Living in a van or off a small plot.

Homes and Retreats
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DustyDog
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Location: Cumbria

Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by DustyDog » Sun May 27, 2018 12:33 pm

Well, after a divorce and loss of my home, where do i go? My two options are van living or trying to live on a small plot of land, either in a container or a caravan, each has its pros and cons, how big a van, what about water, waste and winter, stealth or campsite? Can you live on a piece of lets say grassland in the country, even if you own it? Basically i do not want to spend the last 25+ years of my life paying rent and i cannot afford to buy (and at age fifty, i'm to old for a mortgage). So fellow preppers what advice, experience could you thanks.give on this? A strange topic i know, but surely i cannot be the only guy in this situation so any experienced van or land dwellers out, can you assist???
Up in the wet Lake District.

jansman
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Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by jansman » Sun May 27, 2018 5:57 pm

My brother lives in a 1995 touring van.He has a large awning too.He is currently with a group of New Age Travellers,living in land owned by them.They are not allowed mains services,so it's all generators,solar,and compost loos.Water they draw and treat from a brook.However,he has the chance to move into a ' business park', which is a site in the middle of nowhere,housing small industrial units and hard standings for caravan dwellers.There are about ten,and they live totally off the radar.

After the cold Winter and some health issues ( being mugged to within an inch of life!) He is moving there.He will have mains water and pay as you go electric hook up,and waste disposal.This will cost £70 a week.You don't get anything for nothing in this life.He pays no rates,and because of his nomadic lifestyle,no income tax.He is 51.

We have a 1960's ' leisure park' near here too.I often fish there.There are some nice static vans near the gate,but as you go further in,there are single blokes living in crappy vans and even old railway carriages.It is the third world within the first.

Be careful where you settle.
In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost.

Covid 19: After that level of weirdness ,any situation is certainly possible.

Me.

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Deeps
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Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by Deeps » Sun May 27, 2018 7:18 pm

Sorry to hear it mate, have you tried to get a mortgage ? I know the rules have changed but I'm not au fait with them. I believe that they now include all income so pensions etc can be included so worth seeing a mortgage broker to see where you stand.

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DustyDog
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Location: Cumbria

Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by DustyDog » Sun May 27, 2018 9:23 pm

Deeps wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 7:18 pm
Sorry to hear it mate, have you tried to get a mortgage ? I know the rules have changed but I'm not au fait with them. I believe that they now include all income so pensions etc can be included so worth seeing a mortgage broker to see where you stand.
Thanks, i have not looked for a mortgage, even small homes around here are £70000+ and i would have barely enough savings for the deposit.
Also i do want to live "off grid", i have no problem paying towards services but i do want to live in the country and nowhere near the city and do not want to be paying rent the rest of my life. I was hoping to buy a small (1 acre-ish) plot of grassland for either a container home or static or even to park a motorhome on, have some chickens again and buy wood to sell as woodfuel, i may go and chat to a planning officer and see what he says, if no joy from him, looks like camper van, at least through summer. Oh well.
Up in the wet Lake District.

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yorkshirewolf
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Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by yorkshirewolf » Mon May 28, 2018 6:36 am

Sorry to hear of your unhappy situation, but always remember it will get better.

Living off grid is hard work, and doing it in a camper/trailer/container/tent is really hard work. My partner and I did it for about five years, and although done as more of a lifestyle-experiment-enjoyment-why-not? thing, we are now in a house.

The first thing you'll have problems with are legal, you need a bricks and mortar address on the national land registry to have bank accounts, tax, NHS etc, there are ways around this such as using family/friends or post office boxes, there are even people who have set up a service where you can use their address for a small fee, but you will need an address.
Planning is a nightmare, very few people are given permission to have a permanent dwelling on agricultural land or woodland, you need to buy the land, then get permission for a temporary shelter, then over time you can apply for permanence, but i know a lot of people who crossed every T and dotted every I, done their time, and still been refused and had to move from their own land.
Councils are getting more and more ruthless with it, and unless you have very deep pockets and can afford to go through courts and appeals, it's unlikely you'll get planning permission for a permanent dwelling.

Then there are the practicalities of earning. You can't get a 'normal' job unless you have an address, we struggled with keeping ourselves afloat and that was with both working hard, and being resourceful. Keeping a steady stream of cash coming in to pay for food, clothing, running a vehicle of some sort, repairs and maintenance, is hard.
Claiming any kind of benefit is impossible without an address, and from what i hear, the new benefits are a nightmare to deal with, I know people who've been left in serious poverty and resorted to food banks, shoplifting and dealing drugs to make ends meet, and the consensus seems to be that the DWP do everything they can to make it harder to claim; the new Universal Credit is all done online, and is a major exercise in bureaucracy, so doing that without an address and some plan of how to get into 'proper' work will be very short lived.

The lifestyle itself, we enjoyed, it's nice being able to wear work clothes all the time, not worry too much about smelling or looking perfect, being a bit more liberal with general appearance and cleanliness, and having like-minded people around.
Working long hours and doing some hard graft are nice if you enjoy your work, and working on farms and in the natural world are always nice.
I'm not sure what skills you have to make money but i'd say be prepared to be very flexible and adaptive, you'll need to be able to turn your hand to anything to make money and keep yourself ticking over.

Also, as Jansman says, beware of some of the 'new age' sites, things may appear all organic and easy-living, but a lot of people we met are in a third world situation, there's a large, pretty invisible underclass of people living under the radar on land and in houseboats struggling to keep going, and it's a hard trap to get out of without - you guessed it- an address and some visible income/tax returns.

In all I wouldn't advise against it (despite my warnings!) as it can be a nice way to live, but don't get swept up in the 'living off the land out of the way' fantasy because it is not an easy life - especially in the UK.
But how successful you are will depend on your finances, skills, ability and willingness to work hard and long hours, and ability to tolerate the lifestyle, we enjoyed it and if things were different with the economy and we had much deeper pockets, we'd both do it again, but it's a lot easier to make a living in the 'normal' working world than living on the fringes.

But if you decide to give it a go and want to ask anything, i'm happy to give you any help/advice i can based on our experience of doing it, so feel free to PM me.

:)

Scottish-prepper
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Location: Fife, Scotland

Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by Scottish-prepper » Mon May 28, 2018 7:34 am

Just off the top of my head I would think your best bet might be to buy some land to farm and put a larger touring caravan on it. It’s not a permanent address so you won’t need planning permission etc. Exactly where you stand legally doing that I don’t know. Given the amount of travellers sites around though, I don’t think it’s too likely you would be moved on.

Good luck whatever you end up doing mate.

jansman
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Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by jansman » Mon May 28, 2018 7:43 am

What yorkshirewolf said^.Brother works for himself basically.He has a postal address,via his ex - partner.Fortunately they parted amicably as friends.However,his lifestyle means he really lives in the edge of societal ' normality'. One thing he has done though,as a very long term Vodafone customer,is to have a massive 4G data access ( for not a lot of cash).This means he can stay connected and deal with banking,car tax,insurance etc.

The last Winter was hard though.Frozen water,frozen gas and zero income.
In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost.

Covid 19: After that level of weirdness ,any situation is certainly possible.

Me.

Arzosah
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by Arzosah » Mon May 28, 2018 8:29 am

DustyDog wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 12:33 pm
Well, after a divorce and loss of my home, where do i go? .... Basically i do not want to spend the last 25+ years of my life paying rent and i cannot afford to buy (and at age fifty, i'm to old for a mortgage). So fellow preppers what advice, experience could you thanks.give on this? A strange topic i know, but surely i cannot be the only guy in this situation so any experienced van or land dwellers out, can you assist???
Sorry to hear your situation, DustyDog.

I absolutely understand not wanting to spend the rest of your life paying rent, and at 50, there's no way you're too old for a mortgage. As for your savings being almost completely used up for the deposit, well, maybe thats do-able. Not good, but doable. And since you haven't investigated mortgages, I'd say, give it a go, but not via a system that charges you. Have a look at https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/. I'm a bit of a missionary for moneysavingexpert, and the other thing it can help you with is making the most of your money - food shopping, utilities, whatever. The forum there is also worth its weight in gold - have a look through the boards, it will also help you earn more as well, if you have some time - and if you're trying to save up to get out of your situation, you *will* have time (ask me how I know **Arzosah grimaces in memory**).

I counted up the other day how much money I've saved just recently on house, contents and travel insurance, several very easily obtained shopping vouchers, Amazon vouchers for faffing about at a consumer website called Swagbucks, mobile phone refund, and it comes to about £300 in 6 months. I should also say I'm living at below the state pension amount at the moment, and thats nearly 5% of my annual spend, which is a big deal to me (though, full disclosure, I have savings) - and there's plenty of earnings things I *don't* do, from the Boost Your Income Board.

The other thing is, whereabouts are you? £70k isn't a lot, but there are still places cheaper than that. You may need to widen your search area - I've just noticed that your profile on here says Cumbria, so I put a search into rightmove with a max of £50k - 196 properties came up in Cumbria. Some of them are land parcels (and I'd dream about that too, if I were you, in fact I *am* dreaming about it), but that gives you a choice. And since most houses will be two bedders, you could rent out to a student, or a worker in the tourist industry, or use the space to start your own online business selling gizmos you make yourself?

I hope you can find a way through soon, all the best.

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Deeps
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Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by Deeps » Mon May 28, 2018 9:00 am

If its a recent split, take a bit of time to find out exactly where you stand, as mentioned, mortgages might be an option, speak to the council to see if you can get somewhere, maybe the CAB too, the more info the better really before you decide to do anything. If you're leaning towards the more rustic lifestyle, it will still be there in a months time but use the month (or however long) to do research and make sure your head is in the right place, even if the split is something you wanted its still quite a traumatic event.

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Brambles
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Re: Living in a van or off a small plot.

Post by Brambles » Mon May 28, 2018 9:07 am

yorkshirewolf and Jansman speak wise words. Any sort of fringe living has it's pros and cons and I think you need a certain mindset to cope with it.
Living on your own land is nigh impossible on a full time basis and getting planning permission is much the same. If you put any sort of dwelling on your land, you have to have permission to live in it and to get that, you need justification and then it has to be agreed. :roll:
Have you considered a canal boat? Again, you will need certain permissions and licences, but these are much easier to get. You can either rent a livaboard mooring or apply to the Canal and Waterways trust for a continuous cruisier ticket. Here's a link to give you some ideas. There are also bonuses like free drinking water standpipes and free waste disposal(once you have bought a key)

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-th ... -on-a-boat

http://www.canaljunction.com/boat/liveaboard.htm

As you are a chef, you might consider making a living at cooking or baking from your boat as a roving trader.

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/business ... ng-traders

I wish you the best of luck making your dream a reality. :) The end of a relationship is much like a death in the family and similar feelings can surface at the least welcome moment, having been through it myself I can understand. (Hence why I know a bit about trying to live offgrid) If you have the kit, take a few weeks off and bum about a few campsites or hire a camper or boat and take a few weeks to see how things fit.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain~anon

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