By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
3 Frustrating Ways RVers Are Penalized By The Government
There are no two ways around it, the government doesn’t reward nomadic life.
Whether it’s on a national, state or local level – law makers across the US rarely craft rules to help full time RVers. Quite often, the rules set into law inadvertently make nomadic life more challenging
This isn’t a party issue.
The fact is, RV nomads are spread out. It would be almost impossible to rally the support of an individual law maker, no matter party affiliation, to influence a positive rule-change.
Let’s look at some of the laws that affect full time RV life.
Can’t Park on Your Own Property
Many full time RVers own land. Having a home base makes it easier to receive mail, cast your vote and apply for legal documents.
However, not all whom own land are allowed to live on it in their RV.
These laws, usually implemented by city or county council members, are aimed to keep property value high. Even if you’re building a house onsite, living in your RV during that time can be illegal.
Obviously, you should research the local laws before buying a plot of land.
But, here’s the issue – these laws can pop up at any time.
In my hometown, the local lawmakers recently implemented a 14 day limit for living in your RV on your own property! If you find yourself in this situation, it can leave you up a creek.
No Address = Banking Headache
Once the Patriot Act was signed into law, unseen side effects trickled down to the community of full time RVers. For instance, banking security became much more regulated.
When full time RVers hit the road, they often leave their address behind.
Think again! You must have a verifiable address to open a bank account. Additionally, some banks know if your address is from a mail service and may still deny your application.
You may think, “I already have a bank account, so it’s all good.”
That may be the case and you may be all good.
However, if you start a business from the road, you’ll eventually need a business bank account. These can be a real headache to open!
We always recommend full time RVers have a “residency game plan” before hitting the road. Check out the Escapees RV Club for help!
The Escapees RV Club also advocates for RVers Rights. In terms of Homeland Security laws, they say this:
Escapees RV Club tries hard to monitor phrases like “legal residency,” “fixed dwellings,” “physical locations,” and these simple little words can have disastrous consequences.
Want to Vote? It may be hard (or Impossible)
Establishing your Nomadic residency isn’t too hard. Most RVers choose Florida, Texas or South Dakota. Part of this process involves getting a “mail forwarding service” which acts as your new address.
Not only do you become a resident of a new state, you become a resident of a new county & town.
In 2018 the election supervisor of Clay County (Florida) stopped accepting new voters.
The reason: the county is home to a popular mail forwarding service for RVers.
Here’s what Cherie Ve Ard from Technomadia says,
Clay County is no longer registering new voters using popular RVers & Cruiser mail forwarding service addresses from St. Brendan’s Isle – and will be going through an estimated 3000 voting roles to remove existing now deemed non-qualified voters.
But this impacts all full time nomads using domicile and mail forwarding services. Particularly in Florida – as this was a state issued advisory opinion and it could set precedent.
This is an extreme case (and hopefully not the new norm for RVers). In this example, the Escapees RV Club was able to help the RVers maintain their voting rights.
However, filing an absentee ballot can be very challenging as well. There’s no nation-wide guideline. Each state can decide their unique rules.
Here’s a map of the states the require an excuse or not for absentee voting (find further details here):
The Bright Side of RV Laws
It’s not all doom & gloom! The bright side of full time RVing is changing your residency. This can help you pay less taxes and vehicle registration fees.
Let’s not forget all the amazing travel you get to do!
The Best FREE Camping in the USA
We love camping across this amazing country. And, we really love it when its free. Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
If you haven’t tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.