November 6, 2021 | Kentucky Law
Is it legal to live in a camper in your backyard in Lexington? Issues like these in Kentucky are governed by the local county code and HOA regulations. The defense lawyers at Suhre & Associates explain what you should know about living in an RV in your yard in this blog.
Lexington zoning laws generally prohibit living in a camper in your backyard. Zoning laws determine how you can use a residential property; Areas zoned residential have strict rules for property usage. Even if a zoning law doesn’t apply, an HOA rule may prohibit RV-living in a yard.
What Laws Prevent You From Living in a Camper in Your Backyard in Lexington?
We turn to the county code to answer if it is legal to live in a camper in your backyard in Lexington. According to County Ordinance 18-129, it is illegal to park a vehicle anywhere on a residential property except for on an approved residential driveway.
Specifically, this law prohibits parking any vehicle:
- In the front yard
- In the side yard
- In the backyard
This probably leaves you wondering if you can live in an RV in a driveway rather than in the backyard. Living in a camper in the driveway is also illegal in Lexington-Fayette County. According to residential zoning laws, any use that is not specifically allowed under the law is strictly prohibited.
The local residential zoning laws only allow for certain accessory uses beyond a single-familydetached residence; living in a camper or RV is not one of them. Therefore, living in one in the driveway is also prohibited.
HOA Regulations May Also Prevent Living in an RV in Your Yard
While Homeowners Associations used to be less common, today, it seems like nearly every neighborhood has an HOA. HOAs have bylaws that all residents are required to follow to live in the neighborhood. These rules are often referred to as CCRs, which stand for covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
Covenants are enforceable in civil court and have the full force of law. HOAs create these rules to protect the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood and protect property values.
Most HOAs have rules that prevent parking and living in a camper or recreational vehicle in the backyard, or any part of the yard for that matter. Some even prevent parking them in the driveway.
The HOA can fine you for violations. If the fines go unpaid, they can go to court and get a lien put on your property, which reduces its resale value. Eventually, a forced sale could even occur to pay the lien!
What Are the Penalties for Living in an RV in Your Yard in Lexington, Kentucky?
In addition to being fined by your HOA, you could also receive a citation for violating the county code by living in a camper in your yard. Typically, the county will cite you after a neighbor complains.
A citation for violating the county code typically starts out as a small fine. If you fail to pay the fine and/or continue living in your RV, things can get much worse.
Some escalating penalties include:
- New citations with higher fines
- Interest on old citations
- A lien by the government against your home
- A lawsuit by the county to collect on the lien
- The government seizes and sells your residence to pay the fines
Similar to a mortgage on a house, a lien is a legal claim on the value of your home. The last thing you want is for fines to escalate to this point.
Can You Fight a Citation for Living in a Camper in Your Backyard?
It is possible to use the legal system to fight a citation for living in a camper in your backyard. Contact a Lexington criminal defense lawyer if you have received a citation for living in an RV in your yard and want to fight back. Likewise, if you have unpaid fines and the government is seeking a lien, you should seek legal representation as quickly as possible.