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Living full time in a touring caravan


Lorenzo
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Hi everyone, 

 

I don't want to get into big discussions but I want to see how feasible this is in UK. My main worries are electricity and insurance of the car and where to park/live. 

I have Google already and I found out that I can pay someone to park and live on a private land, that could be an option but I'd rather avoid. Another issue is, 

how would I recharge the batteries? I can only think of petrol generators which I'd rather avoid and solar panels but I'm unsure how functional they can be

in UK since it isn't very sunny often. I would mainly charge my laptop, phone, a few other electronic gadgets but not every day. I would definitely need a decent supply

of electricity, not huge. What options do I have? How feasible is to live in UK in a caravan? I don't own a house so I am worried about where to insure my car as well.

Seems to like like I would need to find a private owned land where to park and live. I wonder how much do people charge usually for this kind of things. 

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I don't think that it is possible to get to the bottom of the complexities here without the "big discussions" that you don't want!

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A lot seem to manage it very well by using sons daughters or relatives as their fixed address. Batteries invertor windmill and solar for eleccy maybe? But a site with power and water is the more usual route. Boat owners manage it with lots of panels and batteries.

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7 hours ago, Lorenzo said:

I have Google already and I found out that I can pay someone to park and live on a private land, that could be an option but I'd rather avoid.

 

I think at least for England even that initial presumption is misguided legally in respect to full timing.

A caravan can only be occupied for a total of 28 days a year on any particular property without the need for Local Authority Planning consent to have been granted.

However, that is often abused and "got away with" which can be the case for ages until someone notices and objects enough to report it.

There are sites that operate under a Planning consent exemption certificate scheme, but they at best "legally" can only let you stay for 28 days at a time, so vacating between consecutive 28 day periods. That is also considered abuse of the scheme and whilst it happens the organisation that holds the exemption certificate allowing the site to operate are very likely to take action if they are made aware of the abuse.

The only "legal" options are to find a site that has the planning consent in place or an individual prepared to get such planning consent, the latter being very challenging even with a willing individual as the local authority is unlikely to be sympathetic to such an application. Another issue is that even sites that are approved for long term occupation are frequently limited to operate for only 11 months a year, to ensure tenure does not become "residential".

 

All said abuse is widespread, and from experience I suspect few localities don't have issues with people trying to abuse the system and formal action taking ages to implement.

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Hello. I lived in my caravan for about a year after I got divorced. You need a bricks & mortar address to insure & do your banking from. I used my Mum ‘s address basically pretending I was living there. Dodgy but it is how most full timers do it using a friend or relative’s address.

 

Then I stopped on a couple of campsites near my work. You can stop for max 28 days on a campsite unless you can find a campsite owner to do a deal with. After that a work colleague let me park at his home & plug into his electric for £30 a wk which was very reasonable. 
 

It is legal to park caravan in the grounds of a residential house provided caravan is only a bedroom & the house is your address. Park anywhere like farmland & if you are found out then council will have you off unless you are working full time on farm. 
 

If you have no electricity supply then run everything on gas & use a solar panel which work reasonably well. You can get free standing panels that just connect to your leisure battery or have panels installed on caravan roof. 
 

Good luck. 

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4 hours ago, Jezzerb said:

But a site with power and water is the more usual route.

 

I think that when looking for somewhere to site a van for the OPs needs, for living in full time he really needs to look for somewhere with access  to mains water, electricity and something many forget, somewhere to dispose of waste water and toilet waste.

 

Yes living off grid can be done using solar panels with a backup generator , a windmill adds a bit of extra supply but unless it's in a  windy location, not a lot and for extra capacity for the wintertime when solar panels do very little many have a bank of a couple or more batteries.

 

Though the OP says "I would mainly charge my laptop, phone, a few other electronic gadgets but not every day." there is also the current needed for the general daily use of the van, lights, pumps, fans etc.

 

Ideally the spot would be not too far from work, with a local supply of gas bottles and within reasonable distance  of an often forgotten facility, a laundry to wash clothes etc.

 

As mentioned above, many live  successfully all year round on boats or barges, however those on moorings without EHU , even with solar panels, either run the engine up once or so a week or the same with  a generator.

 

There are many sites on the internet where folk are living totally off grid in caravans or cabins or as near as, and those who live in motorhomes and camper vans, spending a couple of hours on these sites will give a wealth of info from the horses mouth.

 

Others have answered the car insurance questions which can be done several ways, another item to think about is where your snail mail needs to be sent to, a box number ?

 

Many years ago I had a pal of no fixed abode, who used to happily wander all over the place following work, even on the continent, I remember that for legal docs, driving licence, insurance etc the address he used was c/o his bank, maybe not possible now, his mail was sent to box number which he changed whenever he moved, there was no problem then with needing a fixed address for a credit card or buying something on credit he used neither, but these days it's something else to be aware of if you have no fixed postal address.

 

Good luck Lorenzo, spend time doing plenty of research to prevent hidden problems popping up.

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I think the clue is in the thread title - Living Full Time in a TOURING Caravan.

 

People do it though, so it can be done.

 

Good luck.

 

BH

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12 minutes ago, Blackhart said:

I think the clue is in the thread title - Living Full Time in a TOURING Caravan.

 

People do it though, so it can be done.

 

Good luck.

 

BH

Agreed, it is often problematic to use something for a purpose for which it was not designed.

All the issues are surmountable, but some solutions may not be within the law or convenient.

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What's the worst that can happen if the council finds out you're living in a caravan in someone's private land with their permission?

 

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10 minutes ago, Lorenzo said:

What's the worst that can happen if the council finds out you're living in a caravan in someone's private land with their permission?

 

The council ask you to leave 😊

 

This is quite helpful;

https://www.caravaner.co.uk/living-caravan-law/

Cheers, Martin

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1 hour ago, Lorenzo said:

What's the worst that can happen if the council finds out you're living in a caravan in someone's private land with their permission?

 

It will be the land owner that breaches the law so the worst that can happen is the council could, after due process, unceremoniously forcibly remove (or demolish) the cause of the planning breach (the caravan), with no liability for any damage caused, and charge the cost of doing so to the land owner.

I doubt it would get that far. By the time the land owner has received their first enforcement notice its more than likely they would already have told you to leave!

Edited by Legal Eagle
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I think Lorenzo you have to start from a position that full time living in a touring caravan requires a certain amount of creativity to make it possible & feasible. Everything you need to know is contained in my previous post.
 

If you don’t want trouble & are asked to leave then be prepared to leave. Digging your heels in & claiming human rights etc might work for a large group of caravanners but not for an individual.  Also there are security issue to consider if caravan is left unattended daytimes. There are large numbers of people living full time in touring caravans & it can be made to work usually with the help of friends/relatives or just the kindness of strangers.

 

 

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@Lorenzo

I suggest you join the FB group Permanent Caravan Dwellers where members live in both static and touring vans.

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Many people full time in motorhomes, but of course they have onboard fresh and grey water waste tanks (but still need to empty the toilet cassette) 

My niece and her fella lived full time in a touring caravan for about 6 years on the same site. I have no idea of the legality of what they did, but there were a fair few others on the site  doing the same. 

 

You need to Talk with someone who has first hand experience rather than “Well I think X” 

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Do have experience of caravans Lorenzo? The thought occurs that some folks contemplating caravan living out of necessity might know nothing about caravans & how they actually work having never had previous interest in caravanning.  While other websites might be better suited to advising you on full time living. This site is good for questions on any sort of mechanical & electrical aspects of caravans.

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59 minutes ago, Camperdom said:

Do have experience of caravans Lorenzo? The thought occurs that some folks contemplating caravan living out of necessity might know nothing about caravans & how they actually work having never had previous interest in caravanning.  While other websites might be better suited to advising you on full time living. This site is good for questions on any sort of mechanical & electrical aspects of caravans.

I don't, my sister has some. I'm considering this seriously. I thank everyone for the tips they really help. I think I have enough for now to start moving  by myself. I will keep this thread in mind as I will probably come back with other questions. The Facebook group definitely helps and all the things you guys have told me have answered most of my questions which is great.

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There are many, many reasons the vast, vast majority of people live in proper houses and not static caravans, never mind touring caravans.

If it weren't so, many more would be living in touring caravans.

 

I suggest the OP thinks VERY hard about the pitfalls before he/she makes any decisions.

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9 minutes ago, daveat92 said:

There are many, many reasons the vast, vast majority of people live in proper houses and not static caravans, never mind touring caravans.

If it weren't so, many more would be living in touring caravans.

 

I suggest the OP thinks VERY hard about the pitfalls before he/she makes any decisions.

I appreciate that you're trying to make me aware. Can you mention a few just to see if there is anything out of the ordinary that I didn't think of? I can think of some but I am not bothered because of the advantages living in a touring caravan will give me.

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56 minutes ago, Lorenzo said:

I appreciate that you're trying to make me aware. Can you mention a few just to see if there is anything out of the ordinary that I didn't think of? I can think of some but I am not bothered because of the advantages living in a touring caravan will give me.

Only one, it might not work out for you but at least you'll know then and move on.

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1 hour ago, Lorenzo said:

I don't, my sister has some. I'm considering this seriously.

 

How urgent is it that you need to get set up, I'm just thinking that if you had a friend, family, work colleague with a caravan on their drive or on a static pitch and was able to use it for a week or so, it would give you a great insight into what makes vans tick, how things work, where everything is and you would have first hand advice on how such as the water heater, space heater, putting up beds, the water and elec. etc. work, it would also allow you to get an idea of what size van would suit you best for your needs, such as would a two berth or four berth etc. be best.

 

It may sound daft but even seasoned caravanners can be caught out with things, some very simple, when moving to a different van, as seen by many posts on CT, don't be afraid to ask for advice or ideas on here.

 

A couple of things came to mind for you to ponder on, which are, ( I don't want to appear to be prying by the way ) do you intend staying in the same area for whatever reasons, job, family etc. for a reasonable length of time, or occasionally move on to a different area, it could have a bearing so you could ensure your car would be capable of towing your van of choice, every car has a specific weight limit of what it is legally able to tow and you wouldn't want to be caught out with not being able to tow it if required.

 

Enough of my waffle 😂, do the right research and planning and have a go, it may work out..........it may not, but you will have the satisfaction and guts to be different and have a go, if it doesn't work put it down to experience and move on, don't be like many folk and fuddie duddies, who when sat in their chair in their old age rattle on about I wish I had done X,Y,Z when I was younger, by then it's too late.

 

I've done some harum scarum stuff in my 75 years, had successes and failures, close scrapes and easy times, I wouldn't change it for the world, the only thing I regret not doing is learning to play some sort of musical instrument, I'm tone deaf any way..........that's my excuse 😮🤣😂

 

Do come back to let us know how you go on and CT is always open for advice.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Lorenzo said:

I appreciate that you're trying to make me aware. Can you mention a few just to see if there is anything out of the ordinary that I didn't think of? I can think of some but I am not bothered because of the advantages living in a touring caravan will give me.

That is a fascinating answer.

Most of the posts I see from people planning to live full time in a tourer/motorvan fall into 2 camps -

(A) those who have decided to get out of the rat race, so they sell or rent out their existing home for funds, and take off travelling for  a few years.

and (B) those who have fallen on hard times and their only other option may be a hostel or the streets.

The rest of us can see the disadvantages of living full time in a touring caravan,  but not many advantages - so I would love to know your reasons, just to get a different picture.

The disadvantages have already been listed, the biggest must be finding somewhere with facilities that you consider adequate - and living with the constant risk that you could, at any stage and without warning or a reason, be told to move off.

 

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3 hours ago, daveat92 said:

There are many, many reasons the vast, vast majority of people live in proper houses and not static caravans, never mind touring caravans.

If it weren't so, many more would be living in touring caravans.

 

There may, as you say, be many, many reasons why people live in ' proper, your phrase  ' (whatever that phrase might be, please define a proper house ) house, bungalow, flat, bedsit, condo, apartment, Co-op  et al. however it may not be their choice but be forced on them by need or convention.

 

You conveniently, or not, forget that many folk can not afford to, or by choice, want to live in, purchase, rent or even want a " proper house" and so explore, quite rightly, other solutions, be it a tourer, log cabin, camper van, tent, cave, yurt, shipping container or whatever.

 

Not every one wants to, should be compelled to, or has to conform to the ' norm' , thankfully.

 

There are very many out there, like Lorenzo, who wish to be different, do their own thing, for various reasons, make their own choices, not comply to the ' norm' and as such should be encouraged, not discouraged, to seek their dream, push the boundaries and be different.

 

 

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I am now 70 but in my early 40s, I retired early from my career due to health problems, sold my house, bought a new 40' yacht and 'cleared off' to the Med for over 2 years with my then, lady friend (now my wife!) We had adventures and went to places few are lucky enough to see and I look back on that period with a smile on my face and a sense of satisfaction in that I did something I had always wanted to do.  Looking back, it was, perhaps, one of the most satisfying periods of my life - being responsible for every decision that was to affect our safety and well being.  

Yes, there were practical problems to overcome, but these were not insurmountable and there was usually a way around most things.  Would I do it again - yes - but not at my age.  So my advice is do it - if it doesn't work out, then so be it and, as others have said, move on.  Good luck.

VW Touareg Escape towing a 2018 Knaus Starclass 695

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12 hours ago, 2seaside said:

That is a fascinating answer.

Most of the posts I see from people planning to live full time in a tourer/motorvan fall into 2 camps -

(A) those who have decided to get out of the rat race, so they sell or rent out their existing home for funds, and take off travelling for  a few years.

and (B) those who have fallen on hard times and their only other option may be a hostel or the streets.

The rest of us can see the disadvantages of living full time in a touring caravan,  but not many advantages - so I would love to know your reasons, just to get a different picture.

The disadvantages have already been listed, the biggest must be finding somewhere with facilities that you consider adequate - and living with the constant risk that you could, at any stage and without warning or a reason, be told to move off.

 

Well let's start with, I'm young, 25 year old, I am single, I have a full time job and that's starting to feel heavy on me. I'm loving the idea to be independent, have my own house on wheels, the house is self-sufficient (solar, wind although gas isn't) so it pollutes less. Space wise it's absolutely fine, I like minimalistic living so I don't need a lot, I have my own furniture (japanese) so I can make use of a lot of space in the caravan, and I can live in theory anywhere I want. I love the idea that I won't have to pay rent and because of that I can afford to work part time and live life more free.

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Hi Lorenzo. Unless you have a friend or relative who will allow to park on their property & use their facilities & electricity for no cost then you will certainly have to pay rent to somebody.  Even a cheap campsite will charge probably £100pw.  If you get farm work then you can park legally on the farm if allowed but outside of most of that you are on dodgy ground ducking & diving. 
 

If you really want to go the “stealth camping” route then you are better off converting a panel van & living in that. Plenty do that. 

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