Buying a piece of land and living in a caravan seems to be a great way to save on expenses and live a more free life surrounded by nature. If this is something you desire, you might wonder, can I buy land and live in a caravan?
You can buy land and live on it in a caravan. However, every city, county, and state has different zoning and building regulations. And rules on whether you’re allowed to live in a mobile living arrangement full-time. Doing research before buying land and making it your primary residence is critical.
This article shares the most important information you need to know before buying land and living in your caravan. We share general rules and in-depth information for several countries like the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Portugal. So continue reading.
Things To Know Before Buying Land And Live In A Caravan
In many countries, no specific laws prevent people from living in a caravan on their own land. In most cases, it is allowed to place a caravan for a couple of weeks or months on your land when there are construction activities to the main house. But this is a bit different.
It’s important to note that there may be local zoning and building regulations that you need to comply with, so it’s always a good idea to check with your local authorities before making any decisions.
If you plan to live in a caravan permanently, you may need to make sure that your land has access to water, electricity, and sewage disposal. Or perhaps you want to live off-grid, or you may need to install a septic system or connect to the local sewer system. Depending on the location of your land, you may also need to consider factors such as climate, accessibility, and proximity to amenities and services.
Additionally, if you plan to live in a caravan on your own land, you may need to purchase insurance to protect your property and belongings. This could include insurance for the caravan itself and liability insurance in case someone is injured on your property.
As you can see, it is possible but not as easy as it might sound. Your success depends on your thorough research and the location you want to buy your land. There may be local regulations and practical considerations that you need to take into account. So it is always a good idea to do your research and consult with local authorities and experts before deciding to buy a piece of property.
Let’s dive into the different countries of the USA, Australia, the UK, and Portugal a bit more to get a better inside look.
Can I Buy Land And Live In A Caravan In The USA?
Yes, you can buy land and live in a caravan in the USA, but there may be specific regulations that you must comply with, depending on the state and local jurisdiction where the land is located. It is important to check with the local authorities before making any decisions.
In the USA, there are often zoning and building regulations that govern the use of land, including regulations that relate to living in a caravan. For example, some states or localities may have restrictions on the use of recreational vehicles (RVs) as a primary residence, while others may have more lenient regulations.
The following resources may be helpful in your research:
- The RV Industry Association (RVIA) provides information on living in an RV, including the regulations governing using RVs as a primary residence.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides information on manufactured homes, including the regulations governing the use of manufactured homes as primary residences.
- The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) provides information on RV parks and campgrounds, including the regulations governing the use of RV parks as primary residences.
Video Tutorial: Buying RV or Travel Trailer-Friendly Land In the USA
In terms of practical considerations, if you plan to live in a caravan on your own land, you will likely need to ensure that the land has access to water, electricity, and sewage disposal. Or you have a construction plan ready. The following rules are to be followed by all caravan residents:
- Proper Wastage
No one wants to live on a dirty property filled with garbage, right? Hence, the land you purchase must have access to the city sewage system, ensuring that you dispose of your waste properly without polluting your residence and its surroundings.
Septic tanks are also a good alternative if you cannot connect with your city’s waste site. These airtight tanks are buried deep into the ground, consuming little space.
- Prohibition Of 110-120V Electric Cables
You cannot live in a caravan if you want to use 110-120 volt cables. The usage of these cords is prohibited due to their low efficiency rate. Additionally, since they operate slowly, these particular voltages are also more expensive. Hence, residential parks do not allow their caravan residents to use these volts. As such, a 220-volt electric cable is recommended as it will work faster and save you money!
- Maximum Number Of Occupants
Unfortunately, the government has set laws regarding the maximum number of residents in a caravan, depending on its size. You will have to fill out an application before living in your caravan, where you will be required to state the number of members in your family. Your request will only be approved if the council thinks all members can easily live in the caravan together.
In addition, if there are children with you, you will have to mention them in the application so the government can make regulations accordingly.
- Power Usage
You must also describe how you intend to power the appliances in your trailer. The municipality will want to ensure that the power generated by your caravan won’t place an excessive strain on surrounding homes. You’ll need to show that your caravan will be fueled separately in order to alleviate their concerns.
The following table shows several independent power sources for a caravan:
|When To Use It?
|Deep cycle battery
|Rechargeable batteries make a permanent solution.
|The sun’s energy can be converted to energy.
|Portable small generators when you plan to move a lot.
Can I Buy land And Live In A Caravan In The United Kingdom?
In the UK, owning land and living in a caravan is possible. However, there are a number of limitations and licensing requirements that you must know and abide by. In the UK, there are often planning and building regulations that govern land use, including regulations related to living in a caravan.
For example, some local authorities may have restrictions on the use of caravans as a primary residence, while others may have more lenient regulations. Each council has its own regulations. Therefore thorough research is needed.
You do not need a planning license or permit to park a caravan on your property for 28 days. But since you want to buy land and live on it, in most all cases, you need permission. And in the UK, that is called planning permission.
As the couple below explains, they bought the land that already had the permits and permission to live in a caravan because it has been a caravan park before.
Video: How To Find Land And Live In A Caravan In The UK
If you want to buy agricultural land, it becomes a bit harder, but this guy in the video below explains how to do it.
Video: How To Put Caravan On Agricultural Land
I’ve also investigated if you can live on somebody’s driveway in your caravan, and this is what I found out:
You can live in your caravan on a driveway with these requirements:
– Caravan is movable and a maximum of 20m long, 6.8m wide, and 3.05m tall,
– Is an extra extension of the house used by living residents,
– Property deeds allow caravan parking,
– It doesn’t obstruct your neighbor’s view, drive, etc.
When you start doing your research, the following resources may be helpful:
- The National Caravan Council (NCC) provides information on caravanning and living in a caravan, including information on the regulations governing caravans’ use as a primary residence.
- The Planning Portal is a government website that provides information on the planning process and the regulations that apply to building and using structures on land, including caravans.
- The Residential Park Homes Forum provides information and advice for residents of residential parks, including information on the regulations that govern the use of residential parks as a primary residence.
Can You Buy Land And Live In Your Caravan In Australia?
In Australia, land use, including caravans as a primary residence, is governed by state and local planning and building regulations. Some states and territories have specific regulations that apply to living in a caravan on your own land, while others have more general regulations that apply to the use of land.
Often you can only reside in your caravan on your land for a month (30 days) in Australia. Even so, you must consider the municipality’s regulations and confirm that you have filed for permission to reside in a caravan. You should clarify your plans for trash disposal, your electricity source, and your caravan’s source of energy in the permit application.
One of the most serious council issues about campervan living is toilet waste disposal. Some municipalities will want a toilet with plumbing access if your caravan is placed on a residential property, while others demand a waste management strategy. In most cases, waste material from a caravan should be dumped at a certain point. So you should look for the closest dump station if you intend to reside in a trailer on your property.
But don’t be discouraged. There are people who do it, so there is a way. And to help do your research, here are some good resources:
- The Caravan Industry Association of Australia provides information on caravanning and living in a caravan, including information on the regulations governing caravans’ use as a primary residence.
- The Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment (DPIE) in New South Wales provides information on the planning process and the regulations that apply to building and using structures on land, including caravans. According to the DPIE, the regulations that apply to living in a caravan on your own land may include requirements for building permits, water, and sewage connections, and compliance with fire and safety regulations.
- In Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning provides information on the planning and building regulations that apply to living in a caravan on your own land. The regulations that apply to living in a caravan on your own land in Victoria may include requirements for building permits, planning permits, and compliance with fire and safety regulations.
Video: Tips For Buying Vacant Land In Australia
Can You Buy Land And Live In A Caravan In Portugal?
You can reside in your caravan on your land in Portugal. However, you will have to obtain the council’s permission, which is difficult and time-consuming. Also, mobile homes like caravans are not preferred in the country, making it even more challenging to get a permit. In some areas, living in a caravan on your own land may be considered a form of rural tourism and subject to specific regulations and restrictions. In these cases, you may need to obtain a permit or authorization from the local municipality to use the land for this purpose.
According to Pure Portugal: “If you put a house on wheels or use a mobile home, it might be considered «wild camping,» and town hall might require you to remove it. Even if it truly serves as temporary housing, the law says temporary cannot go beyond 365 days. And to qualify as temporary, the house cannot have foundations or be connected to public utilities, such as electricity, water, and sewage, because of taxes.”
This means you are allowed to place a caravan on your land for 365 days when you’re doing a rebuild. Nobody keeps track of the number of days, and often there is no problem with placing a caravan for several years to receive friends or accommodate family members. And if you’re exploiting the land for agricultural purposes, you can place structures such as caravans that serve as a shelter for people and tools.
Video Tutorial: How To Buy Land In Portugal
Buying Land and Living In A Caravan Criteria
When it comes to buying land and living in a caravan on that land, you’ll find that general rules and regulations are more or less the same in many countries. However, the exact details within these rules differ from country to country and sometimes even on a county level. So, we start off with the general rules and regulations you need to keep in mind when buying land and a caravan to live in on that land. For these general rules, we assume that it is allowed in your country to live in a caravan on your land.
Destination Of The Land
Suppose you found yourself a beautiful land. Just a small drive outside a city or large village. Big enough to grow a nice vegetable garden, enjoy life in nature, and put your caravan on it. The first thing you need to find out is the destination of that piece of land.
In most countries, the land is divided by lots. Each lot gets its specific destination. A destination can be housing, business, tourism, agriculture, or something else. If you want to live on your land, it has to have the destination housing.
Utilities On The Land
It’s important to know if utilities like electricity and water are on the land. If there aren’t, you must consider how to get these. For electricity, you might go for solar power. And fresh water you can probably buy at the nearest shop, but you also need to consider how you want to arrange the water supply for showering. Of course, there’s much more that comes with it, but electricity and water supply are essential to creating a comforting living environment in your caravan.
Distance To Shops, Healthcare, Work
Take into consideration how far the land is from the nearest shops, for example, to buy some groceries. Are there any healthcare organizations nearby? If something happens on the land and you need medical assistance, you want to know that they can reach you easily or that you can quickly drive to the nearest hospital. Learning about these things is essential and a necessity if you want to live comfortably on your land in your caravan.
If you’re not able to find the right piece of land, but you can’t wait to start living in a caravan, there are a couple of alternatives.
Install A Caravan In Your Garden/ Drive Way
Yes, you read it correctly. You can reside in a caravan located in your garden. This will relieve you of finding suitable land for your caravan, saving you time.
In order to live in your caravan, in your own garden, you must first submit a prior declaration to your city’s town hall, which informs them about your mobile accommodation. Sometimes, the town hall may also require you to make yourself known to the Tax Services, depending on the law of the land. The caravan can then be put in place on your property without resistance from your town council, and you can reside there.
Living in a caravan in a garden is also a good option if you don’t have a garden yourself. You may have some friends or family with a large enough garden to put your caravan there. Of course, only when they agree with it 😉
Seasonal Pitch On A Campground
You can also consider renting a campsite in a campground and staying at different campsites throughout the year. We have a seasonal pitch in Spring and Summer in The Netherlands and move down to the south of Portugal for the winter with our caravan. We can enjoy the best of both worlds, but this is a nomadic life, so you need to be able to work online most of the time. or you can decide to get a seasonal pitch for eight months a year and rent a house for the other months close to your hometown or work.
Residential Park/ Caravan Park
You can live full-time in your caravan at a residential park when you have a permanent residential license.
Can You Live In A Caravan?
Before you sell your house and purchase land in order to live on it in a caravan, you need to ask yourself if a more adventurous lifestyle is something for you. To make it easy for you, here are some crucial factors that you should take into account before making the tough decision of residing in a caravan:
Imagine selling your home or leaving your rental house to purchase land but finding out that you don’t have enough savings. It will totally ruin your plan! Hence, it is incredibly critical to properly plan out your budget before taking such a big step.
You should first research the cost of the area you’re thinking of relocating to and then compare it with the money you have. It is advisable to make a long-term financial report to see if it will be feasible to live in a caravan. You should also look at the average utility bills of a caravan to prepare beforehand for the expenses you’ll have. And not to forget all the construction bills to make it a liveable place.
Living in a caravan requires numerous adjustments. First, both your home and all of your furnishings will need to be sold. After that, a specific number of administrative steps will need to be done. For instance, you must manage your mail and purchase a letterbox. You can also refer to a friend’s postbox, so your mail can go there until you find a permanent option.
If you already have caravan insurance, you will have to inform the insurance company about the change in your primary residence so they can make the necessary adjustments. Additionally, you will need a planning permit to actually live in your caravan.
You’ll also have to figure out how you can comfortably live in a caravan and how you’ll get access to basic necessities such as water and electricity.
Best Caravan & Camping Equipment
There is always a need for new products when it comes to camping. Either to maintain your caravan or to make your camping setup more comfortable. As digital nomads, we are on the road a lot. We tried out many different online camping stores.
However, we feel that Amazon still offers the best value for money, quick and easy delivery, and easy returns when necessary. We really like that we can use Amazon at almost every location in the world! You can find the best caravan & camping equipment on this page (links you to Amazon).