Caravans are highly useful spaces when they are not being used as a portable holiday home. They are a great dry place to store items you cannot fit in your home or even in your garage.
Sleeping in your caravan on your driveway is allowed if it is smaller than the UK law requirements, this then can be classed as an extension of your home in which the residents can sleep in it. If the caravan is larger it will be classed as a separate dwelling in which you need planning permission.
In this article we are going to talk through the different reasons you can and can’t sleep in your caravan on your drive. We will talk about the UK laws that apply to these situations and ways you can work with them to use your caravan even at home.
Can You Sleep In A Caravan On Your Drive?
This is a pretty specific question that a number of different people have asked us in the recent past. Because of this, we thought we ought to make a quick article explaining exactly what the situation is, and how you can make sure you’re within the law when using your caravan on your own property.
Firstly, let’s consider the laws about keeping a caravan on your driveway, regardless of whether or not you’re planning to sleep in it. This can be a little confusing, in itself, but we’re here to explain. To cut a long story short, you really need to check with your local council to ensure that your housing permissions allow for it – in some urban areas, it isn’t allowed, though it’s typically allowed in most places.
You will also need to make sure that if you do store your caravan on your driveway, it is out of the way of any of your neighbours. Blocking how people can move on or near their own property can cause an awful lot of trouble.
Finally, to make sure that you’re keeping your caravan on your property legally, you need to ensure that your caravan fits the UK legal definition of a touring caravan. Specifically, this means that your caravan must be both a habitable structure that can be moved, and have maximum dimensions of 20m long, 6.8m wide, and 3.05m tall.
If your caravan adheres to all of these points, then you can keep it on your property as a temporary extension of your home, rather than a completely separate dwelling.
It’s on that last point where you’ll have trouble sleeping in your caravan. If your caravan is on your driveway or in your garden then it must be a temporary extension of your home. If you’re using it to live in or even just temporarily sleep in and you’re counting it as a separate dwelling, then you’d need planning permission.
This is the same law that means you’d need to seek planning permission before erecting other structures on your land. Any two buildings that are separate and on the same land must, each, have planning permission.
You can, however, use your caravan as an extension of the main home. For example, your caravan could be used as an extra bedroom where the people that would be using it are the same people who occupy the main house. The only notable exception to this is that if the land that your caravan is on is currently empty and you’re in the process of building a property, then you can live in your caravan as a temporary main dwelling.
The only time that these laws don’t apply would be if there is a covenant on the land prohibiting this exact thing. For example, if you have own or rent a house leasehold, then your landlord still owns the land upon which the house sits. In this situation, the landlord is within their rights to pass a covenant that states that no one can park caravans on the land.
Can Your Friends Or Family Sleep In Your Caravan On Your Drive?
Frustratingly, it would seem not. The UK law states that a caravan on your land can be used as an extension of the property providing that people who reside in it are the main residents of the main dwelling on the land. Therefore, if your friends or family come to your house from elsewhere, they cannot sleep in the caravan as they aren’t the main residents of the main house on the land.
However, a convenient way to bypass this could be to ask your friends or family members to bring their caravan to your house and park it on your drive. You are allowed to park your caravan anywhere in the UK so long as you don’t break any parking restrictions or breach the highway code.
This means that as long as you are happy with your friend parking their caravan on your drive, you can legally have their caravan be a separate dwelling for the night.
Things To Keep In Mind When Sleeping In A Caravan On Your Drive.
This is a very simple list, as a lot of the things you’ll need to bear in mind are the same as things you may need to consider if you were sleeping in a caravan on a campsite.
The first difference between sleeping on a campsite and on your personal property is that campsites are almost always flat. This means that you might not need to do much to ensure that the caravan itself is flat.
On your drive, however, you may find that the ground is on an incline. In this case, make sure that the caravan is flat before you attempt to sleep in it.
Also, make sure that the caravan is completely secure before you sleep in it. Normally, it may be attached to your car when you try to sleep in it – though it probably won’t be when it’s on your drive. Always double-check that your caravan is secure and safe where it is so that you will avoid it moving at all in the night.
When you’re sleeping away from home at a campsite, it’s almost second nature to remember to bundle up against the cold of the nighttime. When you’re at home, however, you might find that this is significantly harder to remember, simply because you’re sat next to your house. Always ensure that you have an adequate amount of jumpers and blankets to keep warm in the night.
Experts recommend sleeping between sixteen and eighteen degrees Celsius, so make sure to heat up your caravan and bundle up to achieve that temperature. If you choose to run a heater in your caravan, it may be worth ensuring that you’ve got a window open to provide adequate ventilation.