RV Residents on L.A. Streets and the Vanlords


While the 2016 City Council alteration of the Municipal Code, concerning people living in a RV on the street, may have had good intentions the repercussions 7 years later are huge.

Earlier in June of this year, in an interview with CNN, L.A. Councilwoman Traci Park detailed the rent for a RV can reach as high as $1000/month.  She also rightful expressed "I'm tired of studies and reports." Her proposed legislation to address the business of housing people in unsafe RV's, would add RV's to the city code:

"Prohibits a person or entity from reserving any street, parking space, or other public space without written authorization from the City while conducting business pertaining to new and used vehicles." 

However, existing state law requires anyone who has offered any RV , "for sale, sold, rented or leased within California meet the design safety standards of the American National Standards Institute and Fire Protection Association."  rv_park_occupancy_law.pdf (ca.gov)

A similar restriction against Vanlords by the County was proposed in October, with a 90 day window for a report by various staff. The issues highlighted included: 

  • Unlike traditional landlords and property management entities, vanlords are not explicitly subject to laws that require the upkeep and maintenance of rental housing. 
  • Accordingly, PEH (people experience homelessness) who rent RVs that are parked in the public right-of-way are not protected by laws that secure tenants’ rights or even basic habitability standards.
  • 0f716316-3c8e-4166-8090-28b8b2763b65.pdf (lacounty.gov)

That same June report by CNN included an interesting insight into the demographics of those living in an RV ...on the street.

"It's actually good, to provide housing for people" even if it's an RV, said Dmitry Korikov, a filmmaker who says he volunteers helping people — mainly refugees from Russia and Ukraine — navigate van life on the streets of Los Angeles. "I lived myself in a motor home for two years. So I know how things (work), how the system works."  Thousands are living in RVs on Los Angeles' streets. The solution is elusive | KSL.com

 However, it was the 2016 legislation which made it attractive to park - and legal to park and live on the street. REVISED LAMC SECTION 85.02: USE OF VEHICLES AS LIVING QUARTERS – 

"On November 23, 2016, the City adopted an ordinance 

  • repealing Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) Section 85.02 in its entirety, 
  • in response to a U.S. Court of Appeals judgment and 
  • replaced it with a version that decriminalizes living in vehicles, 
  • while balancing the needs of all City residents, businesses and visitors for clean, healthy and safe public areas. 
  • The new LAMC Section 85.02 regulates the conduct of dwelling in a vehicle on a public street and is not a parking restriction. 
  • From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., persons are allowed to use a vehicle for dwelling, subject to posted parking restrictions, in mhttps://sfvnewsportal.town.news/node/add/article#ost areas of the City that are more than 500 feet from licensed schools, pre-schools, day care facilities or parks" 
  • The provisions of the new LAMC Section 85.02 become effective on Saturday, January 7, 2017 and expire on July 1, 2018, unless extended by ordinance

(Amended by Ord. No. 186,236, Eff. 8/2/19.)  14-1057-S8_ORD_186236_08-02-2019.pdf (lacity.org)

Then January 18, 2020  " In response to Council File (CF) 20-0147-S7, this report outlines the process by which the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) enforces and impounds abandoned and oversized vehicles and vehicles in which there is vehicle dwelling. 
 20-0147-S7_rpt_DOT_01-28-2021.pdf (lacity.org)

  • LADOT will not impound or tow a vehicle that is occupied. Per the Los Angeles Municipal Code  
    (LAMC) Section 85.02, vehicle "means any motor vehicle, trailer, house car or trailer coach as
    defined by the California Vehicle Code."

Number of RV's on COUNTY streets according to a report 

  • 2018 >4,500
  • 2022 >11,000 people (7,100 vehicles)  6533 - Cvrtm Summary By Geography (lahsa.org)
  • To determine an estimated number of persons staying in these dwellings, researchers used demographic surveys from unsheltered persons (both individuals and families) from December 2021 to March 2022.
  • However, when the data is sorted by council district rather than Service Planning Area numbers are 20% less.
    • Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority 2022 Point in Time Count - 
    • 6,500 individuals are living in 4,000 RVs across the city, a 40% increase since 2018
    • This is 22% of the city’s total unsheltered homeless population.


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