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Finding alternatives to renting in today's market seems to be on everyone's mind. Are you thinking of living in an RV on your property but don't know whether or not this is legal? Do RV laws vary by state? Luckily, we've done extensive research into these questions and have the answers below. Let's check them out!
Although not all 50 states allow you to live in an RV on your property, quite a few do. A few states where it is entirely legal to reside in an RV on your land include:
- Washington State
- South Dakota
- New York
However, not all states/cities share the same RV laws, so check your local regulations before moving.
As we begin, we will cover all things RV living and discuss what states you can legally do this in. Whether it's time for a change or you're tired of having a landlord, we're here to offer some guidance. With that said, let's explore this topic!
Is It Legal To Live In An RV?
It can be entirely legal to reside in an RV, depending on where you are. Many states allow this, making switching to recreation vehicle living a bit easier.
However, not every state and county share the same policies. You may be somewhere with stricter laws regarding this, even if your RV is on your property.
Furthermore, it's also possible that you will have to pay property taxes for your RV if you decide to live in it full time. Considering the average RV doesn't cost more than $100,000, paying to live there will be much less than a standalone home.
Again, this all comes down to technicalities and local laws, so make sure to do your research before setting up camp.
Does Every State In The US Allow You To Live In An RV On Your Property?
No. Not every state inside the US will allow you to live full-time in an RV on your property. Although many states have legislation supporting this, you'd be surprised at the cities, counties, and states that don't encourage RV residences.
According to the IRS, you can claim an RV as a house for tax purposes. That means you will need to eat, sleep, and spend considerable time inside your vehicle to make it official.
As long as a structure has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities, the United States government will consider it a home. Again, zoning laws can prohibit you from setting up an RV in some places, so although your RV is your house, it needs to follow the law.
Which States Are The Most RV Friendly?
In general, the top three states for RV living are Texas, Florida, and South Dakota. Besides being somewhat loose with their regulations, these three states are extremely RV friendly.
Most importantly, Texas, Florida, and South Dakota are all income tax-free. So if you are somewhere like California that ranges from 1-12.3% income tax, this can be a considerable saving.
Additionally, these three states offer various mail forwarding services for those living in their RV. That can help receive and send important letters and packages, which isn't always easy without a home address.
Which States Aren't RV Friendly?
Although many states allow RV living without many limits, not all are the same. Less-friendly RV locations include California, New York, and Wyoming.
Even though you can technically reside in your recreational vehicle in these three states, their stringent laws can put extra stress on you as the owner.
For example, in California, you can't use all of the roads if your RV is bigger than 40 feet long. Gas prices also tend to be higher in California, so that isn't always ideal for those living full time in an RV.
Following a similar theme, New York also prohibits larger RVs from being on certain roads, including its longest parkway. Gas prices are also relatively high here, so that's something to consider.
Finally, Wyoming isn't as safe as other states for those living in RVs, which can be a problem. Many of their state parks are plagued with accidents and crime, so we don't recommend them.
Do Neighborhoods Allow RV Living?
For those wanting to purchase land and live in an RV, this is where things can get tricky. Not every neighborhood allows RV parking and living. This comes down to the HOA, local ordinances, and your neighbors.
Generally, as long as your property is well kept, you won't run into an issue living in an RV. However, if your community prohibits this, you could get fined by the city.
We recommend speaking to your neighborhood leaders/board before making any dramatic changes to your land to avoid legal issues down the road.
What Address Do You Use If You Live In An RV?
For those wanting to move into an RV full-time, your address is important. First, you can't use a recreational vehicle as a physical home address, so you'll need to use a mail forwarding service.
You can also ask a friend or family member to use their address for your mail, so that's something to consider. If that won't work, we suggest Escapees RV Club for all things mail, as they work closely with RV owners across the country.
Additionally, you can also use a PO box for your mail. To do this, you can go to the United States Postal Service and apply for a box in your city or through a third party.
Prices for a PO box usually stay around $50-$75, although this will depend on where you live.
Can I Live In An RV Park?
Yes! One of the more popular ways to live in an RV is directly in an RV park. Typically, you will need to pay a monthly "rent," covering your spot and other public facilities.
These will usually include on-site showers, a mailroom, dining, and other community activities. A huge benefit to living inside an RV park is that you will be safe and with other similar people.
This can be a great way to explore the country while making friends along the way. That said, not every RV campsite will allow long-term living, so make sure to reach out to your designated park beforehand.
Some locations have caps on how long a given vehicle can park on their grounds, which can make year-round living more difficult.
How Much Does It Cost To Live In An RV Park?
Generally, you can expect to spend between $500 and $1,200 per month living in an RV park. This average price range includes your monthly spot rent, utilities, and any associated park costs.
However, some RV parks may offer a discounted rate for longer stays, so you could spend less than average if you can negotiate. The location of an RV campground will also affect its price.
For example, a park near the beach in California or Florida is certainly going to be more expensive than one in rural Arizona, so demographics play a big role.
On-site amenities can also lead to a higher monthly rent, so if your RV park offers a mailroom, pool, showers, or any other "extra" services, expect to spend more money.
What Are The Pros Of RV Living?
If you're considering the RV lifestyle, there are plenty of pros. Some of the top positives of making the switch include:
- Freedom to move anywhere you want.
- Not having to pay a mortgage/rent.
- Increased travel and sightseeing.
- More opportunities to make friends.
Of course, these are just a few perks to RV living, so if you don't mind a more rustic lifestyle, we certainly recommend it. On top of that, with increasing property prices and rents, switching to RV living can save you a ton of money.
Although you may have to pay rent at an RV park/site, this will be much less than an actual apartment or home. Furthermore, many states don't charge you taxes on your recreational vehicle, which is a nice bonus.
Is Living In An RV Safe?
In general, living in an RV will be safe. Especially if you park in a designated campground or RV lot, the chances of something happening are slim.
Typically, RV communities are tight-knit. That means your neighbors will keep an eye out for you and your property if someone comes to cause trouble.
With that said, there are some points to consider about overall lifestyle adjustments in an RV. Most importantly, not every location will have access to resources like electricity, water, or safe driving conditions.
This can make traveling in your home unsafe and uncomfortable. We recommend doing plenty of research before finding a new space for your RV to avoid any struggles/safety concerns.
To Wrap Up
Whether you want to make a dramatic life change or don't want to keep paying rent, knowing where you can live in an RV is essential. From what we found, many states are extremely RV friendly and accommodating.
These include Washington State, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, California, New York, and Pennsylvania, to name a few. Of course, not every county/state shares the same lenient RV policies, so do your research before moving.
Regardless, try to find a neighborhood that permits RV living, and don't be afraid to rent a spot at your local RV camp.
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