Thinking about full-timing in the UK. How do you get around the legal issues of insurance, driving licence, etc, with no permanent address?

moz

New Member
#1
Hey guys,

I'm new here, as you can see.

I live in the UK, and I'm thinking of moving out of my rented flat and living full-time in a motorhome.

I have some savings, enough to buy a vehicle with, and I am a self-employed website designer; As long as I have access to a computer and the internet, I can work.

I will most likely be aiming to build a stealth van from a nice large Ford Transit van or similar.

My reasons:
I love travelling, and I love the potential for adventure! I'm sick of living in the same place all the time.
I have travelled a bit in the past, and I just love it.
I have a lot of friends who live far from where I live, so I would love to be able to visit them.
I would like to own my home and not have to keep wasting money on rent, this is a good way to do just that.
There are also financial reasons; I think I could live very cheaply this way.

Obviously I have more reasons that these, and each of these has a lot more depth to it, but I'm sure most of you guys here will know what I'm talking about.
I do realize there will be difficulties, but since when is life ever 100% easy?


Anyway, so I'm trying to build a model in my mind of how this is going to work, before I go buying vehicles and terminating the lease on my flat!

As for buying and building a stealth van, I think I've got that covered, I'm fairly good at DIY and stuff, so that should be do-able, I have a driving license, so that's good, and some savings, and a source of income, and not too much family where I live (so not much anchoring me here)

However the first problem I've come up with is address... And I'm sure this is a piece of cake for you guys, but I still can't quite figure it out.
Most insurance companies, the DVLA, banks, etc, all require a residential address.
They might accept a PO box or mail forwarding service for sending correspondence, but they won't accept any of these services as a residential address.
It is possible to make a basic bank account without a fixed address, but insurance companies and the DVLA both require a valid address...
What is the solution to this?
I could ask a friend if I could use their address, but I believe this isn't strictly legal, and, furthermore, if a claim needed to be made on my insurance, they might be unwilling to pay out, as using a false address could be classed as insurance fraud.
However I realize it's very unlikely that they would ever find out, as I would get my friend to forward my mail to me.
I'm certainly not happy to break the law, however I would be willing to bend it a bit if that is the only way it can be done.
Maintaining a fixed address is simply not an option, as I have no family with whom I could claim to live, and I can't afford to pay for insurance, fuel, tax, etc for my van, as well as rent and council tax for a flat.

One other thing; Is it legal to pay zero council tax while living in a motorhome?
Obviously, on the surface, this seems like one of the biggest advantages, but I'm just wanting to make sure that there is no obligation to pay some sort of tax in place of council tax, or such like.


If you could direct me to some UK resources for this type of thing, too, that would be great, however a search for just that yielded this forum, so it seems like a good place to start!

Any other advice about the legality and financial aspects would be greatly appreciated



Thank you for your time!

Best wishes
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#2
Good morning Moz and welcome to the forum :thumb: If you do a search on the pages of this forum you will discover, unsurprisingly, that all of your questions have already been asked before, many times, and so the answers are already here if you do the research. :thumb:

I note that you are 25 years old and a self-employed web designer who works remotely, both good positive factors to start with. More positives........ you do not need to own or rent a property to register a vehicle, you just need a residential address for contact purposes and that address has to be the one shown on your driving licence and vehicle registration documentation, so you can legally use a family member or a friends address for these purposes as well as for Bank Accounts, Credit Cards etc.

I note that you state that you will 'bend' rules to achieve your goals if you need to, but just how far are you willing to bend them ? No forum member would advocate actually 'breaking' the law. The UK is not very Motorhome friendly so we have to make sure that we do not give 'Authorities' ammunition to make life any harder !!

If you intend living in your van 'fulltime' then Insurance is going to be your first honesty test and major complication. To legally obtain Insurance (any insurance, not just vehicle) you have to declare all 'Material Facts' to the Insurer e.g. Living in van fulltime, otherwise if you do not and you have to make a claim and they discover you failed to provide this 'Material Fact' then your Insurance becomes null and void. You can get fulltime Insurance with only a residential 'contact address' but it is much more expensive than normal insurance e.g. If you only used your vehicle for holiday travel several times a year then it is much cheaper. Your next problem with Insurance will be finding an Insurer, very much dependent on the age of the van and some will not insure self-builds.

You will probably receive many responses to some of your questions so the advice, opinion or guidance may vary considerably, although I already suspect that you will follow the one's that suit your own individual requirements.

You also state that your intention is to build a 'stealth' van, which I am interpreting to mean that you intend to use your completed van to sleep in public car parks, supermarket car parks, streets and alleyways etc. So here is where you are going to encounter other legal issues. There are laws about sleeping in a vehicle overnight on Public Highways and each Council has its own bye-laws. However, if you have access to WiFi and do not need to be in a City/Town then there are opportunities to free camp (UK is not so good for this but Scotland tolerate it a lot better) but be aware that in places where you can free camp there are usually time limitations and the general rule is no longer than 48 hours.

I am also assuming that as saving money is a priority then you will be reluctant to pay to stay on official Campsites ? Although if you were to subscribe to one, or both, of the two major UK Camping Club Organisations (Caravan and Camping Club or Caravan and Motorhome Club) then this would give you access to hundreds of Certified Locations (CL's) or Certified Sites (CS's) all over the country, these are small five van sites.

Have you considered the practicalities of living in a small van all year round ? It can be extremely nice in the warmer months but as you will be aware, in the U.K. The colder months can be as long as 6 months !! Just try to imagine what it would have been like to have been living in a van during the recent 'Polar Vortex', freezing temperatures, frozen water :think: And then, just when UK gets over that there is 'Storm Erik' battering the country with 80mph winds, not very comfortable being shaken around in a van for days/weeks let alone the noise of pounding rain on the roof !! I am not wishing to sound negative but these are the realities of living fulltime in a van.

Have you considered your Power requirements, especially if you are reliant on laptops and other mobile devices for your work ? The size of your van will dictate how many solar panels you can have on your roof, taking into consideration roof vents, Ariels etc. Space for Leisure batteries ? And the biggest consideration the lack of solar energy, the U.K. Is not noted for consistently long cloud free days, even in the Summer !!

How big a water tank will you fit to your van ? where will you get your water from ? What will you do if, and when, it freezes ?

How big an LPG supply will you have, thinking also of weight this will add ? Will you use bottles, refillable system, underslung tank ? You will use more gas in the winter for heating water for personal hygiene, washing pots and pans, cooking and of course space heating ?

It is certainly not impossible to do what you are thinking of doing, many already do. But you need to take off the Rose-tinted glasses and think about all of the practicalities of living fulltime in a van. You say you can be mobile and not fixed to any one location, this is a positive, but then you need to think about the costs in Fuel ? Work out how much you currently pay for living in a 'convential' residential dwelling, Rent, Council Tax, Contents Insurance, Electricity/Gas, Water, Groceries etc. then work out the costs associated with living fulltime in a van, Insurance, Tax, MOT, Annual Service, Unscheduled Maintenance (Tyres, repairs etc), Gas, Diesel/Petrol, Laundry, Groceries, Campsite Fees etc. You may be surprised to find that there may not be too much difference. Then think about the practical aspects of both, the luxury of having access to consistent hot running water, not being restricted to electricity usage you can have lights on, TV, charging multiple gadgets at the same time etc. Protection from the elements. Security ?

So, if none of the above has made you change your mind, come back and ask single specific questions which are easier, for forum members, to answer rather than long multiple questions in one post :thumb: and Good Luck with your Mission, should you choose to accept it :)
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#3
As for other resources, go to 'You Tube' and search for 'Fulltiming in a Campervan in the UK' this should give you a start. Also search for 'Fire Angel' who has just done a VLOG on 'Costs', don't know if this will answer your questions as I got bored with it after the first 3 minutes of her just waffling on without giving very much information !!
 

chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#4
Hi and welcome :thumb:
What Eric says makes sense, though you can get sites from as low as £5 per night (ask coola)
I loved the freedom of moving around though we do have a house (it's up for sale if you want to buy it)
What licence you have will determine what you can buy.
Come back with specific items might be better
 

Easyliving

Active Member
#5
We use our daughter's address for DVLA, bank etc and its all completely legal, organisations are not bothered so long as there is a way to contact you. Only two things will be tricky - you will need fulltiming insurance on your van to be legal. This will be expensive and maybe difficult to find for an older conversion.

The other tricky thing we found was staying registered with your GP - your address has to be within their catchment area.

Apart from that you seem to have a lot going for you.

Good luck.

Paul
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#6
Is anybody else wondering where Moz is ? Maybe I scared him/her off, but I didn't mean to, was just answering the question(s) and offering advice. Would have been nice to have just got a response, even if it was just "Thank You for your replies". Makes you wonder if it is worth the time spent providing advice, guidance or just plain old personal opinions. :think:
 

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