Have you ever thought, "hey, I could save a lot of money by buying a small plot of land and just living in an RV on my property"? Okay, me either. But if you do decide to do that, can you legally do so in Iowa?

When you really break down RV living, it would certainly be a cost saver, right? No mortgage. And since, in this scenario, you own the land, you'd think it would be legal.

Turns out this is fully legal in 10 states but is Iowa one of them?

Photo by Togo RV on Unsplash
Photo by Togo RV on Unsplash

According to my research... the answer is maybe, but there is no quick, cut-and-dry answer. Or, it's not explicitly spelled out to be legal or illegal, anyway.

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The website VEHQ lists the 10 states where it is perfectly acceptable to live in an RV on your own property:

  • Washington State
  • South Dakota
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • California
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Since Iowa is not one of these states, where does that leave an Iowan wanting to permanently camp out? Well, I consulted a website called Off Grid Permaculture which has tips for potential RV dwellers.

  • For one, contact the county. Whichever of the 99 Iowa counties you own your land on, that is the best place to start.
  • Make sure you check with the health department - is there septic/sewage access?
  •  Consider having a permanent address for your lot. No permanent address means no mail service and hence, you may be viewed as someone trying to cheat your way out of paying taxes.
  • Find out if your RV needs a permit - some places, even where it's fully legal, require one.

Though they don't mention Iowa by name, there's also an implication on Off Grid that it is indeed legal to live in your RV in Iowa.

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