Is the RV 10 Year Rule Discrimination and a Case of Snobbery?

Has your RV been denied a campground reservation because of the RV 10 year rule?! Even if you have a high end, fancy motorhome or fifth wheel, your RV may not be welcome or even make a reservation! Is the 10 year rule a form of snobby RV discrimination? Or, is there a good reason for this over-reaching camping rule to disallow old RVs from setting up camp?

Did you know it’s perfectly legal for private RV parks and high-end RV resorts to deny RVs that are 10 years or older to park on their properties.

Let’s find out why!

RV 10 Year Rule - RV Discrimination - Always On Liberty

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Is the RV 10 Year Rule Discrimination for RVs?

Why RVs over 10 years old may not be welcome at certain RV Parks and Campgrounds

Look, we all know that not everyone can afford a brand spankin’ new motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer. And frankly, not everyone wants a new RV.

Some may love the classic RVs. Others may prefer an older RV that’s been meticulously taken care showing very little signs of wear.  

However, some high end RV resorts and RV parks may not see it that way. So, they impose the so-called RV 10 year rule.

All these campground owners see is red when they see a 10 year old RV (or older) come through the gate. There is this automatic speculation that 10 year old RV are trouble.

Older Travel Trailer Camper in a Campsite - RV 10 year rule

Quite honestly, it does sound kind of snooty. But, after RVing for over 9 years, I can sort of see their point why some disallow 10 year old RVs from parking on their property.

Just as any business reserves the right to serve specific clientele, private RV park and campground owners have that option also.

They are under no obligation to serve potential customers as long as they are within the perimeters of the tenancy laws.

But, RVers and campers need to realize that these RV Parks and Resorts are NOT discriminating against religion, nationality, race, color, marital status, age, family size, handicap or gender.

They are just choosy on the age of your motorhome or camper’s age and/or appearance.

So, if your RV falls under the speculation due to its’ age, don’t think you can just hire some billboard lawyer and sue.

They just would rather not have Cousin Eddie’s or Breaking Bad mobile meth lab bringing down the neighborhood.

But it’s more than just for looks. It’s about keeping their RV park and other fellow campers safe.

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Old Tin Can Travel Trailer Camper - RV Discrimination - RV 10 Year Rule

The RV 10 year rule is just a legal way to keep the riff-raff or undesirables out. I agree, that sounds totally judgmental, but perhaps this will shed some light on why.

That said, the RV 10 year rule does not apply to government-funded campgrounds like National Parks or State Park Campgrounds, Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds or BLM and public lands. 

Older Travel Trailer Camper parked at beach campground

Table of Contents:

RV’s that are not RVIA Certified

RVIA Sticker for Recreational Vehicles

Unfortunately some RV’s such as buses, skoolies, hybrids, and self-manufactured RV’s may also fall within the parameters of the RV 10 year rule.

RV parks and resorts may specify in their site rental policy that RVs and campers must display the RVIA Certification decal. This proves that the RV complies with the RV standards adopted by the RV Industry Association (RVIA).

RV Park and campground owners use it as a legal way of regulating what kind of RV is welcome.

Physical Appearance

Old Travel Trailer Camper Parked at Side Yard of House

No one wants to park next to an eyesore jalopy with crap piled all around with God knows what crawling in, on or around it. Heck, we’ve experienced that ourselves a few years back.

RV parks are supposed to be a temporary vacation spot for your RV and for you to relax and enjoy the outdoors. You shouldn’t be worrying about unwelcome pests coming from their unkempt site to yours.

Especially in high-end RV Parks, they don’t want their place to look like a junkyard or some fleabag no-tell motel or RV park. 

And if that means enforcing strict standards of cleanliness and appearance, so be it. They are well within their right to do so as any landlord.

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Aging RV Systems, Components & Utilities

Old Class C Motorhome Camper Over 10 Years Old

Older RVs obviously will have aging water and sewer components and electrical systems that are prone to needing repair or replacement.

The last thing RV park owners want is an older RV leaking whatever that is coming from their black tank onto their property.

They’d also prefer not having an RV’s old electric system blowing their pedestals thus becoming a fire hazard that could very well burn down the entire RV park!

When an older motorhome or camper hasn’t been taken care of properly, said RV becomes a liability. It may even involve the EPA or break fire codes.

These top two reasons are precisely why RV parks and campgrounds enforce the 10 year rule.

And, this is particularly the reason why we encourage RV owners to keep up with regular RV maintenance and their RV exterior.

✰ RELATED ✰  RV Fire Safety and Lifesaving Fire Prevention Tips

Criminal Activity

We’ve noticed more RV parks and resort owners are implementing criminal background and credit checks on their long(er) term RV park tenants and even month-to-month residents.

No one should be worrying about who is in the camper next door, what they’re cooking or what they may be dealing. Many criminals hide from the law by staying transit and living in old campers.

So, I guess this is one way for RV park owners to have a bit of legal control on who access their park property.

Hence, the 10 year rule is their way to get around this behavior. Campgrounds and RV parks are supposed to be safe havens for you, your family and your own RV.

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RV Disposal Cost

Old Abandoned Camper in Woods

Did you know it costs campgrounds and RV parks over $15,000 to remove and dispose of an old abandoned RV or camper from their property?

Campgrounds also loose money if the permanent site rental term is in arrears. It means an abandoned camper is taking up a spot that should be producing revenue.

And, unfortunately, that costs is passed down to customers by raising their campsite fees.

So, to help alleviate, RV parks have stepped forward to enforce the 10 year rule. After all, they’re in business to make money; not lose it.

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RV park restrictions besides the RV 10 year rule

Old Abandoned Camper in Woods

RV parks are legal to implement other restrictions as well; not just the age of RV.

As mentioned above, they are perfectly within their right to limit or ban non-RVIA certified RVs listed above.

But also, RV park owners can ban certain dog breeds, regulate golf cart usage

And, they are perfectly within their legal rights to select their clientele. Some RV parks may be for Class A Motorhomes only, RV manufacturer specific (ie. Airstream only parks) or 55+ only (senior adults).

However, through cordial communication, you may be able to convince these RV parks why it would be beneficial for them to invite you in.

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Helpful Tips on Circumventing the RV 10 Year Rule

There’s a few ways you may persuade the RV park or RV resort manager to overlook the 10 year rule and allow you to park your RV.

1) Email a current photo of your RV

Sometimes, all it takes is a little friendly correspondence to the RV park or campground.

My advice is try contacting them first. If they specify the RV 10 year rule, ask kindly if you can email them a photo of your pristine-looking fifth wheel or classic motorhome. Be truthful about your RV’s condition.

And, assure them that you are willing to pay for any damage your RV may cause.

Perhaps you should offer to forward a copy of your current registration and RV insurance to show your good faith and sincerity.

2) Send your social media channel links

This will give RV park managers and owners, not only a good view of your older RV but also your personal resume.

You may even go for promising them a free campground review on your YouTube channel, blog, social media and other online review venues such as RV Life.

Not only does RV Life offer a great RV trip planner, but their crowd-sourced Campground Reviews are a great resource to check to see if your old RV is welcome.

RV LIFE RV Trip Wizard RV Trip Planner Banner Ad

Check out our video of our stay at River’s Edge RV Park in Idaho!


3) Show up with fingers crossed

New Truck and Airstream Parked at Winery Vineyard at Harvest Host
Photo by Always On Liberty©

If you want to take your chances, just show up with your 10+ year old RV and let the RV park management see for themselves.

I’ve seen several RV parks throw out the 10 year rule right out the window when they see your gleaming old relic Airstream or Beaver bus!

However, what if you can’t seem to convince the RV park or RV resort management that your RV is worthy? Well, simply put your motorhome in drive and move on down the road to the next campground that doesn’t have that so-called RV 10 year rule.

There are plenty of other RV parks or campgrounds that will be more welcoming; regardless of how old you RV is and what it looks like.

Our personal favorite campgrounds that aren’t age-particular are Military FamCamps, Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, Elks Lodges, Moose Lodges as well as other clubs and fraternities.

However, all of which do have specific requirements, criteria and/or memberships to be able to park on the premises.

And don’t forget, there are no RV age requirements (within reason) to park your motorhome, fifth wheel and camper at:

      • State Parks
      • National Parks
      • Corps of Engineers Parks
      • County or City RV Parks
      • and tons of private and public campgrounds
      • BLM & Public Land

Harvest Hosts Discount Coupon - Always On Liberty

Wrapping up the RV 10 year rule

So, what are your thoughts on the RV 10 year rule? Has your RV become a victim to this kind of selective clientelle? Or, have you experienced being parked next to Cousin Eddie’s RV in a park that should impose or enforce the RV 10 year rule?

We’d love to hear what you have to say and your experiences as an owner of an RV older than 10 years old. Do you agree with the practice or do you really think it’s a form of discrimination or even snobbery?

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One Reply to “Is the RV 10 Year Rule Discrimination and a Case of Snobbery?”

  1. A very welcome summary, thank you. We generally stay at state, federal, and COE parks because they support the activities (biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, etc.) that we enjoy, so the 10-year rule has not been an issue. Scary trailers? We’ve stayed in a few small-town RV parks that have a large proportion of long-term campers. These often look like neighborhoods filled with Cousin Eddies. Runner up, a small cargo-trailer conversion that we camped near for a couple of days. I had a chance to visit with the owner one day. He had plumbed and wired it with a breaker box and all. It worked, but really struck me as a fire waiting to happen.

    On a different point, I seem to remember a post you did some time ago about “branding,” but cannot find to re-read. Is it still online?

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