By Chuck Woodbury
If you are planning to buy a recreational vehicle but are unsure where you will store it when not using it, you are asking for trouble. In many cases, finding a place to store an RV is as hard as or harder than finding a place to buy one.
If you are lucky enough to live in a single family home with space on the property suitable for parking an RV, that’s the best option. In communities where there are no laws that restrict where a recreational vehicle can be parked, any spot large enough on the property will do.
Many RVers lay a special concrete or gravel pad that serves as home to their RV when it’s not rolling down the highway. Others purchase special shelters designed specially for RVs. In rare cases, a home will include a garage large enough to store the RV. Class B motorhomes, which are about the size of a pickup in size and height, are often easily stored in a regular car garage.
In many communities, storing an RV on residential property is illegal. But be warned about RV storage: Hardly a week passes that another community across North America does not pass legislation that dictates where an RV can or can’t be parked. The most “generous” laws prohibit an RV from being parked on the street in front of the owner’s property except for brief periods for loading and unloading. But often as not, the laws also prohibit RV owners from storing their vehicle on their property in any place where it’s visible to the public. So a front yard, driveway or even side yard would be off-limits. Violators pay a hefty fine.
Before buying an RV with the idea of storing it on your property when not in use, check with your city or county to see if there are any laws that deal with where an RV can be parked. If there are no such laws, nose around to see if any are in the works. The usual reason that “no parking” laws are passes are because of complaints that RVs are “eyesores” or they block motorists’ views and present a traffic hazard.
RVers who live in condos, apartments or homes where it’s either illegal to park on the property or physically impossible often opt to rent a space in a commercial storage facility. Some are dedicated to recreational vehicles only, but most are within a self-storage complex where customers store the miscellany of their lives in walk-in lockers and garages. Prices range from a low of $100 a month to as high as $400 depending on the size of the RV and the locations (more in big cities).
But beware of the downside of these places. In a survey at RVtravel.com, of the more than 2,400 responses, nearly one in six of the RVers noted that their rigs had been vandalized; about half of the RVers who left comments said that the crimes had occurred while their RV was parked at a storage facility, even in those “secure ones” enclosed by fences.
So where will you store your new RV? It’s not always so easy, so do your homework. Perhaps a friend or relative has room. You might need to keep it miles from your home because there is no space nearby. But the main thing new RVers should not forget is make sure they know darn well where their RV can be stored when it’s not in use.