Can you live in a legally maintained and parked vehicle in the UK?


New Member
My question is with regard to the road traffic laws in the United Kingdom.

If I own a campervan / motorhome that is fully insured, has a valid MOT certificate, has valid road tax, and is parked 100% legally (for example, parked in a permit-holders-only parking bay for which I have a valid and legal permit to park it in)... it within the law to live in the vehicle 365 days a year? Can I park my campervan / motorhome in a legal parking space and live in it?

Certain parking bays / spaces specify "4 hours parking only" or "No return within 24 hours", I'm not talking about these. I'm not talking about parking restrictions.

Basically, my question is: if it is legal to permanantly leave a vehicle somewhere, is it legal to live in the vehicle as long as it complies with the requirements I have mentioned?

If I am satisfying all of the legal requirements for owning / using / parking a car on the public roads, then am I within the law to live in the vehicle?


Well-Known Member
I think that this question may not be as straightforward to answer or even to enable an 'informed' opinion to be provided on this forum. I think there would need to be clarification on what is the legal requirement for a person to be granted a 'Residents Parking Permit' ? Is it something that is granted to people who reside in a property in a specific street and, if so, what is the definition of 'Property' in that context (House, Flat, Shed, Caravan, Motorhome) ? That would not necessarily be something just under the requirements of Road Traffic Laws but also Council Bye-Laws. Of course there are Towns and Cities where, because of accommodation shortages or low incomes and high rents, there are people who are already living in Caravans & Motorhomes on the side of roads in residential areas, Bristol being one that has appeared in the media very recently but that has brought about issues for those doing so in respect of personal safety, security of their vehicles/accommodation (Vandalism & Thefts).

You have raised my curiosity, let's say you could live in your Caravan/Motorhome in a parking Bay, where will you get your water from ? How/where will you dispose of your Grey & Black waste ? Where will you dispose of your General domestic waste ?

I do not know the answer to your questions but I can see some difficulties with anyone be permitted to do this 'officially' as, in my opinion, it would set a legal precedent and no Council would put themselves in such a position.


Well-Known Member
Have a read, it might help you
This is a good link Chris, whilst it does not relate to the OP's specific question in relation to parking permanently in a 'Permit Holders' parking Bay it does provide, I think, enough of a general overview to indicate that 'Camping' in such a place 'may not' be permitted. However, I would suggest that the OP should be directing his/her question to the authority that issues the Parking Permit ?


Well-Known Member
I think there are by-laws----- somewhere to prevent you doing this legally.
Councils and government should think about what they have done by not building affordable housing------ people are priced out of houses.
Not saying the OP is in this boat, just that there are alternate living forums asking the same questions..
Bristol is a prime example of caravans/vans/trucks just parked on streets with people living in them.
I don't know the answer to the OP's question either. Perhaps they could let us know how it goes.
Here's a bit on Bristol
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Well-Known Member
the local councils are supposed to set up areas for travellers etc they seem to have not been doing it for ages .
if you stop in one place then rates become chargeable. its hard to properly make a decision but camping and caravan act sort of covers it.
best one day here one day there etc .
more barrack type hostels required .


Well-Known Member
I translate to law to be------ if you stay in any place for more than 28? days LEGALLY you need planning permission--------and pay council tax-------this would never happen in a street parking place!!!
However, if you keep a VERY low profile it is unlikely that anyone would bother you, the reason, I believe that so many Stealth vans are now cropping up. IMHO if you ask anyone in authority you will immediately open a massive can of worms for yourself!!!!!
If you want to be totally legal you should follow normal residential patterns!!!!!!!!!!
The key is people don't like to see others getting something for nothing and living outside the box!!!! ie. we pay council tax why should you live there without paying!!!!!!!!! Etc. Etc


Well-Known Member
I think it would be good if the OP could clarify what they mean by a 'Permit Holders Parking Bay' ? There are several types of parking permits e.g. Businesses that have parking bays for employees, Resident parking permits etc. This would be relevant before any 'opinions' could be provided in an informed manner. For example, if you live in a private residence where there is no 'off street' parking, some Councils provide those residents, generally for a fee, with a residents parking permit to enable them to park in allocated parking bays on the 'public road' where they live. If somebody sells that property, then does that mean that they lose the entitlement to hold that residents parking permit, and I am assuming that if this is the case that would mean a refund for any period they have paid for but not used, and then the entitlement to hold that permit would be the new 'resident' of the property. However, if an employer issued parking permits to its employees then the conditions of use of that permit would be defined by that employer. So unless we, the forum members, know what type of 'Parking Permit' the OP is referring to, it is difficult to provide an 'informed' opinion to their question.

I believe that Nigel and Pamela are quite right in their statement that "there are those who do not like to see 'others' getting something for nothing", and that applies to lots of things in this life !! However, I also believe that we, Motorhomers, should also not think that we are just entitled to have things for free, which others do have to pay for, just because we are living in what some may consider as an 'unconventional lifestyle'. A lot comes down to applying a little bit of common sense as to where we Park, how we park and what we do whilst we are parked. Keeping a low profile is not always easy in a Motorhome due to size, and in some cases, how people personalise the external bodywork of their vehicles.

Their appears to be an increasing level of 'Intolerance' in society in this day and age, this is what creates aggression and violence and a 'them and us' mentality, a very sad state of affairs :(


Well-Known Member
I would guess the answer to the OP,s question is no.
Well in Gloucestershire it would be no as when I asked planning about staying in a caravan/motorhome in our field which is attached to our house the answer was....
You can use it as a bedroom annex if you put it in the garden but not in the field..
We owned the field in the same as the OP had rights to the parking..
This was without applying for planning.
Note that it was as a bedroom annex , not to live in as that would require planning.
I think this is the legal side , but do it and let us know......


Well-Known Member
there is getting away with it . but being legal.?
thats really guess work.
think moving around is the best way.
or find that out of the way place , could be a business or farm etc that can sneak you in , if asked your security.
know lots that do it that way.


Well-Known Member
Their is a lengthy article in this mornings 'Independant' newspaper in respect of the lack of sites for 'Gypsy's & Travellers' (their terminology not mine). It also highlighted the use by Councils of 'Injunctions' to prevent them from parking 'anywhere', the article itself was not anti-traveller's, in fact, quite the reverse. However, what it does highlight is that Councils are becoming even less tolerant to 'Traveller's' just parking up and staying 'long term' anywhere. So I guess, in relation to this thread in particular, it isn't just a question of wether or not the vehicle meets the legal requirements to be 'on the road', or wether you have a 'Parking Permit', it is also the 'use' of that vehicle which then incorporates the need to be conversant with any local 'Bye-Laws'.

I can understand the frustrations of 'Individuals' who just want to lead a simple and more economic lifestyle, to get out and have the freedom of the open road, having somewhere to just stop and rest for a day or two before moving on. However, what appears to be happening is that a lot of people do not actually want the freedom of the road lifestyle, they want to continue to maintain their 'conventional' lives e.g Employment, Schooling for Children, Attending Universities etc. But want to move out of 'Bricks & Mortar' accommodations for what I am assuming is primarily 'Economical' reasons whilst maintaining a 'permanent' base somewhere in their Caravans, Camper Vans or Motorhomes to enable them to do so, but without having the expense of paying to stay on 'official' sites.

I also appreciate that with low incomes, high rents, increasing food costs, utility service costs etc. that there are more and more people who are finding it hard to manage and need to look for alternative more economical solutions. I wish I had the answers, or more importantly the solutions, but I don't, and if the Government cannot find them then we are in a 'Catch 22' situation.

There is a massive difference between getting out of the conventional 'rat race' and going and having a 'nomadic lifestyle' adventure, for however long that may be and which may entail 'working as you go', but that is completely different to someone who chooses, or may have no choice, to remain in the conventional rat race but looking to live permanently in a vehicle instead of a conventional dwelling. Some are able to manage it, I know of people who 'work' in boat yards who live on site in a Caravan or even a boat, there are builders and other construction workers that live on site for months on end in Caravans and believe it or not there are lots of people that even work on Campsites and live in Caravans or Motorhomes :thumb: so it is not impossible. But to work in a town or city and live permanently in a Caravan or Motorhome in a car park or parking Bay ?


Well-Known Member
there is even some spanish residents that come over and work the summer then disappear back to spain for the winter.
mind after brexit the uk will make them pay a penalty i,m sure. hee hee .
some drive around more in uk than in spain .
by the way BM.should you venture again i have a mate that runs a garage in alhuin de la torre ,on the polg.industrial alhurin de la torre .
he was in malaga for years but moved a few ago. german but speaks good english. used to live in scotland .