Is It Legal to Have a Huge Tent in Your Own Backyard?

Having great backyard camping ideas means you don’t have to attend expensive parties out of town to feel happy. A tent large enough to accommodate your family is useful for enjoying yummy snacks and playing creative games. But is it legal to have such a huge tent in your backyard?

Tenting in your backyard does not cause any harm. It, however, depends on both your jurisdiction and the reasons for tenting. In most cases, you will need pre-planned permissions from the local authorities, but in others, you are unlimited to pitch a tent wherever you want. 

For an overview of how you should go about tenting in your backyards without breaking the law, please read ahead.

Is My Backyard a Private Premise?

In most cases, a title deed specifies the extent of a home’s property. If your backyard is within the surveyed plot described by your deed, then it is your private property. If you are renting, the deed outlines where the property belongs to your landlord. In the case where the backyard isn’t listed in the deed, what you presume to be yours might be someone else’s

A few states, however, consider front lawns or backyards adjacent to the sidewalk as a partial property between you and the local city government. Thus, if you are planning to set up a tent there, you must first verify that the property is yours before securing legal permission.

What Factors Affect the Legality of You Camping in Your Backyard?

Depending on where you live, law enforcement may either permit or disallow you from having a tent in your backyard due to the following factors:

  • Insecurity

The police department in your area may have stringent guidelines concerning how to set up the tent before setting it up. This is if the neighborhood has experienced any insecurity problems in the past. As part of the policy measures, they may ask you what you intend to do from the tent, as well as who is accessing it.  You may also lose your sense of privacy at home since the police may desire to look into your activities from time to time.

  • Noise Disruption

In case you intend to use the tent for your children’s play, they will at least need instructions on how to respect their surroundings and not make too much noise for the neighbors. In any other case, they will need parental supervision to avoid disrupting their neighbors.

  • Law Maintenance

In 1968, protests for economic gains took place in resurrection city. Tents were erected all over Washington as protesters demanded higher wages in the then-American economy. Local government officials might be more vigilant about erected tents within the city, just in case there’s another cooking protest going on. Consequently, the local police might intervene in the setting up of your tent.

  • Zoning Laws

Your country may have its own population-control strategies meant to remove displaced people, immigrants, and homeless people from its parks and streets. When the evictions are ongoing, erecting a tent on your lawn could mean renting out your property to the homeless. You may violate the regulations of your country even if there is no strict legislation prohibiting backyard tenting.

  • Housing Laws

Within city limits, certain zones in different counties have specific laws regarding building standards. The regulations may also include guidance on temporary and permanent housing plans. Basically, when you set up a tent within such areas, whether it’s for fun, or because it’s the only housing option you have for living, you could encounter some difficulty with local law enforcement.

  • Off-Grid Living

In a bid to keep uniformity around cities, regardless of the tents’ function, the law in such places may take into account that tents may be used only for specific services within a specific time frame. Otherwise, you will be restricted to tenting in RV parks and campgrounds only.

Do I Need a Permit to Have a Tent in My Backyard?

According to how you want to use the tent in your backyard, it can be sized differently. Nevertheless, you need to plan carefully, especially if you are looking to use the room for a living purpose, whether it is permanent or temporary. The planning includes seeking permission from the relevant authorities unless this will be a one-day structure. 

Therefore for cities with no strict regulations on having tents in their backyards, here is what you should expect with their permits:

Modern garden extended rooms do not require planning applications as long as they meet the following class E rules.

  • The tent is no higher than 2.5 m from the bottom to the roof.
  • The tent does not take more than 50% of your garden area.
  • As long as it is not used for sleeping or living accommodation.

What If the Tent Is for Accommodation Purposes?

In addition to the length of time, you will need the tent, you will also need to be open if you will be using it as an extension of your home or for some other reason. Your council tax must additionally be included when determining whether a change will increase your annual bill.

In addition, you will have your neighbors fill out surveys about whether or not they are happy with the tent in your backyard. As a general rule, you will not sleep in the tent until you seek the necessary legal advice to know how to set it up.

Additionally, the tent must meet all standards of living in the form of ideal heating, lighting, and at least a draft that can be proven in the planning. Additional requirements may include having a bedroom and kitchenette within the tent as long as you classify it as an extension of your main house.

In general, every country has its regulations about tents in backyards. For instance, in most states of the United States, tent structures are not classified as buildings suitable for human occupancy unless you have other requirements.

Thus, it is not harmful to have a tent in your backyard, provided it complies with all local or state regulations.

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