Can you Live in a Caravan?

Are you considering giving up your home for living in a caravan? Whether you're doing it to save money or simplify your life, there are legal restrictions and implications of residing in a caravan to be aware of before doing so. Here we take a look at some of the questions associated with year-round caravan living.

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What is a caravan?

A caravan is a non-motorised vehicle that can be towed or pulled by a car, SUV, or van and is used primarily for temporary accommodation and habitation for holidays. It typically contains beds, cooking facilities, bathroom, and a living/dining area. Sizes vary but the majority of caravans measure 3 to 6.5 metres in length. There are multiple styles and manufacturers of caravans but the majority in the UK are produced by 6 companies including Coachman and Bailey.

Is it cheaper to live in a caravan?

Overall the cost of buying and living in a caravan can be much less than that of a traditional property. For starters, the purchase price will be much less than that of a standard house—tens of thousands of pounds for a caravan compared to hundreds of thousands of pounds for a house. Then the month to month running costs of a touring or static caravan can be cheaper than maintaining a traditional home. Some expenses to consider and their average annual costs are:

Static Caravan Running CostsAverage Price per Year
Pitch Fees£3,000
Water, rates, and drainage£600
Gas and Electricity£500

In addition, those living in a caravan are not required to pay council tax. Besides the financial benefits, there are some intangibles such as being able to change your location more or less at will.

Can I live in a caravan all year round?

If you own a touring caravan then, like many others, you can elect to live in it full time and move from place to place. For more permanent sites you will be able to rent pitches in caravan parks for a period of time but while some sites will offer pitches for 12 months you may only be allowed to stay in your caravan for 11 months. To comply with the rules you may need to leave for a period of 4 weeks and then return.

Can I live in a caravan on my drive?

Legally speaking you are not allowed to use a caravan as a permanent dwelling on your property (without planning permission, that is). So, for example, you would not be able to allow a friend or family member to permanently reside in a caravan on your drive. It can be used as an annex to your main home (e.g., as an office or gym) but using the unit as an entirely separate residence is not permitted.

Can I live in a caravan in my garden?

The same rules apply to gardens as they do to driveways. It is permitted to have a caravan on your garden provided that it complies with your housing area and local authority rules, but it cannot be used as an entirely separate dwelling. If the home is to be used as a completely stand-alone residence then planning permission will be required.

Can I live in a static caravan on private land?

A static caravan placed on your own land may only be used as a temporary dwelling (e.g., while you're building or renovating your main home) or as a complement to your main home (e.g., a gym). Year-round permanent residency is not allowed by law. Planning permission will typically be required before placing the caravan on your land but the rules do vary depending on the area's council.

Can I park a caravan outside my house?

If you need to store your caravan while not using it then you are allowed to leave it on your driveway or garden until you need it. There are no restrictions on doing this legally speaking, but you may want to check the rules and regulations of your housing area and local council as they may have their own set of restrictions that you will have to abide by.

Is planning permission needed to store caravans?

Usually, caravans are allowed to be stored on your driveway or on your garden whilst not in use. Planning permission is not required to leave your caravan at these locations but once again, check with your housing area and local council for any area-specific restriction that they may have.

If you are seeking to store caravans as a business at a secure caravan storage site then planning permission will be required.