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Old 03-06-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
portland , Oregon
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Full-timing in residential areas ?

i've been interested in the idea of full-timing in a residental area in portland, oregon (multnomah county). i'm sure there have been others, in various parts of the u.s. that have either considered this or in fact, attempted with success or failure.

i would love to receive some input from those who have! i am currently setup at sauvie island, here in portland. it's a wonderful spot and the summer's are quite amazing. however, i miss the proximity of the city. portland's neighborhoods are soft and inviting. it is also very progressive in the green sense. as i understand, there are a few shipping containers that have been converted into livable units. surely the idea may apply to a vintage beauty such as an 77 land yacht!

cheers and looking forward to some mail!

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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North Vancouver , British Columbia
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Check with your local municipal/town hall. There are very likely bylaws preventing you from doing what you propose.

Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:07 AM   #3
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We found a real deal on 125 acres in beautiful section of N.C., just far enough yet accessible from highways, rolling terrain, partly wooded and it seemed affordable. But the land has restrictions prohibiting modular or mobile home. Blows it for us, we would love to site an iHouse someday but it is modular so cannot go on that beautiful tract.

Not biggie for us, we're not ready anyhow, but we thought it was pretty sucky to disallow such a great living unit as iHouse. I mean, that's like not letting your Airstream live in Portland, eh?

regards, Jim
Chasing 75 Degrees,

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Old 03-13-2011, 10:10 AM   #4
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I think you may be interpreting the covenants to strictly. Usually they are meant to preclude "mobile" homes that are now sometimes referred to as "modular" since they can be double wide etc. Factory built stick homes or "industrialized" housing is usually not precluded. Think anything that comes to your site with wheels attached is what is precluded.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:47 PM   #5
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That'd be nice if it worked. The iHouse is nothing at all like a mobile home inside or out, from floor framing and 2x6 walls to the investment grade galvanized standing seam roof, and the semi-instantaneous water heater, dual-flush toilets, and Andersen Low-E windows and exterior door systems. It is built on a 16' x 62' frame, completed, then placed on transport axles for shipment. On delivery it slides onto the foundation system or the owner can have it craned into place if side-slide won't work.

Pretty neat setup, great results. Now if only we can figure out where we want to live. . .

regards, Jim
Chasing 75 Degrees,

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Old 03-14-2011, 03:06 PM   #6
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Other posters are correct that there are often various covenants, ordinances, and land use (zoning) policies that interfere with what you are trying to do. My advice would be to involve competent legal counsel involved early before buying any land or signing a long-term lease. Best to find a local attorney who specializes in real estate law.

You may find that things work out better if you have your trailer parked adjacent to a legally habitable house that you own or rent, even if the house has little practical value, though even this can pose problems.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:48 PM   #7
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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Most likely you will need power, water and sewer hookups. Even in the rural county where I live, a county without building codes or zoning, water and sewer would be required. Living in an RV is likely to be prohibited in many places. How to find out what you can do is the same whether you plan to live in on or store it on your property next to your house.

Many suburbs have ordinances and resolutions (bylaws in Canada) prohibiting anything that doesn't look like an idyllic suburban life with white picket fences and the rest. Living in a trailer or motorhome is something they think gypsies, ne-er do wells and bottom feeders do—this is discrimination and bigotry in many cases, but you have to deal with it. You can often find local laws online and then you can go through them. That can be tedious, but necessary.

Some places have tried to ban pickup trucks unless they are garaged, so you can imagine there are even more anti-RV ones. Some prohibit street parking, some prohibit parking where an RV is visible, or perhaps in the driveway, but not alongside or behind the house.

Then there are homeowner association restrictions contained usually in covenants and/or declarations. These are often even stricter and you may face HOA boards run by people with little regard for due process. Sometimes states have restricted some things HOA's can do, so you have to check that too.

Realtors may tell you things that are not true, either because of ignorance, difficulty finding out the truth, or they just want to make a sale. Insist in any offer to purchase that there be a statement that the seller warrants that RV's are permitted on the property (and where on the property) and the sale is conditioned on that being true. Once a deal is made, then you have to check. The seller is supposed to provide you with all covenants, declarations and other HOA documents in a reasonable time (usually a date certain is in the contract) and go over them carefully, then confirm by contacting the HOA. Also contact the municipality and the county to find out any rules—the person you talk to may be wrong, so you also have to local at local ordinances, etc.

This sounds daunting to many people. Even though I know how to do this, it's still a pain. You may need a lawyer.

If you can't store (or live in) an RV, you will have additional expenses. It's pain to get an RV ready at a storage facility and winterizing and summerizing may be impossible. Fixing things is also difficult—electricity may not be available for example. I think an RV stored at home is less likely to be stolen, or if not, at least I can see it everyday and know it's there. This is something to get right. Some places can't conceive that anyone would fix things themselves and may think servants will get it ready for travel.

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Old 03-14-2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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In this small city, here they move you around til they know everything about you, then they leave you alone, and go stick their nose in some body elses business.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:11 PM   #9
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Think large metal building with a rool up door and an "office" with shower and toilet. Roll trailer in and shut the door. Most everyone will ignore that except for the one busy-body on the block
Michael & Tina with Layla and Preston BZ
The family has grown.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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Thumbs up I'd stay put

I checked out the link to where you are staying.
That looks really nice.
I especially enjoyed that part where they charge trailers with slide outs $10.00 more per night.

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Old 03-14-2011, 05:56 PM   #11
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Doubtful that we'd get away with parking our AS in the "hood" for any length of time. Rules are rules I guess and residents are not suppose to park, even overnight to be able to get a quick start the next morning. We store about eight blocks away, so it is not too bad. Your plan sounds like fun- good luck.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:07 PM   #12
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We were directed here: or to call Phone Room at 503-742-4500 when we were looking to buy a 'fixer' house in nearby Portland as we inquired if we would legally be able to live in motorhome on property until we finished all the work on the house.They also have zoning law info.
The response we received from Customer Service gave a complete description of requirements.
If Multnomah County has same service available you'll get your answers.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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Our former house was in historic district. Could park an RV but only on pavement. After much designing and deliberating I finally layer two gravel tracks and parked the trailer on that paving. Looked fine, drained well, and met zoning requirements. Oh, and we i invited the neighbors in for glasses of wine and gave them tours of trailer, everything worked out great.

But, we did have a real house in front.

regards, Jim
Chasing 75 Degrees,

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Old 06-05-2011, 09:44 PM   #14
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Colorado Springs , Colorado
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We are considering a lake lot and a portable building to park our 25 ft. trailer for temporary living. I found a website that has some interesting portable buildings (8 pictures) including one with an Airstream parked under it. The reason for the building is to park a motorcycle, trailer, and truck under it to handle various weather conditions. Here is the website. Hope this helps. RV Storage Buildings, Steel RV Storage | SteelMaster Buildings

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