitat can therefore be installed on your land, and you can live there! This derogatory regime, therefore, makes it possible to live in a mobile home on private land as soon as the vehicle is assimilated into a caravan.
The conditions for living in a caravan on private land
You can consider living in a mobile home on private land if your mobile home meets the definition criteria of the HOA. In this case, you must comply with common construction law:
- The surface area of your mobile home is less than 20 square meters: you make a prior declaration of work to the town planning departments of your town hall.
- The surface area of your mobile home is greater than 20 square meters: you must obtain a building permit.
The town hall of your municipality, in both cases, can refuse you if your project does not comply with local planning rules or if your file is incomplete.
In summary, you can live in a caravan on private land in the following cases:
- Your home is considered a caravan: Conditions: the caravan is allowed to circulate, it is equipped with wheels and/or a drawbar. You can live there on the condition that you make a prior declaration of work. Please note, your municipality may oppose your project.
- Your home is considered a light leisure home: The HOA is not mobile, meaning it has no wheels or drawbar, but it can be dismantled or transported. You can live there on condition that you make a prior declaration of work for an area of less than 20 m2, and file a building permit for more than 20 m2.
Note: living in a mobile home on private land obviously requires building land in this case.
Where to legally store your mobile home?
You can neither live in a mobile home on private land nor store it in your garden. If you need to store it while you get a place at a campsite, holiday village or residential leisure park, you have 3 solutions:
- Land dedicated to the collective garage of mobile homes,
- Public parking areas,
- Authorized vehicle depots.
Do I have to pay taxes if living in a caravan on private land?
The good news is that taxation is advantageous for owners of caravans! You are in fact exempt from housing tax and property tax, as long as your living vehicle is not permanently fixed to the ground and to the extent that it retains its means of mobility.
The bottom line
Our final advice is to speak with someone from your local council. There are rules and exceptions to the rules. It is best to ask directly what are the laws in your state, and whether you can reside for more than 30 days in the same place and what are the conditions and the exceptions to the rule.
If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!
FAQ on Can you buy a piece of land and live in a caravan?
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.
- Why do so many Americans live in mobile homes? – BBC News
- Living in an RV in Retirement – Cruise America
- RV LIFE Pro – RVing Should Be Simple