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The ’10 Year Rule’ – Do RV Parks Really Turn Older RVs Away?

Our bus is so old.. it’s vintage.

Since our RV is based on a 55+ year old bus chassis, we’re often asked if we get turned away from RV parks for being too old.

There are, unfortunately, some commercial and private RV parks that do have a rule against allowing older rigs.

Generally the cut off is 10 years, but sometimes we’ve seen 15. Or the rule may be stated more generally as management reserves the right to reject an RV based on appearance.

You can find the rule stated on the park’s websites sometimes – usually under the Rules or Rates page.

But this isn’t a hard and fast rule, most parks don’t have this rule and you’ll find there is a lot of variability in enforcement of the rule even when it exists.

We released a quick video with our take on the rule, or read on for the blog post version:

Why the Rule?

A lot of folks immediately label these sorts of rules as discrimination against older RVs, folks with more limited budgets or just being flat out snobby.  And that may indeed be the reasoning behind the rule in some cases – as much as we hate seeing discrimination of any kind.

But usually we’ve found the actual reasoning might stem from:

  • Local Tenancy Laws – In different locations, the laws vary of when a property owner can evict someone for lack of payment. And these rules can sometimes apply to RV parks and mobile home parks – especially when it comes to long term renters. We’ve seen the 10 Year Rule stated in locations that are more tenant friendly – where it might take months to legally remove a broken down RV from their park. And older RVs are more likely to become stationary fixtures by breaking down, and some park owners may see owners of older RVs as less likely to be able to make rent.
  • Commercial RV Parks aren’t our first choice…

    Intended Use – Just like some sticks & bricks neighborhoods have homeowner’s associations with rules stated about the length of the grass to the color you can paint your home – RV parks can also be going for a certain look and feel. We’ve seen parks specifically only for high end motor coaches (no trailers), Airstreams or vintage RVs.  And certainly the age of the RV can play a role in the environment a park owner is trying to provide. We’ve also seen restrictions on conversions (vans, buses, school buses, tiny homes, etc.), home made RVs, RVs without a RVIA sticker and parks that are private membership based.

  • Past Problems – Usually when you see a rule, there’s a reason or story behind it. Perhaps the park owner had past issues with an older RV breaking down in their park, leaving oil stains on their concrete pad, a failed plumbing system that created a stinky mess or dealing with complaints from other customers. Or perhaps a park currently has what they deem as too many older RVs in their park, and they’re trying to filter for newer RVs.
  • Supply & Demand – In areas where RV parking space is more limited than the number of RVers who want to be there, a park may feel they have plenty of room to be picky about who they let in – and age of an RV is a legal way to be choosey.

How Prevalent Is the Rule?

For a long time we’ve preached the wisdom of buying a high quality older coach and keeping it updated. You can often find former 1/2 million dollar motorhomes for pennies on the dollar that are still in impeccable shape because they were built to last.

Tight little RV spaces found in private parks aren’t usually our thing anyway.

And heck, older RVs are just sometimes what someone can afford to start pursing this lifestyle – or heck you just like vintage stuff. And there are some darn fine older RVs out there with lots of miles left on them with a little TLC.

This of course flies in the face of this 10 Year Rule.

But don’t freak out over it.

The rule isn’t that prevalent and if you have an older RV you might not tend towards luxury resort style parks anyways (not that all parks that call themselves ‘resorts’ are worthy of the label.)

There are well over 20,000 RV parking options out there, and only a tiny portion of them have rules like this. Public parks (such as state, county and federal) don’t tend to have any rules about the age or type of RV.

It will really only become an issue if a park with such a rule is your only option in an area you absolutely need to be at.

And if that’s the case, you have some choices:

  • Elk’s Lodge Parking

    Find alternatives in the area – including private parking options such as via Boondockers Welcome, private clubs (Elks, Moose, etc), Overnight RV Parking, Harvest Hosts or any number of free overnight parking options. Or find an option further away and commute in to attend to whatever it is you need to do.

  • Call the Park – Especially if you deem your RV worthy, cool, restored, updated or otherwise in great shape for its age – contact the park. Sometimes they just have the rule on the books in case there’s trouble, but they otherwise don’t enforce it. And sometimes the rule just doesn’t apply for transients (ie. those of us just passing through for a few days). They may ask to see recent photos of your RV.
  • Just Show Up – When booking a site if the RV Park doesn’t ask the age of your RV – some folks are comfortable just showing up and taking a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell approach and letting the park deal with it in person if it’s an issue. And some folks are comfortable not disclosing the actual age of their RV if they feel theirs can pass for newer. We personally don’t like to chance being turned away to a spot we need to be at and we suck at fudging the truth.

While some parks may be lenient on the rule – if your travel plans and desires will have you frequently staying in higher end resorts or in areas where these rules might be prevalent, it may be best to just plan your RV purchase around this. Budget for and buy a newer RV.

Just like selecting a neighborhood to live in – if you want to paint your house purple, don’t select a neighborhood with a beige only rule.

How Has the Rule Applied to Us?

Ahhh.. that’s more our style. State Park stays!

Quite honestly, we’re not private RV Park people to begin with, and we don’t like rules. We adore variety around us and oogle at fancy new and older RVs alike.

If we have other options in an area we want to be in, we much prefer public campgrounds (state, federal, county), driveway surfing or boondocking.

The number of times where such a park was needed in our travels has been rather limited. And in all of the cases, when we contacted the park we were immediately welcomed in.

It seems our bus conversion isn’t considered ‘old’ but ‘vintage’ – and thus pretty cool. So that probably helps our case quite a bit.

We usually just point parks to the online tour of our bus – which clearly shows a few things:

  • We’ve done a LOT of renovation work, and all our RV systems are modern.
  • Our bus is not just an old cheap RV, but a beloved and iconic part of our journey.
  • We’re nomads and have no intentions of standing still in a spot for long.
  • We have the means and desire to take care of any issues with our bus that might occur – such as having towing insurance (Coach Net).
  • Our bus is pretty cool looking and will not be seen as an eye sore by their customers.
  • We’re active on social media and us staying at their park will be part of our story.

Have an older RV and worried about this rule? Join the My RV is too old for your park Facebook group, where they’re tracking parks with this rule, and sharing in the pain.

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13 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. I am an industrial electrician and I have to travel to work a lot. I am in a slightly different situation than most RV owners, I rent monthly and I usually only stay at private Parks, I find that the 10 year rule usually only applies to monthly renters, and when you send the park pictures and let then see that your RV is in good condition they let you stay any way, most Park’s that have this rule are just trying to make sure that your RV has enough blue book value in it that you are going to take it with you when you leave and not abandoned it in there park and leave them with a healthy expense to get rid of it

  2. Fascinating. I had no idea about this rule. We’re still in the “fantasizing about it” stage and I doubt we’ll be brave enough to go with an RV that’s older than 5 years but this is definitely something to keep in mind when making our plans.

  3. Thank you so much for your story! We have this rule for the reasons you stated. Not too long after we opened, we had a gentleman who called and said he had a schoolbus that was “fully retrofitted as an RV to include bathroom and kitchen facilities”, and that it would just be him staying. When he arrived, we discovered the bus had only had enough seats removed to accommodate enough cots to sleep him AND his wife and seven children who were with him! There were no kitchen or bathroom facilities at all, nor had it been retrofitted as an RV at all.

    Thereby requiring us to institute the rule that we have to “see it or see pictures of all four sides” to approve it.”

    We have had a rig just like yours in the park–and it was AMAZING! Thanks again for your wonderful and enlightening article! Safe travels…

  4. I asked one park, in the Birch Bay, WA area, “Why do so many parks have age discrimination?” I was told it was the insurance companies. If a tree or light pole fell on a newer one their insurance would have to pay the clean up fees, etc. BUT if it’s older than 10 years, they’d just pay the owner of the RV $1 and tell them to get it off of the property!
    I live in a 1983 Wanderlodge and it does not look anything like most RV’s do after a few years, (heck I have a neighbor who had frozen broken pipes on her NEW one because they were put in exposed to the elements!), and am stuck in a park that has drug problems because the other parks wouldn’t even consider the age of mine!
    If a person wants to come to WA, all I can say is good luck! Check out parks, private, etc…I have found allot of private people won’t let a person park at their homes due to the county laws.

  5. Two words: selective enforcement. The rule is there if they want to use it because they don’t like you or your rig. You guys are not likely to have much trouble, between your (albeit minor) celebrity status in the RV community (yes, I went there) and having a cool “vintage” bus. OTOH, a nobody like me with a 30 year old class C motorhome will suffer a far greater rste-of-rejection. But then again, the sorts of places with such rules are probably places I can’t afford and wouldn’t want to stay at anyway. Their loss.

  6. Well written article, Cheri. We, too, have not had any problems when we have to stay at rv parks with our vintage bus. We are always friendly and, when questioned, send photos and talk with management. We never get upset when questioned and have always been admitted. We are all ambassadors for rving. It is most important to always be nice, considerate of others, keep you’re rv up to date and in good working order. Keep your area clean and uncluttered. If you are told no, be gracious!

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