Moving Up

RVs and Tiny Houses

Annalise Art - Pixabay.jpg

Annalise Art - Pixabay

To begin, we need to assume the SUV in which we have been living is capable of pulling our small trailer or that we own a truck that is capable of pulling either a larger trailer or a tiny house. These days, when trucks are so popular, this situation could run either way. 

Something else runs either way, too: The difficulty of finding places to park. Whether we want to pick up a taco or park for the night, we need both space and permission. Space pretty well speaks for itself. We are looking at either large parking lots, such as those at mega marts, or campgrounds. Of course, if we live near Slab City or Quartzite, our options expand, but we will assume that most of us live in less open areas.

The permission issue ranges from being allowed to use a space in the mega mart parking lot to being allowed to park in a friend or family member's driveway or back yard. Some mega marts allow it, but most do not. Security issues and legal liability for the stores seem to dictate whether they allow campers. As for parking in a driveway or back yard, city ordinances can be strict. So can neighborhood restrictive covenants.

If we are fortunate to find space in an RV park, we have a whole new set of considerations. First, do they have spaces long enough to accommodate our RV and tow vehicle? Second, do they allow us to be off the grid, or do they require us to hook up to the grid (shore power)? Third, are they reasonably priced? Many are not, and the price seems to be going up with the recent high demand for spaces. Fourth, do they have a limit on how long we can remain? Some allow between one and three nights, while others have weekly and monthly plans. As always, do your research before you commit.

Seasoned campers oftentimes opt for government-owned lands and campgrounds. Fees are modest, but services are few. In fact, dumping stations are usually all they offer. Here, we must be able to survive off the grid with solar panels and batteries for electrical power and with propane tanks to fuel our stoves and heaters. That is a whole different ballgame and one that requires its own level of serious research -- and investment.

The issue is made worse when we look for land to buy on which to set up an RV or a tiny house. Incredibly, even rural land can have restrictive covenants that specify how a residence must be built: permanent foundation, so many square feet, a certain percentage of brick on the facade, and so on. Society is not friendly or helpful in this area -- just ask the groups that are struggling to obtain permission to set up tiny house communities for the homeless. The cities are afraid tiny house communities will become dens of criminal activity. The owners of stick-built houses are afraid the tiny house communities will lower their property values. The odds are against RVs, tiny houses. Your work will be cut out for you if you want to buy land for your RV or tiny house.

Bottom line:  Be sure to do your homework before you invest in your new home.