RV Parking on Residential Property: Decoding the Laws

You just returned from a cross-country road trip in your RV. Now, comes the question: where do you park it? You may be wondering whether you can do RV parking on residential property.Β 

But before wheeling into your neighborhood, you should know the legalities. Restrictions on where and how long you can leave an RV vary greatly depending on your city or county rules.

We’ll explain why driveway parking isn’t a given and street parking occasionally raises eyebrows. We’ll look at typical ordinances and common issues around RV parking on residential lots.

RV Parking on Residential Property: An Overview of Laws

Can I park an RV on my property? Some people may think that they can do whatever they want with their property, including parking a camper there. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here.

There are different RV parking laws by state and cities. We’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of RV parking on residential property, so you can steer clear of fines and disputes with your neighbors.

Local Zoning Laws

Local zoning laws about RV parking are different in each city and county. Visit your local zoning office or give them a call. Ask what types of RVs can be parked on residential land and streets where you live. 

Some common rules city and county governments put in place relate to the size of the RV. They may only allow smaller travel trailers or truck campers to sit on your property long-term. Larger motorhomes or fifth wheel trailers could be temporary only. Things, like how close to the street or property lines the RV must be, also vary.

If your local laws completely forbid RVs on private residential properties, you’ll have to find an alternative. Look into storage facilities nearby that can hold your RV when not in use. 

City Ordinances

City ordinances can also impact where and how long you can keep your RV parked. Let’s take a look at some of the key things to know.

City ordinances are rules set by local governments to help cities run smoothly. When it comes to RVs, ordinances often focus on safety issues. For example, many cities don’t allow parking inoperable vehicles on the street long-term. This prevents abandoned vehicles from collecting. Ordinances may also require permits to park an RV on residential property for extended periods.

Many municipalities only allow short-term RV parking, like for loading/unloading, on residential roads and driveways. Extended parking may require an RV storage permit. 

Review your city codes to understand any time limits or other parking restrictions that apply. Having an RV parked for weeks or months could mean trouble with bylaw enforcement.

Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

Most neighborhoods have HOAs that set community guidelines. These rules often prohibit or restrict RV parking on residential property, including streets and driveways.Β 

Before parking your RV at home, check your HOA’s policy. You don’t want to risk fines or run-ins by violating the rules. It’s always best to contact your HOA board if unsure about what is allowed.

The Legal Ways of RV Parking on Residential Property

You still have to follow some rules after getting legal permission to keep an RV on your property. 

Getting a Temporary Parking Permit

If you need to park your camper only for a short duration, getting a temporary permit is the solution. You can get this in your local city hall. 

When applying for a temporary RV parking permit, keep in mind that these permits are usually granted for one to two nights. They’re designed for those occasions when you only need to park for a brief period, maybe for a family gathering or a quick pit stop before hitting the road again.

Selecting the Right Spot

Once you confirm where you can legally park on your property, you have to choose the parking spot carefully. It has to be out of sight from the road and neighbors. Your backyard is usually a good choice if you have enough space back there.

You’ll also want it parked on a hard, level surface like concrete or asphalt. This prevents the wheels or underbelly from sinking into soft dirt or grass over time. Access is another concern, so go for an area you can easily get your RV in and out of as needed.

Consider the logistics as well. Will you need to run any utilities to the spot? Make sure there is room for this if so. Also, think about how weather may affect where you choose. For example, a low-lying spot could collect water in heavy rains.

Take measurements to confirm the spot you’re thinking of will comfortably fit your RV while still leaving enough space around it. Following the guidelines for your area will help ensure legal and hassle-free parking at home. 

Some general rules of RV parking on residential property are:Β 

  • Only one RV is allowed per property
  • Parking in the backyard should be hidden from street view
  • 25 feet max length for a trailer for backyard parking
  • Needs storage facility or garage for a 30+ feet long rig
  • All stored vehicles require a paved parking pad

Can I Park My RV in My Driveway?

Is it legal to park an RV in your driveway? Yes, it is as long as it’s not there for an extended period. Most homeowners’ associations or municipalities don’t allow living in an RV on your property. It needs to be parked, not occupied on a daily basis. That means no hooking up utilities or using it like a permanent home.

You’ll also want to think about whether your driveway can handle the weight of your RV safely. These vehicles can often weigh several tons, so be mindful of surfaces like concrete that weren’t made for that kind of heaviness. Using a protective base under the RV wheels can help distribute the weight to avoid cracking.

Placement is another factor. The RV has to be entirely on your own property. Don’t park it where it infringes on neighbor’s property lines or visibility sight triangles at intersections. 

Can You Park an RV on the Street?

So, we’ve learned that it’s legal to park an RV on a residential property upon maintaining some rules. But can you park it on the street? 

Let’s find the answer:

When RV Parking on the Street is Not Allowed 

RV parking laws vary by city, but many places don’t allow overnight street parking. Such laws exist for ensuring the safety and convenience of people.  

Large RVs parked on narrow streets could block traffic or cause safety issues by congesting the road for emergency vehicles. People living in that neighborhood will also be annoyed when they see nothing but a huge RV outside their window.

When RV Parking on the Street is Allowed 

Sometimes it’s nice to park your RV on the street near your home. But every city has different rules about this. Many places let you park on the street, as long as you get a special permit first.

These permits aren’t free either. You’ll need to pay a fee to the city to show that your RV can legally be there. The fee’s amount depends on the place you live. For example, in San Diego the permits are $1 per day. But you’re only allowed to buy 72 permits per year total.

Other cities have long-term RV parking permits too. Like in Gardena, California, you can get a permit that lasts much longer.

No matter where you go, you have to follow the parking rules of that area. Some neighborhoods only let you park an RV on the street for a certain number of days at a time. And homeowners’ associations can have their own rules on top of the city laws.

Before you arrive in a new city, give the department of transportation a call. Or check online for parking rules. Every town has its own guidelines about where vehicles can be left. 

How Long Can I Park My RV in Front of My House?

The rules around RV parking on residential property can vary, depending on your local regulations.

Most places will allow you to park in your driveway or on the street right in front of your house for a few days at a time. This lets you load up or prepare the vehicle without keeping it parked long-term. In most cases, you can park for 72 hours in a seven-day period.

Just be careful not to block the sidewalk or encroach on your neighbor’s yard. As long as it’s out of the way, you should be fine.

Conclusion

RV parking laws on residential property aim to balance homeowners’ use of their property with the safety and enjoyment of the whole community.

Checking your local ordinances and HOA rules up front will help you understand your options and park compliantly. Remember that rules are often in place to prevent vehicles from becoming long-term dwellings on residential lots. 

Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson is a seasoned RV traveler and professional mountain biker with a great sense of humor. After earning a Master's degree in Automotive Engineering from Columbia University, Scott spent years working as an RV technician at Camping World and Outdoorsy. Today, he enjoys exploring the US in his fifth wheel and truck with his wife. With over 15 years of RV living and road tripping experience, Scott now shares his knowledge and expertise as a travel blogger, helping others make the most of their RV adventures.

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