I'm living in an RV in El Dorado County, CA where like in many counties, it is illegal to occupy a motorhome on residential property. Of course, El Dorado County is so rural that many people do it. Just on my street, I'm aware of 3 motorhomes being occupied.

My property just got foreclosed on and the Bank won't give me any tenant's rights and won't abide by the terms of my rental contract. Instead, they turned off my water and power (which with a couple days of talking to the sheriff's department and the sheriff civil department I got turned back on). Now they've called code enforcement on me and they say I've got till Monday to leave. I'm working on it and (hopefully) I think I've found a new place.

I'm not trying to fight this as it's a losing battle, but the situation has brought up many important issues. Here are my questions:

  1. Does a person living in an RV on residential land have any tenant's rights whatsoever? What protections would someone in this situation have?
  2. Does my contract's 30-day notice clause apply? I've yet to receive any paperwork from the bank and they only contacted me last week.
  3. Does code enforcement need to give notice to someone according to the county's tenant laws?

Any other related knowledge would be most helpful. Thanks!

  • 1
    You can't make a contract for an illegal activity, so if you have a contract, lease, or otherwise specifically stating that you can use your RV on private property as a residence, this contract is not legal or enforceable. You can't expect a mortgage company to abide by an illegal contract.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 17:40
  • Hmmm so looking over my lease, it doesn't state specifically anything about an RV. It just mentions the address I'm leasing, that power and water will be provided at the well and some other rent-y stuff (month to month, 30 day notice, security deposit, etc. Does that affect any notice periods, etc?
    – Joe B
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 20:50
  • I doubt it, since you are using the lease illegally. For any kind of injunctive relief you need to come to court with "clean hands", that is you can't have acted in bad faith and then seek damages. It may be different if you could lawfully inhabit the property, but I'm guessing that there isn't a way for you to do that...
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 21:42
  • Okay thanks. Is there any specified timeperiod (say 30 days?) for a person to comply with code enforcement or is it supposed to be immediate?
    – Joe B
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


In general, a contract for an unlawful purpose is void

Since residing in an RV is illegal, a contract purportedly allowing you to do so is not a contract.

However, whether you have protection as a tenant is probably unrelated to whether you have a valid tenancy agreement and would be based on if you were a tenant as defined in the relevant law. For example, the [Residential Tenancies Act 2010]1 refers to “agreements”, not contracts and then goes on to define what’s in and what’s out - your situation would be “in”. You would need to check your local law.

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