Can you live in a bus in the UK?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you live in a bus in the UK? We will discuss how to make it legal to live in a converted bus in the UK. We will explain what planning permission is and how to get one. 

Can you live in a bus in the UK?

Yes, you live in a bus in the UK as long as the vehicle is roadworthy, holds a current MOT certificate and is taxed and insured. If you want to park the bus on private property and live in it full-time, you may or may not need planning permission

You will not need planning permission to live in a bus in the UK if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The converted bus is strictly used as an annexe to your primary residence, for example as an additional bedroom. 
  • You cannot rent out the converted bus, use it as business premises, or use it with the status of a separate dwelling. 
  • You are not blocking any entrances or exits, nor building new access to a classified road. You are not blocking any road or footway, especially at a corner, bend or junction.
  • You checked with your local council that there is no need for planning permission, especially in urban housing estates. 

If you do not meet all the above criteria, you may need planning permission to put a converted bus and live full-time in it on your property. 

How do you apply for planning permission to live on a bus on your property in the UK?

Even though you may need planning permission it is still possible to put a converted bus on your property in the UK, you just need to follow some additional steps!

  1. First, you must confirm with your local council if you need planning permission. Each area is different and each project has its own peculiarities. This is why you must always check first. 
  2. There are two types of planning permission: detailed or outline planning permission. It is best to discuss the caravan location and dimensions with the city council’s planning department. They will be able to advise you on which type of planning permission you may need. 
  1. After deciding if you need planning permission and which type, you can formally forward your application either by post or online. Besides the application form, you will also have to submit a plan of the site and a copy of the plan sketches. You will also have to pay a fee at this point. 

Although not a mandatory step, we advise you to discuss with your neighbours first, especially if the converted bus will be located close to their property. You always want your neighbours on your side!

Vehicle insurance to live in a bus in the UK

Travelling around England by converted bus or anywhere else requires you to take some steps beforehand.  If for any reason your insurance does not cover this type of trip, check with your insurance advisor about the possibility of extending it or, on the contrary, contracting specific travel insurance. 

Although if you plan to make more trips abroad, it will always be a good idea to extend your converted bus insurance.  

Vehicle revision to live in a bus in the UK

Just as you have to find out in advance if there is any kind of problem with your insurance, it is necessary that you do a proper review of your converted bus with your mechanic. To check that everything is in perfect working order and that there is no damage to the vehicle that could give you problems in the middle of the journey.

This will also allow you to make a list of everything you will need to take with you. Inside your converted bus for this great trip. With all these tips, now you surely have a clearer idea of ​​everything that awaits you. Remember that when travelling on a converted bus with children you must take other aspects into account.

Consider that in some places, such as London, it will be difficult for you to be with your converted bus. That is why when looking for where to park your converted bus in London you will come across the fact that you have to park it on the outskirts and take a train or bus to go to the city centre.

Very to take into account especially if you visit Scotland and take the Ferry to the different islands, before the slightest blow, scratches, etc. make the claim to the shipping company at the moment, not allowing them to refer you to make the claim later, since in These cases and from experience, post-hoc claims are not usually fruitful.

It is precise because they are LEZ zones. And, because being such a tourist city it is prohibited by many places. As for the rest of the cities, travelling by converted bus to England should not give you any inconvenience. Since you will always find a parking lot where you can leave your converted bus to spend the night. 

Without a doubt, a trip of these characteristics will allow you to get to know this country in a different way. So if you have the possibility to do it, do not hesitate and go on an adventure.

What is MOT and why is it mandatory for buses?

MOT is a technical inspection of your vehicle to check if it is safe on the road and for the environment. If you want to know what will be checked at the MOT of your vehicle, see the lists below. 

Vehicle identification –  of which:

– license plates

– vehicle identification, chassis or serial number

– manufacturer’s plate

– vehicle presentation condition

– motor energy.

Braking equipment  – including:

– service brake pedal pivot

– parking brake control

– brake linings or pads

– emergency brake performance

– automatic braking corrector

– anti-lock braking system (ABS)

– brake fluid.

Direction – of which:

– condition of the steering gearbox or rack

– condition of the steering wheelhouse

– power steering

– steering column and damper

– game in the direction …

Visibility – of which:

– field of view

– condition of the glazing

– wiper

– windshield washer

– rearview mirror

– Demisting system.

Lighting and signalling equipment – including:

– the working condition of the headlights

– headlights

– Redlights

– sidelights

– fog lights

– distress signal

– warning triangle

– rear and side reflector

– lighting and signalling control

– electrical connections between the towing vehicle and the trailer

– immobilizer.

Ground connection – of which:

– axles

– wheel bearing

– stabilization springs

– shock absorbers

– tires

– suspension ball joints.

Structure and bodywork – including:

– general condition of the chassis

– fuel tank and lines

– transmission

– motor support

– hood

– bumpers

– floor.

Equipment – including:

– seats

– seat belts

– airbag

– buzzer

– speed indicator

– odometer

– electronic security control.

Mechanical components – of which:

– engine

– gearbox

– bridge

– transfer box

– fuel circuit

– carburettor

– exhaust manifold

– traction batteries

– exhaust silencer.

Pollution and noise level – including:

– noise reduction system

– opacity of the exhaust fumes

– loss of fluids

– on-board diagnostic device (OBD).

Having an up-to-date MOT for your converted bus is another condition that must be met before you decide to live full-time in a converted bus in the UK. 

The price of the MOT  varies according to the centres and regions. However, the average price is £54.85 and it rarely will cost you more.  The control includes vehicle identification elements (license plates, documents, etc.), braking equipment, steering and visibility equipment, various lights and reflective devices, and the condition of the tires.

The bottom line

Buying land and living full time in a bus 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 you live in a bus in the UK?

Can you legally live in a van in the UK?

It is legal to live in a van in the UK or to be more precise, there is no law prohibiting it! Of course, you will have to make sure that the MOT of the van is up to date and that you are parking reglementary. 

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. 

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.

Will I receive a notice for the MOT of my motorhome?

No. No summons is sent for the MOT of your motorhome. You must take the initiative for the technical inspection of your motorhome. A little tip: its expiry date is mentioned on the registration certificate, like on a “classic” car.


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