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Guidelines for Occupied RVs and Tiny Homes on Wheels on Private Property

Read the requirements for parking an occupied RV or tiny home on wheels on private property. Find out the number and type of vehicles allowed and parking, sanitation, electricity and length of stay requirements.

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You may have an occupied RV or tiny home on wheels on private property if you meet the following requirements:

Number and type of vehicles allowed 

Occupied vehicles must be designed for temporary living. In addition: 

  • On commercial properties: up to three vehicles. 
  • On single-family or duplex residential properties: one vehicle maximum.
  • On multi-family apartment properties and vacant lots: no occupied vehicles allowed.

Parking guidelines for tiny homes and occupied RVs on private property 

The property must have a legal location to park the occupied vehicle. Vehicles parked in the street may not be occupied. Also:

  • If motorized, the vehicle must be parked on a paved surface.
  • If non-motorized, the vehicle may be parked on unpaved surfaces.
  • RVs and tiny homes on wheels must be parked behind the front façade of the dwelling.
  • Call Planning and Zoning to confirm legal locations to park on your property.

Sanitation requirements for tiny homes and occupied RVs on private property 

Sanitary facilities must be available at the site. The owner of the property must subscribe to and pay for garbage, recycling and composting services. Also:

  • The owner of the property may allow access to the permanent facilities inside the dwelling.
  • Waste water of any kind may not be disposed of on the ground or into existing drains or sewer lines.
  • Mobile or off-site pumping services must be employed if a holding tank is used.
  • Greywater systems that release waste water from sinks or showers to disperse underground may be installed with a plumbing permit.
  • Holding tanks may not be emptied via temporary piping to existing on-site sanitary sewer systems. Permanent dump stations may be installed on property with a plumbing permit.
  • Portable toilets may be used on commercial property in parking lots only. 

Electricity requirements for for tiny homes and occupied RVs on private property 

Generators are not allowed. In addition: 

  • Extension cords can be used to connect to a properly rated and approved receptacle outlet.
  • Extension cords should be adequately protected where they are subject to physical damage such as in driveways and walkways.
  • Vehicles may not be hard-wired to electrical service.  
  • Permanent electrical service “pedestals” for an exterior receptacle outlet may be installed with an electrical permit.

Length of stay for tiny homes and occupied RVs on private property 

Rentals of less than 30 days are not allowed in RVs and tiny homes
 


Helpful safety tips for tiny homes and occupied RVs on private property 

  • Create as much fire separation distance as possible between the dwelling and the occupied vehicle.
  • Keep three feet between electric space heaters and belongings.
  • Don’t smoke inside vehicles. 
  • Install and maintain fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Make sure propane tanks are in proper working order. Store tanks outside of the living space.
  • Sewer gases can be harmful to health. If holding tanks are being used, have them serviced regularly. Check for leaks along the outside of the tank and at fittings.
  • Fresh water supply tanks should be disinfected regularly and filtered before drinking.

Be a good neighbor 

  • Be courteous with off-street parking.  
  • Keep noise levels down, especially at night and in outdoor areas.
  • Make sure vehicles are parked legally.
  • Property owners should establish clear rules for renters.
  • Look after pets and clean up behind them.

File a complaint about camping on private property or occupied RVs parked on the street

If the city receives a complaint and verifies that any of the requirements listed are not being met, citations will be issued. Property owners will have 30 days to comply. Monthly enforcement fees will be assessed if violations are not corrected. 

Please call the Property Compliance Help Line to report a concern about camping on private property. Call City Information and Referral to report occupied vehicles in the street.

Other resources for occupied RVs and tiny homes on private property 

  • Utility assistance and housing referrals: 2-1-1
  • Linking property owners needing roommates with home-seekers: Metro Home Share (971) 271-5195
  • Home repair assistance: Reach Community Development (503) 231-0682
  • Free mediation of neighborhood conflict: Resolutions Northwest (503) 595-4890

Contact

Zoning Information Line

Development Services

phone number503-823-7526

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. Leave a message with a phone number, the project address, and your questions.

Property Compliance Help Line

Development Services

phone number503-823-2633

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 4 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.