If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I have my Tiny House parked in an RV park. Recently I have had a number of questions regarding this decision and asking specific questions about how to find a park that will allow Tiny Houses, so I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. You do need to ask yourself some questions before you decide if this is the direction you want to go.
If you are thinking you might want to stay in an RV park, do your homework! Call around to various parks where you want to live and ask if they allow long-term parking. One of the challenges with RV living is that many parks, especially those in “touristy” type of destinations, have limits on how long you can stay. Some have rules that limit stays to 30 days, some allow you to stay up to 6 months and there are parks like mine that allow long-term parking. In my area, one park even offered discounts if you signed a year “lease.”
I recommend visiting the park in person if you can. When you plan your visit see if the manager or owner will be available to chat. Explain that you have a Tiny House (I always say, like the tiny little cabin on wheels you’ve probably seen on HGTV) and ask if they will allow a Tiny House. Then ask how long they allow people to stay. If they don’t have long-term rentals, ask if they ever make exceptions. You may find that some are willing to work with you if you explain your situation.
If you can’t find a park in the exact location you want, decide if you are willing to move a little further out or to a different part of town. Also see what their “move out” policy is. Some parks only require you to remain offsite overnight before you can “move” back on. If you own a vehicle that can tow your Tiny House you might be able to relocate for 24-48 hours and then move back to the same park as before. If you don’t own a vehicle that can tow your home, consider borrowing one from a friend or renting a truck for a day or two when required. I realize this is far from an ideal situation, but if you don’t have land and need a place to stay, this might be an option. Be creative with your options. You might be able to bounce back and forth between two parks in your local area.
Ask lots of questions!
Once you find a park or two that might work continue to ask questions. Find out what kind of power and sewer connections they have. If you are still in the process of building your Tiny Home this might influence the type of toilet, waste water system or appliances you choose to install. Consider if the park you are looking at has a dump station near by. This might be important to you if you plan on using holding tanks rather than standard sewer connections.
Ask how the park handles utilities. Some have you on meters, where you are charged for the power and water you use and others include all utilities with the rent they charge for a spot. My park charges $265 a month for my spot, which includes all of my utilities. This is less than a lot of parks I researched. Most parks I called charged somewhere between $300-$500 for a spot. Make sure you know what you get with your rent and again be flexible.
I also encourage you to ask if they have any registration or insurance requirements. My Tiny House is titled just like a trailer and I have insurance, so this wasn’t an issue for me, but it might be a consideration if you are building your own.
Other questions to consider: Do they allow pets? Are there quiet hours? Do they have restrictions on what type of outdoor furniture you can have? Do they have restrictions on registration? Are there are a set of written rules or policies you can review before you move in? Asking questions before you move can save you and the park manager a lot of hassle. If you don’t agree with a policy, ask politely if they make exceptions and see if they can work with you. I found that most of the park owners I talked to were very open to Tiny Houses.
Test Drive your Park
Make sure park living is something you would enjoy! I don’t mind RV park living because it provides a cost effective place to park my Tiny House, it gives me access to some amenities (which I’ll discuss in a minute) and it’s close to work. But living in an RV park is a much different type of living than living on your own land or on land that you are renting from someone else. One simple example is, that I am much closer to my neighbors than many people would prefer. Make sure you know what you are willing to trade in terms of privacy, simplicity and money before you make a decision about living in an RV park. It works well for me, but there are trade-offs.
So how do you know if you want to live in an RV park? Well, I lived in one for a month in a rented RV before my Tiny House was delivered to make sure I liked the park. This gave me an idea of what Tiny living would be like, allowed me to make sure I felt safe at the RV park I was considering and it gave me an opportunity to meet my neighbors. This is a great relatively inexpensive way to make sure that you enjoy park living.
Once you think you have found a park that might work, or hopefully a couple that might work, spend time researching amenities. Parks have a variety of amenities for their guests. Some offer free wifi, some have cable hooks-ups. Others offer laundry facilities or bathrooms on site. You have to decide what amenities are important to you and make sure you pick a site that fits your day-to-day life.
My site offers coin laundry, a small shower facility and a playground for kids. Other than that, amenities are limited, but for the price it is still a fantastic deal.
Imagine Your Day-to-Day Life
Finally, consider what day-to-day life would like in the park you are considering. One of the things I thought about when I was searching for my spot, were the aesthetics of the park. Do you want a “natural” looking setting or are you okay with a park that has few trees? I am lucky, the park I am in has a lot of trees and natural landscaping. They also have a crew that maintains the grounds, which is awesome. I also wanted a place where I felt safe. My park has occasional patrols and onsite managers, both of which helped me feel like there would be people around to monitor my house when I wasn’t at home.
I also encourage you to get a feel for the other tenants in the park. Some parks cater to mostly retirees while others have a wide cross-section of the population. Make sure you are comfortable with the other residents. If you are a party kid, you might not enjoy a retirement RV park. Just know that some parks encourage transient tenants while others want long-term stays. One of the parks I looked at had a section of the park for long-term tenants and some for short-term stays. The advantage of this arrangement is that you can build a community for people who are staying longer. I have made friends with a number of my neighbors and we occasionally get together to cookout or sit around and talk.
One final thought. If you move to an RV park in a Tiny Home you will most likely attract a lot of attention from your neighbors. Just be prepared for random visitors as people transition in and out of the park.
Would you consider living in an RV park? Why or why not?