Trailer/RV living in Ventura?
February 17, 2015 6:42 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to help my brother, who currently lives in the back of his truck, find a new "home". I am thinking that if I were to purchase him a very modest camper (like less than $2000) he could maybe find a cheap spot to park it and live?

I have no idea how this works. Every RV park I have looked at in the area charges by the day, which makes me think they are not looking for a rough and tumble guy to set up his life there (and I can certainly not foot the bill for that). Any tips? I want to buy the camper or trailer, then leave land/lot rental to him... so it would need to be cheap, like $500 a month. How to people go about living in trailer parks or mobile homes? I am assuming it is less money than renting an apartment, but my searches have me confused.
Thanks to anyone who can help!
posted by hippychick to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
In short this is probably only possible on private land. RV parks have a limit on how long you can stay so people don't do this and most trailer parks require you own a mobile home (but not all). Because of the amount of migrant labor that goes through Ventura Co it's more strictly enforced there than most places, like out in the desert where squatting in a camper is still done.

It's certainly possible on private land and lots of people do it in Ventura but you need to find a place and deal with the bathroom issues/ water/ fuel etc.
posted by fshgrl at 7:56 PM on February 17, 2015

It looks like this place charges $525 a month, and welcomes long-term stays for RVs...
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:01 PM on February 17, 2015

(Their site also says, "ask us how to avoid the inconvenience of a 72 hour pullout every 6 months...").
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:03 PM on February 17, 2015

There are lots of Walmart locations that allow free overnight parking for RVs... no hookups, of course, so it's not a long-term solution.
posted by Huck500 at 8:05 PM on February 17, 2015

I don't know the real estate market in Ventura, but would it be possible to find your brother a room in a shared/house apartment for ~$500 a month? That doesn't seem unreasonable/impossible in most places.
posted by kylej at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2015

My aunt did this for her sister (in the UK, so things are different). Unfortunately a person in the sort of situation who ends up living in their car is also likely to get into situations where they can't keep up the payment for the parking, even if it's quite low. This happened to my aunt's sister often, which meant the aunt ended up paying the monthly parking fee for her a lot. Eventually the camper got very run down too, due to my aunt's sister's lack of ability to pay for maintenance, and the park asked her to leave. At that point she was in debt, and couldn't sell the camper because it was in too bad a state (think hoarding). So the whole thing didn't work out very well for them, although it did buy her a couple of years of slightly more comfortable accommodation than her car. Still, I think if it came to that again, they would look for different solutions first.
posted by lollusc at 9:19 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

I went through something like this last year with a family member - we bought them a modest RV to live in and left the parking/hookups up to them. Their monthly budget was about the same as what you are hoping for and they were unable to find any place in WA, CA, or AZ that had long-term (monthly) rates that were affordable. Family member ended up staying at RV parks once or twice a week in order to take showers, watch TV, and charge up some electronics, but the rest of the week parked on streets or in Walmart lots with no electricity or running water. In short, it sucked and is really not for people who only have a few hundred a month to live on.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:40 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a huge community of van dwellers who winter on BLM land just east of Quartzsite; there's a smaller year-round one at Slab City. You and he both might find resources on the logistics of how to do this with these folks, who rubbertramp or live in RVs and vans on a budget for long stretches at a time, some of whom keep websites and blogs chronicling the details. (Feel free to message me if you'd like me to hunt around for some in the next couple of days.)
posted by tapir-whorf at 11:31 PM on February 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

By some coincidence I stumbled on the Vandwellers Subreddit earlier this morning. I'm sure there is some good advice to be had there as well.
posted by PenDevil at 12:38 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

In short this is probably only possible on private land.

Yeah, probably….but there are oftentimes city ordinances that don't allow you to do this, even on private land. Our awesome meth head neighbors tried having a camper in their driveway to allow even more awesome meth heads to move in with them. The city code office shut them down and fined them, because inhabiting a vehicle within city limits was against fire code.

Granted, it still happens….and if you aren't a meth head, and really quiet, probably no one's going to call code enforcement on you. But there are laws against this in lots of jurisdictions.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:20 AM on February 18, 2015

You need to call around to local mobile home and RV parks and ask for their monthly or seasonal rate. I live in a very different area (Wisconsin) with actual seasons, and the place we stayed was (IIRC) $1400 for April-October, and it was closed thereafter due to winter. (You could also pay $400/mo and that included electricity).

Anyway, when you call RV parks, prepare to give them the type and dimensions of the RV (Type A, B, C, trailer, fifth wheel). Ask them their rules on pets, quiet time, alcohol, generators, firearms, whatever else might apply. Take a drive through before making any commitments. Most of them have godawful websites and don't respond to emails in a timely fashion, so just call or show up.

Just renting a bare plot of land can present a few problems. Is it zoned correctly? Is there electricity? Running water? Where do you go to dump your sewage? The term for living on someone else's land is called boondocking - there are websites devoted to explaining how this works. Walmart is not a viable option - not all of them accept RVs and most don't let you stay past one night. And of course, there is no electricity, running water or sewer hookups.

I don't think this is a good plan for helping him get back on his feet. Most RV parks are away from cities and if he found a job, it would be a lengthy commute. The cost in gas might cancel out the savings from living in an RV. Any RV under $2K is likely to require some repairs or maintenance. I'd really only do this if he intends to travel around. Otherwise I'd get him a furnished apartment. You can certainly do that here for under $500, but of course I don't know your real estate market.
posted by desjardins at 8:25 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, probably….but there are oftentimes city ordinances that don't allow you to do this, even on private land.

Ventura is rural enough and the climate is so nice that its very common.

If your brother can work there are lots and lots of farm jobs that will provide a hook up as part of the job.
posted by fshgrl at 5:33 PM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

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