How long can I stay in my caravan legally?
Is it legal to live in a caravan? Can I only stay 28 days? Let’s tackle these questions!
This kind of comes down to ‘Can anyone live in a caravan?’ that we spoke about in our ‘Living in a Caravan’ article here. Anyone can technically live in a caravan but really, if you’re not willing to be flexible, then no.
It’s not all BBQs and beers living on wheels. The pros outweigh the cons, for sure, but let’s still chat about the cons. And this one is a biggy and probably stops a lot of people from doing the caravan lifestyle. If you like stability then the caravan lifestyle can leave you feeling unstable.
We don’t mind it, we’ve found a balance between stability, affordability and freedom. As mentioned in previous posts, this isn’t a forever lifestyle. It’s a hurdle but a bloody enjoyable hurdle that we’re embracing while we’re here.
So lots of you will want to know if you can ACTUALLY LIVE in a caravan PERMANENTLY. Some strong words there. Actually, can you really live in a caravan permanently? If I’m using actually as a reference to lawfully then the answer is not easily. That was a mouthful.
Can you lawfully live in your caravan? Not easily. You will need to find a residential park and you will have to pay council tax. Say whaaaa? Yes council tax.
Can your caravan act as your permanent residence? No. Technically, by all our documentation we live at our parents. The banks, the insurers, the phone companies all have our parent’s home address as our permanent residence. CHEATS. Yes maybe, but it’s easy for us. You can ask your site office if they will take post for you but it’s good to ask a close friend or relative to save you changing your address all the time.
And the big one, PERMANENTLY. Again, you need to find a residential park or the 28 day rule sits. Even for seasonal campsite pitches.
So let’s clear the 28 day rule up. This is the rule in black and white if you’re living in a caravan on a holiday campsite, not a residential one. Seasonal pitch or not.
You can stay in your caravan for up to 28 consecutive nights. After 28 consecutive nights you must spend a minimum of 24 hours away from your caravan. Some campsites may ask you to leave it 3 nights between visits. Campsite’s planning permission will allow them to offer up to 28 consecutive nights. If you stay over 28 nights you are breaking the campsites planning permissions. If you stay over 28 nights you will be required to pay council tax.
Dem da rules.
So you can only stay for up to 28 nights? Yes, in short. Damn huh? So how do we get round it?
Well! It’s not a problem for us. We always have a catering event at LEAST once a month so we spend a few nights camping at a festival. We visit friends and family up north or go on holiday. We can turn our short wheel based van into a quick overnight home so we can #vanlife for the odd the night or two! The money we save from not paying council tax, electricity and water goes towards mini holidays and saving for something serious at some point, like a dog.
This lifestyle suits us, we’re lucky with our line of work that allows us to regularly spend a few nights away without any extra camping costs.
How can you stay on the right side of the law while living in a caravan?
Make the most of the beautiful campsites nearby and every 28th night choose a new campsite. You can always go back to your favourite. You could choose to leave your caravan at a seasonal pitch and take a tent or just take your caravan. You’ll find a variety of facilities and it could even save you money.
Towing every 4 weeks can be tedious, packing up and unpacking. We have a 5M Boutique Camping bell tent, which is gorgeous to pop up at a campsite with a blow up airbed for a glamping weekend. Love it!
If you don’t mind packing up your caravan then utilise the 28 day rule to go on a mini-break. If you’re living in your caravan you probably have the freedom, non-materialistic mentality where you want to travel, and if you’re lucky enough to be self employed with the opportunity to work away then you won’t miss out on earning any vital pennies.
Take cheap mid week travel as an opportunity to do a few days in Europe or head to a UK coastal town. I can highly recommend my home, the Isle of Wight. Here, there are beautiful campsites with plenty of coastal walks and cream teas to indulge in. Email me if you would like campsite recommendations or things to do!
You need to be away for 24 hours. One night isn’t too difficult, check out Couch Surfing for a cheap one night stay. Gives you a chance to meet someone new and get some fresh perspectives on life. Most Couch Surfing hosts are pretty cool and usually up for a natter.
Find a small local festival happening to get you away for a few nights. Some festivals are as cheap as £40 for a few nights. A good opportunity to enjoy some music, a few beers and a couple of nights in a tent. Festivals are great to ground yourself, remember that life is to be lived and something as simple as a live band can make you feel alive!
Drunken all nighter - not recommended
24 hours, let’s be real about this. Start with an early afternoon session, take it easy, a few beers. Hit the hard stuff later on and go dancing. Early hours of the morning watch the sun come up then head to Wetherspoons for brekky and the hangover and lack of sleep to kick in.
As mentioned, not recommended. I haven’t done an all nighter since I was 20 and it wouldn’t be my first choice.
Living in a caravan really is doable and you don’t have to break the law or be stealthy or hide what you’re doing. You just have to obey the rules. It’s totally cool!
We want to hear your thoughts about the rules of living in a caravan. Could you move every 28 days? Does work fit in to your free caravan lifestyle? Do you live on a residential site? It would be great to hear from you!