Outdoors blog


Is it Illegal to Live in a Tent?

It is illegal to live in a tent in most areas. Many states and cities have a special ordinance against setting up campsites within city boundaries; even on the personal property.

There is no doubt to say that people love to spend time outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of typical city life. The most loved getaway for most people is camping, hiking, and canoeing. It is definitely amazing to set up a tent in the arms of nature and enjoy some relaxing time with your near and dear ones.

But before you start with all the arrangements, it is important to know whether living in a tent is legal or illegal in your city.

Can you camp under a highway overpass?

It depends on local laws. Some areas allow it, others will make you move.

Can you camp on public land?

You can stay for 2 weeks but then must move on. It is possible to keep moving always finding a new place. If you are in very remote area there will not be much enforcement unless someone complains.

Can you set up a camp in the backyard?

It is important to mention that cities have set up different laws to prevent homeless people from living anywhere in the town. The law enforcement officers take essential measures to support these laws and make sure that people do not live in the parking lots, city streets, cars, or even on some private property. In this scenario, it is even illegal to set up a camping tent in the backyard; even if you are planning this arrangement in your personal property as well.

The rules have been amended after the Airbnb culture started emerging in the area. Airbnb allows landowners to rent some space at their property for some tourists and travelers. But the management doesn’t want to create such messy sites with tents at random places in the city.

If you plan to set up a camp in the backyard just for a few hours so that your kids can enjoy some outdoor games, it may not be a punishable offense. But if you keep on setting a tent on a regular basis and charge money from campers to spend time at your land, you may face trouble from authorities.

Laws that make it illegal to live in the tent:

There are several laws that may be applied to make it illegal to live in tents. A few of them are listed below:

  • The anti-camping law is generally applied within city limited; however, the exceptions under this law are given to campgrounds and RV parks.

  • Some areas follow zoning laws for setting up tents in the city. You may be allowed to enjoy camping in some areas while it is prohibited in others.

  • In some states, sleeping in vehicles is also illegal. However, the exception may apply to RV campers.

  • Parking vehicles in the night hours, between 1.00 AM to 6.00 AM is also illegal in many cities.

  • As per the housing laws, you may require to follow building codes to access running water, toilets, windows, heating, cooling, and doors.

  • If you claim your tent as a permanent domicile, you may face legal charges for violating city rules. You may owe property tax.

Now, you have gone through all the essential details about the legality of camping tents in the city areas. It is important to know about local rules and regulations before setting up an tent. It is a good idea to contact your local government asking about laws.

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