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Old 06-11-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
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Legality of Full Time Living

Quick question from people experienced in the way of full time Airstream living: Have you ran into any issues with the legality of living full time in an RV? I guess this question is especially slated towards those who boondocks more than not, especially closer to urban areas. It has come to my attention that tiny homes, RV living, and pretty much every atypical housing option has a lot of laws and or zoning to either discouraging it or making it illegal all together. I want to know from experience if those full timing think the Airstream alleviates or compounds issues. An Airstream obviously draws more attention, they are definitely beautiful and unique. Does this attention make problems worse or the fact that it is not a terrible white box with rust and water stains running down the side make people be more receptive of your alternative arrangement and think of you less as homeless/squatter/generally undesirable? or is the law the law and there is no appreciable difference? I know I would probably be less likely to complain about an Airstream parked somewhere then a typical junky looking 20 year old trailer or motorhome and as I understand it many of these issues are complaint driven. Curious to hear your experiences...
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:13 PM   #2
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Hi

There are essentially no rules at the state or national level that impact full time living in an RV. Once you get outside a city / town / village you leave that stuff behind. If you *do* decide to live full time in an RV inside city limits then, yes you very much *can* (and people do) run into problems. The question is how quickly you run into a problem. In some areas, parking overnight is illegal (and people do get cited). In other areas it takes weeks to trigger the local laws.

Bob
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:35 PM   #3
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What is happening nationwide is that many people are choosing not to live in Sticks and Bricks as has been customary in the past.

With new living and dwelling environments will come new regulations but usually they come after the new and fun ways of living grow in popularity and somebody feels they're being impacted by it.

Full-time rvers as a way of life has been very popular now for many many years. Because of that it's more commonly accepted.

Essentially the more people do it, living unconventionally, the more various factions and departments of government will find a need to legislate it, regulated it, enorce it and collect some form of revenue.

Some states have been very lenient when it comes to claiming residency, driver's licenses, registrations, taxes Etc. Some of those states are starting to change their requirements as their populations show one thing, their census shows another thing, their MVD motor registrations show another thing and their taxable income from residents is yet another thing. You get the idea.

Most towns, cities, hamlet's, villages etc have guidelines with regard to how long you can park a motor vehicle on a public street for any particular length of time. As rving and stealth van life has become more popular many cities specifically prohibit RV parking in some areas of the public streets. Areas dependent on tourism often have particular parking lot set aside where RVs can stop for periods of time but maybe not overnight.

Many people moved out to the county's thinking that it was all bets off. We are all learning that counties and rural areas have also enacted a variety of legislation to let them decide who parks or builds what on that property and how it's used.

Long answer short the bottom line is check where you want to park for longer terms to find out what the legalities are.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:42 PM   #4
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Our Airstream makes us somewhat conspicuous, so there's little possibility of "stealth" camping, i.e. camping where you're not permitted to do so and going unnoticed. You might be able to do that in a panel van, but not in the Airstream. We have no desire to go where we are unwelcome, so it's not a problem for us.

My lifestyle is nobody's business but my own, and I take care to keep it that way. There are lots of places you're not allowed to park, or the length of your parking is limited. You can avoid problems by finding legal boondocks, and not overstaying your welcome.

I suppose we do stretch a few county ordinances or HOA regulations from time to time by parking in a friend's driveway in a neighborhood. But we try not to be a nuisance, and we don't normally stay more than a month or two. I think the most likely consequence would be having to leave a place sooner than we had planned. It hasn't been a problem yet.

Housesitting is a good option if you want to stay close to an urban areas. You might even get paid to be there. Boondockers Welcome is good for short stays while you are passing through.

You're really only likely to run into legal trouble if you're trying to stay in one place for a long period of time or generally making a nuisance of yourself. For nomads, there's an easy solution to being told you have to move: move.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:54 PM   #5
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And as already stated, the IRS is going to want to know where you are. Retired? Then Medicare wants to know. It does get complicated, at least it did for me. Then there’s boondocking which is great until you need water or to dump the tanks, legally. Plan to move around a Lot? You still need to have car tag, insurance, etc. You’re still going to need a valid drivers licenses. I guess there is always “homeless” but if you have any $$ and don’t want to actually have cash, you need a checking account and the bank is going to want a physical address. There are always bills, water, sewer, electric, internet, phone...they know your address.
Going completely off the grid permanently sounds great until you realize just how hard it really is.
Beauty is in the eye ....just because we think Airstreams are wonderful, not everyone else feels the same. I’ve also seen some pretty ragged out, sad, neglected Airstreams.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:02 PM   #6
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Hi

If you ever have gone through the process of building (or expanding ) on a lot yourself .... there are all sorts of regulations. One of the most common relates to how you will dispose of sewage. It's not a nice dinner topic, but there is always a process to certify how you will address it. Simply pulling up to "empty space at location XXX" likely does not trigger this stuff. As soon as your occupancy begins to look "long term" you will trigger the same rules and regulations with an RV as you would putting / expanding any residence on the same location.

No free lunch !!

Bob
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:00 AM   #7
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We finally made South Dakota or legal residence. It took signing up at Dakota Post (3916 N Potsdam Ave. Sioux Falls, SD) for mail service. Then we stayed overnight in a RV park to get a physical address. Then we went to the Motor Vehicle Department to get a driver's license and register to vote. Done, we are now a SD resident. Our driver's license has our mail postal box number at Dakota Post's address. We then converted/new insurances: Auto, trailer, Medicare, Health Ins, Prescription Drug Ins, All with our Mail Service address. By the way, most of our premiums went down. I save over $3000 in sales tax when I bought my truck and over $2500 when I bought the trailer.


The mail service is great. Only this address is given out to everyone. NO local address. When I want my mail, I log into the website and schedule a delivery time and place. This has worked for me for the past 9 years living as a full timer.


I only park/stay at places that are designed to handle my rig. I never say on the side of the road or in some field off the road even if I had permission from the owner. I love my electricity too much. But, I am mostly off the grid and only the people I want to know where I am know.



If you really want to be off the grid you have to travel north at least 1000 miles.


Enjoy what you have worked so hard for; stop worrying about big brother. If anyone wants to find you, they can. It may take a little while but they can.


Happy Streaming...
PS.. We have traveled over 40,000 miles with our 27FB Classic and I wouldn't trade it for anything. ENJOY....
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:41 AM   #8
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You'd love the youtube channel by Bob wells called "cheap rv living" also the website of the same name. TONS of useful info and interviews with fulltimers and boondockers. He covers it all!
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:45 AM   #9
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Gr.austin,

Great information from somebody who's doing it. If it's not too personal for taxes and voting purposes are you considered Dakota residents. Is there any requirement to visit the state after you have set all of these things up. Does Dakota have a annual vehicle inspection.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pythonesk View Post
You'd love the youtube channel by Bob wells called "cheap rv living" also the website of the same name. TONS of useful info and interviews with fulltimers and boondockers. He covers it all!
I agree, this is a very interesting and informative site.

Maggie
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:51 AM   #11
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Also check out the youtube channels nomadic fanatic and camper van Kevin.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:53 AM   #12
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When I saw this thread title my mind went in a different direction simply because of the type of law that I still practice full-time: elder law. And, we live in our AS Classic not far from our office.

Make sure you have up-to-date Powers of Attorney for both financial and health care decisions and that you carry copies with you as you travel. If your state of residence has a Living Will (sometimes called proxy, or dying declaration) take that, too.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr.austin View Post
We finally made South Dakota or legal residence. It took signing up at Dakota Post (3916 N Potsdam Ave. Sioux Falls, SD) for mail service. Then we stayed overnight in a RV park to get a physical address. Then we went to the Motor Vehicle Department to get a driver's license and register to vote. Done, we are now a SD resident. Our driver's license has our mail postal box number at Dakota Post's address. We then converted/new insurances: Auto, trailer, Medicare, Health Ins, Prescription Drug Ins, All with our Mail Service address. By the way, most of our premiums went down. I save over $3000 in sales tax when I bought my truck and over $2500 when I bought the trailer.


The mail service is great. Only this address is given out to everyone. NO local address. When I want my mail, I log into the website and schedule a delivery time and place. This has worked for me for the past 9 years living as a full timer.


I only park/stay at places that are designed to handle my rig. I never say on the side of the road or in some field off the road even if I had permission from the owner. I love my electricity too much. But, I am mostly off the grid and only the people I want to know where I am know.



If you really want to be off the grid you have to travel north at least 1000 miles.


Enjoy what you have worked so hard for; stop worrying about big brother. If anyone wants to find you, they can. It may take a little while but they can.


Happy Streaming...
PS.. We have traveled over 40,000 miles with our 27FB Classic and I wouldn't trade it for anything. ENJOY....

I have been a full-time Airstream-er for 5-1/2 years. Have my mail sent to a UPS store; "borrow" a friends' address for insurance purposes, home is wherever I park her, and visit my friends in Seattle area. Enjoy the opportunity to live a great life on the road. When I do park in a place for the a night...I have communicated with someone if it is okay. Do stay at Love's truck stops, state visitor centers in-between various state parks or ! I do volunteering at state parks...great way to learn an area. Ah am enjoying my travels
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:08 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the responses. I will look into the youtube channel aforementioned.

I anticipate that the logistics of mail ect. would be tricky but I am more specifically inquiring about any personal experiences with being ticketed, driveway surfing, or being asked to move? Basically any sort of hard legal lines or similar issues without solution besides maybe to move or compromise in some way.
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