The 10 Year Rule | Why RVers Hate It and RV Park Owners Use It

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The 10 Year Rule | Why RVers Hate It and RV Park Owners Use It

Have you heard of the “10 year rule” at RV parks? It’s a simple idea. If your RV is older than 10 years, you can be denied a reservation.

While many RVers have never experienced this rule first hand, it’s commonly used in RV hot spots like Florida and Arizona.

Today we’re talking to RVers & RV park owners about how the rule is implemented and why it’s used. We’ll even share some surprising data that shows more commonality between RVers & park owners than you might expect.

Let’s dive in!

VINTAGE RV.jpg

Where’s The 10 Year Rule Used and How Can I Find Out?

While Florida & Arizona use the 10 year rule more than other states, you can find it in use at RV parks from Maine to California.

Usually the RV park will mention it on their website. Other times it will be asked over the phone when you make a reservation. In rare cases, you won’t find out until you arrive at an RV park and potentially get turned away even though you made a reservation.

Be proactive if you’re concerned.

  • Scan the RV park website for mention of it.
  • Call the park and ask directly.
  • Monitor Facebook groups for other RVers experiences

Do RV Parks Allow Exceptions To The Rule?

Yes! Almost every RV park that implements the 10 year rule also allows exceptions for it. In our experience (owning in vintage RVs for 5 years), we’ve never been turned away.

Most often RV parks will ask for a picture of your RV. They will either allow or deny based on the picture.

Thousand Trails Campgrounds

Keep in mind – you need to be honest with the picture you send. We’ve spoken with RV park managers who’ve turned away RVs on arrival because a misleading approval-picture.

Classic Travel Trailers Have The Upper Hand

There are many manufacturers who’ve kept their design similar for over 30 years. If you have a Scamp, Casita or Airstream – there’s a good chance the RV park manager won’t know a 1999 from a 2020 (if condition is good).

What Do RVers Think About the 10 Year Rule?

Without a doubt, RVers absolutely hate the 10 year rule! We polled our online community, with nearly 500 RVers surveyed, and found that 88% did not approve of the rule.

RV 10 YEAR RULE CHART.png

The survey comments were insightful and very telling. RVers, like humans throughout time, despise being generalized by an arbitrary number.

Here’s some of the RVer feedback:

  • “I think it is pretty silly for most situations. Most older rigs we see aren’t really eye sores or anything, they are just older so have a different design.” – Shane M.
  • ” I don’t have an issue with it since it’s their right as private owners. I know some campgrounds that have a better option, they request a photo of your rig, this way the ones like the restored units and ones kept in good shape don’t get refused.” – Ken H.
  • “It’s usually high end expensive parks. We don’t have a 10 yr old trailer but don’t camp at those anyway.” -Laurie M.
  • “I don’t like camping beside cousin Eddie’s Rv, but I have no problem looking at a clean well kept RV no matter the age.” Kevin V.

Why Do RV Park Owners Use the 10 Year Rule?

RV park owners use the 10 year rule as a safe guard. We’ve spoken with many owners and have discovered there’s no good way of weeding out unkept RVs.

The 10 year rule is a baseline for RVs on the decline. It’s not feasible for RV park managers to inspect every rig that arrives. Yet, they must safe guard their park and guests.

Unkept RVs are apt to leak, become an eye sore and cause potential hazards to the RV park community.

Here’s what an RV park owner has to say about the 10 year rule:

As an RV park owner we had to implement the 10 year rule on monthlies. Simply because if we don’t then we get units that aren’t street ready, black tank leaks, holes in the side-walls. And of course others in our area don’t want to have a neighbor that looks like Fred Sanford.

What we do is require a picture of the unit and it must be registered to be on the road for monthlies.

If it’s an overnight stay we are much easier on the rule.

This seems to be the overall sentiment from most RV park owners that implement the rule.

Do RVers Think RV Park Owners Should Deny Based on Condition?

Yes, resoundingly! The large majority of RVers we surveyed think park owners have the right to deny based on RV condition. In fact, 82% of RVers agree on that.

So, why the discord between this thought and the 10 year rule? 

It seems most RVers think 10 years is a completely arbitrary number. With motorhomes costing upwards of $250,000, it is unrealistic to buy a new coach every ten years.

RVs don’t want to be punished for having an RV that is 10+ years old, especially if it’s been well maintained or restored (vintage trailer).

RV UPKEEP.png

This is what RVers have to say:

  • “That’s kind of the point of the 10 year rule. It’s a *nice* way to say your RV is a piece of junk without having to be rude about it. Our rig was 20 years old and we were never turned away from parks that had the rule. The 10 year rule is essentially a condition rule.” – Melinda C.
  • “For us it’s a question of free enterprise. So long as there’s no sociological discrimination I’m on the side of the business owners rights. In some cases valuing community safety from poorly maintained equipment must be considered. But I do NOT think truly well maintained vintage or custom RV’S should be blocked.” – James A.
  • “I think they should be able to turn people away, but certainly going to lose a lot of business that way. Sort of like all the 55+ parks around the snowbird locations. Don’t want my money? Fair enough.” – Shane M.

Are There Other Demographics Banned at Certain RV Parks?

For sure! Here’s a list of additional RV park “no camping” types:

  • Skoolies: Buses are banned from many RV parks. This is usually because they aren’t officially coded to be lived in.
  • Dog Breeds: For insurance reasons, many RV parks limit the type of dog breeds that can stay on site.
  • Motorcoach Only Resorts: Some RV resorts only allow Class A & Super C units.
  • Airstream Only: Believe it or not, there’s a handful of campgrounds that only allow Airstreams!
  • 55+ RV Parks: These parks can to allow a certain amount of “less that 55” guests in their park, but don’t have to. Technomadia wrote a great article explaining this.

Escapees RV Club BOFs

What Do You Think About The 10 Year Rule?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and insight about the 10 year rule. Let us know in the comment section if you’ve ever experienced it!

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35 comments

  1. My name is Stewart I own 2 RV parks Ocean’s 11 RV park and Cali Lake RV resort both in California we do except 10 year or older Rv’s but the 4 basic reasons why other park owners Don’t like arby’s over 10 years is number 1 The electrical after 10 years the electrical is a lot different then when it was sold new. The wires get brittle the Plugs get used so much that the wires touch inside or just get burned to out.The GFI’s are usually put inside the bathroom where there’s a lot of moisture. Number 2 The septic sewer tanks are made out of plastic or polyurethane and get hard over 10 years the manufacturer recommends in the fine print to replace them Which is crazy. The 3rd reason The heaters in Tvs don’t last pass 6000 hours at that point it’s cost prohibitive to put in a completely new heating system so people use space heaters That burn more power than air conditioning instead of being on propane that most factory heaters are on. I hope this helps people understand why RV park owners have issues with older R v’s

    1. Good points for people who buy and don’t maintain or even know much about an RV and how it really works.

    2. Shasta County used this rule to assist in cleaning up parks of long term tennants who’s messes and extended families had taken over and contributed to the parks unbecoming and unwelcoming appearance. In other words an easier was for the county to clean these eyesores up. But like many others, my 1985 excellent condition dolphin was turned away just because of its age. One manager told my if it were up to him he’d allow my in but its the owners rules and even photos, repair and maintenance records couldn’t change their minds. There has to be a balance between age and condition in all parks. It just isn’t fair !

  2. It’s pretty evident why this rule came about….because people who live like pigs in their ratty piece of junk RV’s. I for one don’t care to Camp next to those lazy people. My RV is a garage kept and very well kept 1999 Fleetwood Bounder and they could turn me away but I’m cool with that. I’d rather get turned away than stuck next to one of those RV’s.

    1. Tony, my 5th wheel is a 1999 and looks new. I agree that I don’t want to camp next to a junky clunker and family

    2. You are right, I keep my motorhome running good and fix any thing broken, It is a 2002 Revolution MotorHome, I am not going to get a new one. At 77 years old this one i have will out last me. I do all my own work on the motorhome I have since new never been to a shop.

  3. Our motor home was 25 years old when we bought it 6 years ago. It looks its age; it’s clean but hardly pristine. We have never been turned away from a park, probably because we don’t do extended stay (did it one winter, realized we didn’t like sitting still for that long, never doing it again). I have seen a few extended stay parks in Arizona where the rules were a lot looser, lots of obviously permanently parked motorhomes and travel trailers, and we took one look and decided we didn’t to be there for even one night. Parking next to Cousin Eddie wouldn’t bother me — the dude is a slob but his mh still runs so he’s not going to be around long. Parking next to a mh or tt surrounded by several years worth of debris, on the other hand, is not a place I’d want to be.

  4. I agree on the issue IF one is ask and submitted real photos of one’s rv. We have a 20 yr.old 5th wheel and looks almost new. Overnight stay could be more forgiven if choose to. Park owners have to keep their standards as they see fit, good thing. No ” uncle eddie” please.

  5. Bottom line is to keep a park looking nice. It keeps away those people that don’t mind being in the slobby side of life. It’s just that simple.

  6. My older brother lived in a RV park late 1990’s downtown Austin, Tx while talking with park manager here comes are Dad rolling up in his 1970 Dodge Explorer when suddenly manager jumps up and tell’s my brother hold up! I need to send this guy packing that’s when Jimmy recognized it was Dad and had to catch manager to let him know who it was and not to worry he has a home back in Missouri. The RV was in very good shape for its age however apparently this manager was following the 10 yr. rule to a tee. Are Dad loved his RV’s and owned many was not one to over stay any place for more than couple of day’s Missouri was base camp. God rest his soul now 3 of 9 siblings own base camp on old Route 66 we hope to establish a RV park with 12 acres think we could fit bth large and small, and in honor of Dad will not be judge mental both me and my younger brothers are mechanically inclined and I’m in HVAC people sometimes just need a little help and as Christian’s we would do what we could to help better to pay it forward as you never know when you least expect to break down and need a hand. Many Blessings as you travel across this beautiful country!

    1. My husband and I purchased a 2006 RV from a dealership last fall, we chose that model because of the cozy homey look. Only once we’ve been asked to submit pics at the time we didn’t understand why but this article and the comments were very helpful.
      Thank you.
      James and Berta

  7. A 5 year old RV can look worse than a well kept 15 year old RV. Many of us plan to keep our RV longer than 10 years – it’s an investment – and I don’t want to have to keep replacing it because of some arbitrary number.

  8. I worked as maintenance manager at several parks and drive thru as many parks I can to check them out. Most parks have a mix of monthly and travelers, daily, weekly. A well run park is on top of any monthly “spread”, noise, and even drug/ prostitution. Yes I’ve seen both. That’s why parks have 5 day and 30 eviction notices. I have a 41 yr old Prowler 22ft travel trailer that leaked, shower, water heater, water leak under sink, a/c all not working. Fixed it all and repainted rig. It looks old but ugly 70’s paint gone with clean white paint. I’ve seen 30 yr old licence plates and mold growing on outside of rigs. Bottom line clean rigs no matter how old, road worthy generally indicate good people and enforce the eviction rules when needed. Other guests will appreciate staff on top of a problem.

  9. I had a horse trailer with factory living quarters. I stayed in it with my 3 dogs for about a year (No horses of course, and people were fascinated with it. It was a newer well kept sundowner and the stall area made a great kennel. Especially on rainy days.

  10. I for one do not stay in a RV Park that reminds me of a walmart parking lot full of rich snobs. I prefer trees and nature. If I wanted to be around rich upity assholes I’d stay in the city.

  11. I don’t have a problem with people running their business the way they want to. If its discriminatory for any reason, i just move on down the road. There at plenty of places to go. The only thing that worries me are creeps and perverts and snobs and you find most of them with newer rigs. I’m an older woman alone. I’ve had way more problems with people with newer rigs than I’ve had with older rigs. Usually I’ll grab a local paper and look for private spots like driveways or ask at all night gas stations.

  12. My wife and I have a 40 year old Jayco TT. It has been garage kept and very well maintained. We love it because it has a metal roof and has never leaked unlike some newer rv’s with rubber roofs. Our TT has been inspected and verified safer than some newer rv’s. As long as the rv’s are well maintained the 10 year rule should not apply. I do agree a photo is worth a 1000 words. Unlike our rv’s which has stood the test of time the newer rv’s just fall apart after a few years. They just don’t build them like that use to years ago.

  13. As a full time RVer, I appreciate this rule. It is for safety, for smooth operation of the park (no breakdowns/non-operational RVs) and to keep the parks from looking run down and dirty.

  14. Ok, great to know.
    Our local RV repair and sales business will not even work on anything over 10 years old!
    This situation creates a great business opportunity for someone but what to do in the meantime or if traveling?

  15. This could also be a thinly-veiled method for discriminating against poor people and minorities. If many exceptions are given to the rule, why else would it exist but to allow for arbitrary enforcement?

  16. Sounds like one more group catering to wealth and privileged to me. Who buys a new RV every ten years? Rediculous.

  17. As fellow RVERS, we should be able to band together, to protest this 10 year rule, by boycotting the RV parks that enforce this arbitrary, discriminatory, rule. We all have RV’s that will be 10 years old sooner than later! Most of us take pride in, and take care of our Riggs. My Dad used to say” is isn’t the age, it’s the mileage”

  18. I love the ten year rule. It tells me that I want to avoid them like the plague. The folks that trade in an RV every third year is not the type I want to associate with. Sort off like the guy back home that constantly brags about his membership in XYZ country club. Not because he (or family) enjoys golf, not because he (or his family) enjoys tennis, not because he (or his family) enjoys swimming, but rather how much he had to pay for the super duper double supreme gold membership. If I offended someone, change your image.

  19. The parks in the area all implemented the 10 year rule a couple years ago. They can do it because of supply and demand. Because probably half the long term are working at Hanford or related businesses, there is demand. They raise the prices because these workers make good money and can afford it. For the other half that are retirees, families, low pay workers, this makes it hard on us. When they changed the rule they grandfathered us in as long as our rigs are kept nice looking which I think is not asking too much. The only parks that don’t have it are the dumpy parks.

    In fact one park did not grandfather in old residents – if their rigs were older than 10 they had to buy a newer one. If you move in when your rig turns 11 you have to buy or move. I asked them what kind of kickback they were getting from the RV dealers which they denied even though they were all wearing hats from one of the big local dealers!

  20. Yes. We just bought a ten year old class A with only 6,000 miles on it. We were amazed it still had that new car smell and looked brand new!!!

  21. Never been turned down but that is one reason I did not go with a vintage trailer. Have a 2017 Thor Class C and can get into parks when necessary.

  22. This is good information to know considering I want to buy an redo an older Class C. Hubby and I don’t plan on staying anywhere long term with mostly state parks and boondocks. Still in places where it’s hard to find a lot this rule is good to know so we can avoid.

  23. As an RV Park owner I must agree with Stuart. RV’s over ten years old will have issues with electric, holding tanks and propane lines and regulators. Most do not have flow meter regulators and old propane tanks do not have the proper regulators. When customers are told that their propane tanks can’t be refilled because the regulators are not compliant, they get pissed off. The last thing I need is an RV exploding because people don’t want to spend the money to be in compliance.

    Many young people are buying these older rigs to live in and know nothing about them. They just think they can drive and live in them without maintaining them. As long as they pass an auto inspection they think the rig is worthy. On the contrary because when the vehicle is inspected they are not inspecting the electrical, holding tanks or propane.

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