Maybe, or maybe not. It depends on the city or county. Most cities have laws against camping within their borders, with exceptions for RV parks and campgrounds. Anti-camping laws were created to help them deal with homeless sleeping in tents on sidewalks or in parks. Generally, the city won’t cite you for living in a motorhome on your own land, unless they receive complaints from neighbors.
Larger cities tend to have bigger problems with motorhomes parked along city streets, parking lots, and drive ways, and thus have more strict laws. They also enforce these laws more proactively. Towns in rural areas tend to have relaxed laws, and tend to enforce them only when there are complaints.
Can I Live in a Motorhome on My Own Land?
Generally, cities don’t want eyesores and potential health hazards in their community. This is because they took great care to design beautiful neighborhoods, attract high income professionals, and increase property values. They don’t want to see hundreds of motorhomes parked in driveways, side yards, or even backyards, with a potential of spilling human waste.
Many cities are now adopting overnight parking bans, as well as bans against sleeping in vehicles. This is to help them deal with the increase of RVs parking along city streets.
Read our other article, “Is Camping On Your Own Land Illegal?“
Local Housing Codes May Prohibit Motorhome Living
Cities are also rewriting ordinances on what constitutes a sufficient domicile for health and safety concerns. They want to ensure that every residence has heating, cooling, running water, doors, windows, toilets, and a separate room for pooping and peeing. They also want to make sure every residence is free of leaks, mold, mildew, rodents and insects, and dangerous materials like leaded paint and asbestos. Moreover, they want to make sure residences have electricity, clean running water, and sewer.
If your motorhome meets all of these requirement, then you may very well be fine with housing codes. However, there will always be a pesky neighbor who wants to report you to City Hall. Thus, be sure you are aware of the housing codes and are prepared to defend yourself.
Septic Tank or City Sewer Is Mandatory
Cities and counties don’t care that you have a black tank and that you dump it at an RV dump station every couple of weeks. They will still require that you have either an underground septic tank or access to city sewer. If you can show them that your black tank hose is draining into a septic tank or city sewer, on your property, you should be fine.
This is simply their assurance that you won’t pass bacterial infection to others, stink up the town, and contaminate the ground water.
It’s Illegal to Run a Standard Extension Cord Outdoors for Long Term Use
Practically every city and county have ordinances that prohibit running an an ordinary household extension cord outside for long term, or permanent use.
Hence, if your plan was to connect your motorhome to a 110/120 volt house outlet, or utility box, you will have to take great care to make sure you research city/county codes on the type of cable you’re using, and employ all required precautions to minimize loose connections, and make sure the cable doesn’t get trampled by people, animals, or machinery.
If a neighbor notifies City Hall that you’re living in your motorhome as a permanent residence, a city building inspector will come by to make sure your motorhome meets all building codes. If they see a standard extension cord stretched across grass, dirt, driveway, with little to no protection, you will likely be cited and fined.
Homeowners Associations Don’t Allow RV Living
Almost all homeowners associations and property owners associations have covenants against living in an RV within their jurisdiction, and even sleeping overnight in an RV. Many will often prohibit parking an RV along public roads, and even parking RV anywhere on your property that is visible to public view.
HOAs and POAs are more “anal” about guarding against black tank leaks and leaking oil and fuel in their neighborhood. They are also more anal about keeping their property values high, and don’t like seeing 40 foot coaches anywhere in their jurisdiction.
See recent news article, “Couple Could Face Jail Time for Living in RV in Their Driveway“.