I’m sure a lot of lot owners have wondered about living solely in tents instead of building a house for personal reasons. You might be saving up to continue building your home, or it’s out of personal choice! However, with various laws, it might have you wonder, “can I live in a tent on my own land?”
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as it seems. Read on to see if you can live in a tent when you own the land.
Can I Live In a Tent On My Own Land?
We see homeowners setting up camp on their land not only for their pleasure but as a way to rent space on their properties! Unfortunately, just like living in cars on public areas or private property, you CAN’T live in a tent, even on your own land.
With that said, there are things to look into if you consider setting up camp on your land.
Police May Not Arrest You
There are situations when you CAN have a tent in your backyard!
For instance, if you’re seeing up a tent in the yard for your kids as a way to play around, you won’t get busted for it.
BUT, if you plan to live in a tent without a building on your property, then you’re most likely to be arrested or fined for it.
The same applies to homeowners who rent out their land for campers to sleep in tents. While it’s possible to keep it from the authorities, it is illegal and there’s a chance you’ll get reported by your neighbors.
Look Into Homeowners Association
Besides the city’s laws, your HOA will most likely prohibit homeowners from pitching tents on their land to use as a permanent domicile. It generally wouldn’t be an issue if you do it for a night or two if absolutely necessary. But it may pose a problem if you were to do it for weeks until months on end.
After all, neighbors wouldn’t want to see or come across random campers who move in and out of their community. Not only can it create more noise and disturbance, but it can be a safety issue to them as well.
Also, it can decrease the community’s property value, which neighbors will NOT want if they plan to sell their property in the future. This is why HOAs don’t allow tent living or may disallow renting out rooms and properties.
The Laws That Make Tent Living Illegal
Different cities worldwide have various laws which make it illegal to live in a tent even on your own land:
- All cities would have anti-camping laws within the city limits, in the exception of campgrounds and RV parks
- There are zoning laws where RV parks and campgrounds can only exist in certain areas of a town, limiting the areas where you can live in a tent
- You are not allowed to sleep in vehicles, nor is overnight parking in public areas is allowed, specifically between the hours of 2-5 AM
- There are laws that define the meaning of the domicile, with required specific building codes. Domiciles will require access to running water, toilets, doors, windows, and more. Tents are not a permanent domicile, this violating the law
- Permanent domiciles need to be connected with utilities like water, electricity, sewage, and gas. A tent is NOT a permanent domicile and living in one is, again, against the law
How About Tent Cities?
Larger cities know they aren’t able to force people out of their town if they are homeless and living in tents for various reasons. That is why there are “tent cities” located downtown and outside neighborhoods and public, tourist areas.
There are also some small pockets of lands that the Bureau of Land Management owns within the city, which are illegal to camp in. Treat it as a landowner, where no one can set their tent up in.
Your property is not considered as a tent city, and as a landowner (like BLM), you cannot and should not build a tent to live in for the long term.
If you want to learn more about the usual laws pertaining to living in a tent on your land, check out this insightful video on tent cities:
Wrapping It Up
It may seem like you can do whatever you want on your land, as it IS your property. But there is a limit, especially if you plan to live in a tent. Depending on where you live, it’s illegal to tent camp inland, and for a good reason.
I hope that this article answers your question, “can I live in a tent on my own land?” Now that you know the answer, look into your city and neighborhood laws for more clarity.