Can You Live in an RV on Your Own Land in NY?

You’ve found the idyllic piece of land in the Adirondacks. It’s peaceful, picturesque and perfect in every way, but you just don’t have the means or the time to build a home on it just yet. So why not live in your RV full-time? It’s your land, you own it, you should be able to do whatever you want with on it, right? Unfortunately, federal, state and local governments don’t necessarily agree.

Why Living Full-Time in an RV is Technically Illegal

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does not classify an RV as a permanent residence. In fact, the federal agency takes the RV’s name very literally, classifying it only as a vehicle meant for recreational purposes, such as camping and travel. Therefore, living in an RV full-time, year-round, even on your own land, is technically illegal in most parts of the U.S.

State & Local Laws Governing RV Living

Although living in an RV is not considered legal, it is sometimes possible depending on state, city and county ordinances. Typically, in larger cities and metropolitan areas, local zoning laws only allow you to legally live in your RV for 30 consecutive days, and the law is proactively enforced by code enforcement officers. However, smaller, more rural counties tend to have more relaxed ordinances, and may only enforce them if a neighbor files a complaint.

In addition, some counties group RVs intended for permanent housing with mobile homes. In these instances, you can live in an RV on your own land if you obtain the necessary permits and pass building and safety inspections.

Building & Safety Codes for RV Living

If your RV is a permanent residence, there are certain building and safety codes you will be required to follow to remain in compliance with the city and county. In general, your RV must remain dry when it rains, offer heating and cooling, be free of mold and mildew, and provide adequate defense against insects and rodents. It must have windows that open and close and be equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

You RV will also need electrical power, clean running water and a toilet with means to properly dispose of sewage. That means you’ll need a septic tank or access to city sewage, and your electric will likely need to be run underground to a utility box.

These laws are in place to prevent bacterial infection and raw sewage from seeping into the ground, and deadly fires. If a local code and building inspector comes to assess the property and you’re not in compliance, you could end up with hefty fines.

Living in an RV in the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is the state zoning agency within the Adirondack Park. The agency’s primarily role is to control and regulate development within the Adirondacks in order to preserve the beauty we all enjoy.

Many land development activities require a permit from the APA, which may include installing a mobile home on your land. The need for a permit depends on the land use area in which the property is located, proximity to water bodies, streams and wetlands, and the history of development on the site. To find out if you need an APA permit, you can call the agency at (518) 891-4050, or learn more in the Property Owners section of their website.

If you’re looking for land in the Adirondacks, we invite you to view our listings, or give us a call at 518-624-6055. All land sold by Adirondack Mt Land is buildable, guaranteed!