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Old 01-02-2013, 04:05 PM   #1
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Question Storing Airstream in Back Yard Allowed - Regs?

So the wife and I are going to list our current home for sale this weekend formally and move into another house in the neighborhood that has a bit more space. We are also going to likely buy an airstream in 2014 presuming all of our research and experience during 2013 still leads us to that decision.

Anyway, as we have been looking at houses, luckily all the houses we like are in neighborhoods with no home owner's associations and such. They are right in town though (bluff park, hoover, AL if you know it) and some of the lots look like they could easily accomodate an AS of nearly any length in the back yard - my wife's favorite at the moment has a huge back yard..really flat, no trees - it looks idea.

Anyway...how do I know if either parking my trailer back there would be in some way an issue as far as city regs or something? And/or if erecting some form of structure to either just cover it (either portable canvas type or tin roof type or build something more substantive) may also attract legal attention? I will ask the real estate agent, but wanted to ask you all as well.

This is not a majordriving force for our decision making...ive already been researching storage costs (found 40 per month uncovered, 115 per month covered with power, 220 indoors, no climate control, has power..still looking though at this point)...but we figure we will at least have it as a consideration...I think the area we are looking at its all open...like it or not, ive seen in these areas I am speaking of some pretty crummy old buildings, junkers in the front, etc...mostly though not so much...I would find a spot in the back that is out of the way, or the building I would erect do some barrier landscaping and such over time...I am thinking I will have no issues perhaps...plus if its a shiny AS, it will help home values right

Anyway, this is all a bit premature, but as I wait for the money to get into the bank, I figure ill get my ducks in a row.

Thanks,
Ellery
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:11 PM   #2
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Assume nothing....

Be sure to check town and county reg regarding rec vehicle storage as well as HOA regs. You may be surprised. There are lots of local ordinances about storing RVs, boats etc long term on your property.

Call the code enforcement folks in your town (often a police Dept officer) or the building, planning and permit section of the town hall. They will be able to tell you current city regs.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Storing Airstream in Back Yard Allowed - Regs?

Greetings PharmGeek!

I would add the following to the good advice posted by Janet. If the property that you are looking at is in an area where septic tanks are currently used or may have been used in the past it is a good idea to learn where the septic tank is located on the property. If the home is now on public sewers but may have once relied upon a septic tank it is wise to find out where the septic tank is and whether it was propery abandoned.

It seems like almost every home that I have owned has been located in a subdivision that originally relied on individual septic tanks and was then connected to public sewers. Two times I have found improperly abandoned septic tanks . . . one just collapsed opening a large hole in my back yard . . . the other was discovered when my Argosys wheel and tire made a large hole in the rust degraded top of the abandoned septic tank.

Good luck with your home search!

Kevin
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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If in an unincorporated area of a county, check with their planning, zoning and/or building departments about restrictions on RV's, any building you may want to shelter it and setbacks from the property line. Same as towns and cities. Often you can find ordinances online, but you can ask to see them at the government offices. Sometimes the code people are wrong and best to have read the ordinances first to know what to ask.

Also there may be covenants, but no HOA or covenants (called declarations here) and an HOA, or an HOA that has become moribund and may return to life. The realtor may not know any of this. Those documents are usually distributed to buyers after a contract is signed, but ask for them beforehand.

If you are not used to backing a trailer, ask a friend who can to see if it is possible to get in and out of the back yard.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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Yep, find out what your city ordinances are.

We cannot park ours in the driveway November 1-April 1, can store it in the back yard as long as it is not forward of the rear wall.



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Old 01-02-2013, 07:44 PM   #6
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Maggie, wow, your Interstate looks like a regular van type family car, strict where you live. I am so far lucky but might be pushing the envelope with TWO in the driveway at the moment. I am in process of selling my non AS. sub
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:16 PM   #7
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As all of the above have said, check with the local authority having jurisdiction. Also, and this is the most important, have them show you (and make you a copy of) the by-law that specifically allows the storage of your trailer on your property along with any caveats regarding fencing/screening, etc. In simple, get it in writing! Don't settle for someone at the counter telling you that it's okay.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sbb View Post
Maggie, wow, your Interstate looks like a regular van type family car, strict where you live. I am so far lucky but might be pushing the envelope with TWO in the driveway at the moment. I am in process of selling my non AS. sub
Yes, and these are supposed to be used as a second vehicle. I think the defining feature is the bathroom, as I recall. Defines it as an RV.

After having to be pulled out of snow and ice in the back yard two January's in a row, we rented a storage space.


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Old 01-02-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
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I don't know about BC, but in the US a statement from a code person is not going to help you if he or she were wrong. That includes a letter or even a permit issued (which could be voided if someone in the gov't discovers the guy who issued the permit was wrong).

What Canadians call "by-laws" we call "ordinances".

Getting a copy of all the applicable ordinances is good. A copy of the law may be modified or contradicted by some other law. Best to check it all yourself. Be sure to look at anything that seems remotely about what can be on the property including the "definitions" section. They are not always clear, even to lawyers.

Covenants, declarations, HOA rules, etc., also can be badly written and things can be hidden in strange places. Developers often copy older covenants and declarations that are out of date, illegal, or badly done. Some states have adopted statutes that prohibit the worst practices of HOA boards, but I doubt they confer any rights to RV owners.

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:48 PM   #10
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Start planting some Leyland Cyprus now for coverage - they grow quickly.

Some areas have rules about keeping vehicles' wheels on the driveway (as opposed to grass) - as an effort I assume to reduce abandoned cars in yards.

Make this your worst problem! You will love owning an Airstream!!
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:18 PM   #11
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I have homework to do - not even sure what "HOA" is

I figured it could be tricky - it must not be too bad as far as enforcement - ive seen a few Moho's in driveways in my own neighborhood - but my guess is that a neighbor could perhaps instigate "proper" enforcement of something in writing.

I'll figure out what's in the laws somehow and go from there - if I were to spend $$ on a building I would most definately want to make sure it was certain
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:22 PM   #12
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HOA = Homeowners Association. They are the group designated to enforce the rules for that subdivision. They have a reputation for pettiness and ignoring people's rights. That's an overgeneralization perhaps, but I know it happens too often.

Certainly if you see RV's in a subdivision, they are probably allowed. But you have to know the boundaries.

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Old 01-02-2013, 09:26 PM   #13
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Add to what has been posted so far that while some areas will allow you to store your TT on your property, there are less places that will let you live in it as an abode.

It seems that storage is easier to find than living quarters.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:34 PM   #14
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If you are in old part of Bluff Park I doubt there is a HOA or restrictions. 30 years ago that was considered way out of town, out in the country.Most of those homes were built in the1950's.
The sub-divisions built in the 90's and up all have HOA with restrictions.I supplies most of the builders in that area Millworks from late 80's thru 2010.Most were good contractors some not so.I would look into a good a GOOD home inspector.The artificial stucco was a big thing in that area that has caused
problems.
When you get a Title search on the property the easements,Hoa,and restrictions will come to light. Nice area, good views along the Bluff road on the west side.
Good luck,
Jack
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