How Long Can You Live In A Caravan? An In-Depth Guide

Living in a caravan is becoming increasingly popular since it is more affordable than maintaining a house and garden. Having a remote home with everything you may need sounds ideal. This might have led you to question; how long can you live in your caravan?

In general, you can live in a caravan as long as you want, especially when you stay on the move. At a holiday park, you can stay between 6-11 months (some allow a maximum stay of 30 days in a row), but you need an address outside as your main residence. Or you can live at a residential park full-time with a permanent residential license.

There is much more you need to know. You may wonder what life is like in a caravan on a campsite or on your own land. And also important is the lifespan of a caravan. So I’ve prepared a complete guide entailing everything you’ll need to know about how long you can live in a caravan.

How Long Can You Live In A Caravan

You can live as long in your caravan as you want. However, in most situations, you cannot register your caravan as your main address. There’s also a difference between living in a touring caravan/ RV and traveling around, living in a static caravan on a campsite, or living in a static caravan on your land.

Here’s a quick overview of how long you can live in a caravan for different types of caravan living. Keep in mind, though, that specific rules can vary per country and even on a state level.

Type of CaravanHow Long You Can Stay On The Spot
Touring Caravan / RVNo Limit – However you need to stay on the move. Some campsites allow you to stay place your caravan/ RV for several months, but you can’t register as a resident.
Static Caravan On A CampsiteMost of the time, you can use your caravan year-round. However, you cannot register as a permanent address for most campsites. Many campsites also close for winter months (open between April – November)

In some countries, it’s allowed to live in a residential park and get a permanent residential license.
Static Caravan / RV / Touring Caravan On Your LandMost of the time, you can use your caravan year-round. However, for most campsites, you cannot register as a permanent address. Many campsites also close for winter months (open between April – November)

Can You Live In A Caravan On A Campsite?

You can choose to live at a residential park and get a permanent residential license. This way, you’re allowed to live in a caravan and use the residential park as your main address.

In the case of holiday parks, it is a bit different. You can not live in a caravan on a holiday campsite permanently. However, sometimes there is a mix between residential places and holiday places at the same park. In most cases, holiday parks are closed 2-5 months out of the year and don’t allow permanent stay. This means you can stay at a holiday park for 7-10 months of the year, and then you need to relocate when the park is closed.

Also, the period of your stay depends on several factors:

Campsite Rules And Regulations

The first factor that affects your stay at a caravan campsite is its policies. Before setting up a residence at a camp, it is essential to check out the rules and regulations mentioned by the campsite owners. 

These usually include the number of people living in the caravan, the time of year you will be living in the trailer, and the length of your stay. Some campsites only allow caravan owners to stay a maximum of 30 days in a row, while your caravan can be parked for up to six to eleven months a year.

We live most of the time in our caravan and never have any problems staying long-term in one place. However, we also like to move around because we spend our winters in more sunny places. When we stay in The Netherlands, our home country, we always book a seasonal pitch at a campsite. This means we can leave our caravan and entire setup at the same pitch and stay there as long as we like during the season. A camping season in The Netherlands often runs between April and October. 

Read more: Is It Worth Having A Seasonal Pitch? Pros & Cons Guide

Sometimes it’s also possible to book a spot for a year if the campsite stays open the entire year. That is what we are going to do this year. We’re allowed to park and stay in our caravan year-round if we want to on a new campsite in The Netherlands.

We also stayed in Portugal with our touring caravan at a campsite in The Algarve. We booked a pitch for six months and had no trouble with it. Our experience is that it’s best to book a bit in advance to ensure you can stay at the same pitch for the entire period. 

But I know in the UK the regulations are a bit different. Some campsites only allow staying in your caravan 28 days in a row, even if you have a seasonal pitch.

Local Council’s Regulations

Besides the campsite regulations, you need to consider sometimes the local council’s regulations as well. Most of the time, a campsite will follow the local council’s regulations, but when you want to be sure, you can always check what the local council has to say about it.

Time Of The Year

When determining the length of your stay, the second factor is the time of year you’d like to set up residence, which might influence residency rules. Most campsites are closed during the winter months. And that all depends on the location. Some are six months closed in the year, while others are only closed for two months. That is when campsites are able to do a lot of maintenance work.

If you’re planning to stay at a campsite for an extended duration, think ahead before you set out. Suppose you plan to arrive during the winter. In that case, you might be allowed to stay longer as campground officials understand that traveling in winter is more difficult, especially with a caravan towed on your vehicle. Or the campsite might close for the winter period, which means you can’t stay the entire period you wish. 

Read more: You Can Live In A Caravan In Winter, This Is How!

Suppose you’re traveling in the summer season. In that case, your stay may be cut short because some campsites only allow short stays during the busy summer holiday season. 

Type Of Campsite

Caravan campsites usually have varying rules for people looking to stay longer compared to people seeking a semi-permanent residency. Special arrangements are made depending on the license agreement and period.

Often, you can only stay up to a month as a short-term resident. However, Suppose you’re planning a longer holiday. In that case, you can stay at a caravan campsite for about six to eleven months per year, while some might allow you to live there for multiple years.

As mentioned before, many campsites close during the winter months. So, if you plan to stay in your caravan during winter, make sure to check if your campsite stays open. 

When we are traveling with our caravan from The Netherlands to Portugal at the end of the year, it’s always difficult to find campsites that are still open. Especially when driving through France, many campsites close at the end of October. 

Can You Live In A Caravan On Your Own Land?

If you are planning on living in an RV trailer or caravan set up on your land, then the rules will be different for you than staying at a caravan campsite. The period that it’s allowed to live in your caravan on your own land depends on the regulations of the city council. Each country, and sometimes city, has its own rules. 

On average, it’s allowed to live in your caravan on your own land for a couple of months without a permit during renovations of your main home.

Since you’re not renovating your own home, you want to stay in a caravan just because you want to live there. This is not very common, so rules and regulations are sometimes not up to date, which comes with a grey area that can work to your advantage. Checking your local council’s rules help you to understand what is allowed and what is not. And if there is any wiggle room for you to explore and try out.

Read more: Can I Live In My Caravan On A Driveway? Full Guide

Some councils allow an extra building on your piece of property when you stay within certain measurements. This way, you can place a static caravan on your land.

Here are some examples from different countries:

Portugal – In most parts, it’s allowed to stay up to 365 days in your caravan on your land. However, this is only allowed when renovating the land.

Australia – Most councils only permit individuals to live in a caravan for up to 30 days. Some councils may allow you to live in your caravan for 60 days.

UK– In the UK, you can live in your caravan on your own land if you follow these requirements:
– Caravan is movable and a maximum of 20m long, 6.8m wide, and 3.05m tall,
– Is used as an extra extension of the house by living residents,
– Property deeds allow caravan parking,
– It doesn’t obstruct your neighbor’s view, drive, etc. 

If you can’t meet the above requirements, you need need to apply for planning permission. However, getting a planning permit is not easy; most councils will allow you to live in a caravan on a property if it is temporary. Moreover, if you are granted planning permission, you will have to pay council tax. You can find out more about how to apply for planning permission in the UK here.

Things To Know When Applying For A Permit

It is essential to consider your council’s rules and ensure that you have applied for a permit to live in a caravan. The permit application entails certain aspects that will help decide the length of your stay. These are as follows:

Source Of Power

You’ll have to explain how you plan to power up the appliances in your caravan. Your caravan’s power mustn’t put unnecessary pressure on nearby residences. To assure the council, it is essential to submit evidence that your trailer will be powered independently. We recommend using a generator, a deep-cycle battery, or solar energy to power your caravan. Using at least two of these powering methods will strengthen your permit application. 

Number of People Living In The Caravan

It is also essential to specify the number of people that will be living with you in the caravan so that the council can check if there are enough provided resources and space. Moreover, it is important to mention if you have children living with you; additional safety measures may need to be taken and approved by the council before setting up your caravan for residence.

Means Of Garbage Disposal

As the cleanliness of the area you are setting up your caravan in can not be disregarded, detailing your means of garbage disposal is also imperative in the permit for residence. 

You should be able to dispose of the garbage from your trailer by throwing it in a trash bin and then leaving it on your sidewalk for pick up by a garbage truck. However, there are sometimes fees for garbage disposal, so it’s best to look into that beforehand.

Can You Permanently Live In Your Caravan

We already covered a lot of information about how, why, and where you can live in a caravan/ rv full-time. The question, if you can live permanently in your caravan, is slightly different since it also links to get a residential permit. Most people asking this question want to stay on a specific location and do not plan to travel around.

So if you’re planning on getting a static caravan and want to live permanently in the caravan, here’s the most important information you need to know.

1) Planning Permission

The most important factor to consider is planning permission – you need to make sure it’s legal for you to live in a caravan permanently. Since caravans are classed as temporary dwellings, you need to make sure that you’re following the correct regulations and guidelines. This could mean getting a special permit or obtaining planning permission from your local council. 

Typically, you wouldn’t need planning permission since a caravan is considered a temporary structure. However, as you’re going to be using it as your primary residence, the law might get a bit more complicated. 

Make sure you do your research and check with your local council to see what rules apply in your area. 

Note: In the UK, you’re allowed temporary use of land for any purpose for 28 days in any 12-month period. After that, you’ll need to apply for planning permission to continue using the land, so keep that in mind. 

2) Taxation 

Another important factor to consider is taxation. Even though you’re living in a caravan, you’ll still have to pay taxes like everyone else. You’ll need to check the taxation laws in your area and decide how you want to be taxed. 

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, a caravan or RV can be treated as a primary residence if you are living there full-time. That means you’re eligible to deduct the interest on your loan, claim deductions for repairs and maintenance, and receive other tax benefits. 

Did you know: According to the IRS, to classify any property as a primary residence, it must have all three of the following – sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities. As long as your caravan meets these requirements, it can be considered a primary residence. 

3) Site Accommodation 

More often than not, you’ll be pitching your caravan in a space that you don’t own. You’ll either be renting a space on a campsite or in another area that provides site accommodation. 

Make sure you understand the regulations and fees associated with this kind of accommodation before you sign up for it. You don’t want to get stuck in a contract that doesn’t meet your needs or end up paying more than you can afford. 

Some campsites don’t allow you to keep your caravan there permanently. So it’s important to read the fine print and make sure you know what kind of agreement you’re getting into. 

4) Maintenance and Essential Services 

Possibly one of the most overlooked aspects of living in a caravan permanently is ongoing maintenance and access to essential services. You’ll need to make sure that your caravan is well-maintained and in good condition – this includes checking your gas, electricity, water, and sewage systems. 

You’ll also need to check for any safety issues like leaking roofs or faulty wiring. If you plan on living somewhere remote, it’s important to make sure you have access to basic essential services like hospitals and supermarkets. 

After all, you don’t want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere without access to the things you need! 

Once you’ve considered these four points, you can then start to plan your move into a caravan. It won’t be easy, but it sure will be exciting!

Lifespan Of A Caravan

Whilst considering how long you can live in a caravan, you may also be wondering, what is the lifespan of a caravan? 

Generally, a well-built and well-maintained caravan can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years or more. However, some caravans may need to be replaced sooner if they are subjected to harsh conditions, such as extreme weather, rough terrain, or heavy use.

The lifespan of a caravan can vary greatly based on several factors, including the quality of the materials used in construction, the frequency and nature of use, and proper maintenance and storage.

Proper maintenance is crucial in extending the lifespan of a caravan. This can include regular cleaning, protecting the caravan from the elements, and making repairs as needed.

It’s also important to store a caravan properly when not in use to prevent damage from exposure to the elements and to prevent excessive wear and tear.

It is best to have your caravan checked annually to identify any faults. Additionally, investing in restoration, maintenance, and upgrading the interior will help prolong the lifespan of your caravan and increase its value.

Can You Legally Live In A Caravan?

In general, you can’t legally live in a caravan since a caravan doesn’t have a house address unless you live in a caravan at a residential park and have a permanent residential license.

You need to have an address that is your main residence. So if you want to live in your caravan, you can use register at your parents, family members, or friends’ house addresses. This way, you can live in a caravan while also following the rules.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions on how long you can live in a caravan:

Can you live in a caravan all-year round?

You can live in a (static) caravan all year round when you live in a residential park with a permanent residential license, which you can use as your main address. You can’t live in a caravan all year round at the same holiday park, as most holiday parks won’t allow it and are 2-5 months closed every year. You can switch between holiday parks and other locations to live in a caravan all year round, but you need to have an address outside as your main residence.

Do you have to pay council tax if you live in a caravan?

Whether or not you have to pay council tax if you live in a caravan depends on several factors, including the location of the caravan and the local council’s policies. It’s important to check with the local council in your area for specific information on council tax for caravans.

United Kingdom

A caravan may be subject to council tax if it is used as a main residence in the United Kingdom. However, if the caravan is used as a holiday home or for temporary accommodation, it is generally exempt from council tax. For more information, check UK Government. Council Tax.


Some local councils may levy council tax for caravans, but the rules can vary between states and territories. Some councils may also exempt caravans from council tax for temporary or holiday purposes.

Do you have to pay tax to live on a caravan site?

Generally, you are not required to pay a council tax when setting up a residence in your caravan on a campsite. However, you must pay the council tax if this becomes your sole residence.

Can I buy land and put a caravan on it?

Yes, you can buy a piece of land and live on it in your caravan. However, to live in a caravan on private land, it will be vital to apply for planning permission in most cases, as there are rules and regulations that you must adhere to. 

Is it cheaper to live in a caravan than in a house?

It is cheaper to live in a caravan than a house when you factor in all the costs associated with each one. Caravan owners don’t have to pay for things like land taxes or property insurance. They also save money on utilities like water, gas, and electricity. And, of course, there is the initial cost of buying a caravan which is usually much cheaper than buying a house.

Read more: Is It Cheaper To Live In A Caravan Than A House? Full Guide

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