Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in living in recreational vehicles (RVs) and campers full-time. As recently as 2018, it was estimated that more than 1 million Americans live in their RVs. 

For many, the idea of being able to freely move about the country and bring your home with you is too good to pass up. These modern-day nomads are either retired, work remotely, or have some other arrangement where they can afford to always be on the move.

Some, however, might want to combine the freedom of an RV with the permanency of a home with a yard. For this sizable demographic, the question of whether or not you can live in your RV is a little more complex and depends on a number of factors.

Parking Your Camper in Your Backyard

If you already own your home and are looking for a place to keep your RV, it might seem logical to park it in your driveway or backyard. Before you do so, however, you will want to make sure you check all local zoning restrictions and regulations

In fact, a great deal of research will be in order and you may also want to consider contacting a real estate specialist or lawyer who can look into your local ordinances on your behalf to make sure you don’t miss anything. Some jurisdictions might allow you to park your RV or camper in one place, while another will ban them altogether.

If you are looking to go beyond merely storing your RV in your yard and actually want to live in it, that is another story completely. The federal government does not recognize RVs as permanent dwellings. This rule is actually meant to lessen the burden of RV manufacturers and was applauded by RV enthusiasts when it was released.

However, it does mean that you can’t legally live in your camper or RV in your backyard. That said, whether or not you can stay in it temporarily while work is being done to your house, or use it as a guest house for family, or even as a rental on a site like Airbnb, is something you will need to check out at the local level.

Finally, it should be noted that while it is against the law to live in your camper in your backyard, criminal penalties are unlikely. Even fines are not likely to be a first step. If local authorities find that you are illegally living in your camper or RV, they will most likely simply ask you to stop.

How Can You Legally Live in Your RV or Camper? 

If you still want to chase the dream of living in your RV or camper, there are plenty of ways to do so. The most common way to live in your camper or RV is to reserve a spot at one of Kentucky’s many RV parks or campgrounds. Some parks are only seasonal and have a limit on how long you can stay, while others allow you to stay for a year with the chance to renew the reservation annually.

The other way you can live in your RV is by traveling around the country. America has a vast network of campgrounds and RV parks unrivaled by any other country. You can be in Yosemite one day and then find yourself in the Everglades a few days later.

Follow the Law

As with all legal matters, it is always best to know the law and follow it. If your homeowner association or local government has strict laws regulating campers and RVs, it is best to consult an attorney who understands the laws and can help ensure you aren’t in violation. If you are unhappy with the laws in your area, you could always work to change them or move to a more rural location where regulations might be more lenient.