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Thread: Legality of living in a yurt in the UK...

  1. #1
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    Question Legality of living in a yurt in the UK...

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who will most likely never be able to afford their own home, and is attracted by a yurt-living lifestyle.

    Does anyone here live in a yurt, even part time? Is it an additional homestead on your land which has a brick and mortar building already?

    I went to France recently, and I saw a few hippie folk living in yurts, and apparently there are hundreds if not thousands more doing the same thing. But they're either under the radar or they've set up on someone else's land, with permission. Not exactly legal, but appealing nonetheless.

    How does it work in the UK?

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    In this country i'd imagine you'd need a plot of land with full planning permission as if you were gonna build a house
    Uncle chop chop

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunndog View Post
    In this country i'd imagine you'd need a plot of land with full planning permission as if you were gonna build a house
    A yurt is probably classed as a mobile home, or could easily be proved to be. I'm not sure of current law, but static caravans can only be lived in for 10 months of the year. October here sees the occupants of static caravan parks take off with their mobile caravans for a couple of months, then return two months later.
    "Nature is an old lady with few suitors these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms she rewards passionately" Tim Krabbe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nice65 View Post
    A yurt is probably classed as a mobile home, or could easily be proved to be. I'm not sure of current law, but static caravans can only be lived in for 10 months of the year. October here sees the occupants of static caravan parks take off with their mobile caravans for a couple of months, then return two months later.
    Aye if the op wanted to live there full time with some stability i bet he'd need the same permissions as a house
    Uncle chop chop

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunndog View Post
    Aye if the op wanted to live there full time with some stability i bet he'd need the same permissions as a house
    Or get a spare yurt
    "Nature is an old lady with few suitors these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms she rewards passionately" Tim Krabbe

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    There's a guy near(ish) to me that lives in a yurt permanently we also have people living permanently in static caravans. I think the 10 month thing is to get around paying community charges/poll tax (whatever it's called now). I'd happily live in a yurt full time.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophecy View Post
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who will most likely never be able to afford their own home, and is attracted by a yurt-living lifestyle.

    Does anyone here live in a yurt, even part time? Is it an additional homestead on your land which has a brick and mortar building already?

    I went to France recently, and I saw a few hippie folk living in yurts, and apparently there are hundreds if not thousands more doing the same thing. But they're either under the radar or they've set up on someone else's land, with permission. Not exactly legal, but appealing nonetheless.

    How does it work in the UK?
    I have to say there are a lot of travellers who don't care much for legality, they stay wherever they can get the vans on until they are moved on. At least you can say this for a Yurt, it is portable so if you do find yourself on the wrong side of planning authorities you can bundle and go.

    I spent a couple of nights in a Yurt in the middle of Edinburgh, essentially doing security duty, we had permission to be there but I had to contend with the drunks passing by at all times of night insisting that this was travellers and threatening to burn it down, interesting times.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunndog View Post
    Aye if the op wanted to live there full time with some stability i bet he'd need the same permissions as a house
    To live there on a year round basis, I would expect yes, but to erect a Yurt and leave it there, probably not as it would come under the same regulations as a shed or greenhouse if it were on your own land.

  9. #9
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    your land, your set up no drama

    someone else's land court drama

    how you deal with that is up to you...

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    So far as I understand the law.
    If you have agricultural land you may use it for another purpose such as camping for up to 28 days a year.
    A yurt is a structure, not a building so long as it has no foundation or is attached to an anchoring point that is cemented in or could otherwise be deemed permanent. Being plumbed in could also be deemed to make it permanent. If it is a permanent structure it becomes a building and requires planning permission.



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  11. #11
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    Have a look at tipi valley......

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    Following this threw with interest.
    He who says, "he can" and he who says "he can't" are both usually right.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy T View Post
    Have a look at tipi valley......
    Cool. Bit too hippy for my liking but here's a good article I just read.

    http://www.lifeforcemagazine.com/feb2014/index_11.htm

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countryman View Post
    So far as I understand the law.
    If you have agricultural land you may use it for another purpose such as camping for up to 28 days a year.
    A yurt is a structure, not a building so long as it has no foundation or is attached to an anchoring point that is cemented in or could otherwise be deemed permanent. Being plumbed in could also be deemed to make it permanent. If it is a permanent structure it becomes a building and requires planning permission.



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    Sounds right to me.

    Friends of mine lived in yurts for years, in a valley in lancaster. They were not the only ones living in yurts in that valley, at one point I think there were about 4 yurts up, 3 lived in pretty much year round.

    The yurts got moved now and then.
    Yes, they had permission of the landowner. It was part of a project enthusiastically supported and encouraged by the landowner.

    The downsides are that it is difficult to keep a yurt structure damp-free in this climate (bear in mind that yurts originate in a dry climate) and can require considerable fuel to keep them dry and rot-free. Keeping out vermin can be difficult - you have to be meticulous about food scraps to avoid being overrun with rats and mice.

    A day when you have a legitimate, practical reason to use an axe is a good day.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophecy View Post
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who will most likely never be able to afford their own home, and is attracted by a yurt-living lifestyle.

    Does anyone here live in a yurt, even part time? Is it an additional homestead on your land which has a brick and mortar building already?

    I went to France recently, and I saw a few hippie folk living in yurts, and apparently there are hundreds if not thousands more doing the same thing. But they're either under the radar or they've set up on someone else's land, with permission. Not exactly legal, but appealing nonetheless.

    How does it work in the UK?
    I lived in a tipi for a good while and looked after my friends yurt for a few months in Tipi valley, there is a similar setup in spain

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    Living in a Yurt/tipi/tent full time seems like hard work. Why not a caravan?
    Are there different legal aspects preventing that?

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    Not really. People get funny about caravans. They have primal connections to "travellers" or Gypsy folk.
    We rocked up to our new piece of land and plonked a little touring caravan on it to use as a feed store and toilet. The planning officer turned up in 48 hours following up on loads of tip offs.

    More acceptable might be a shepherds hut or living van.


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    The worst (imo) would be the earthen floor. Wet and nasty. Straw hosts 'little friends'
    Last edited by Janne; 08-09-2017 at 01:35.

  19. #19
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    My wife and I have been intrigued by them for years. The local park up the road has one on a concrete pad that is used for camping during the fall and winter, but I've never stayed in it. Here in the States, you run into all kinds of strange codes on everything from having a foundation, plumbing and electricity, etc. Once you work your way thru that mess, it might not be bad. Never thought about vermin....my wife is scared to death of snakes!

  20. #20
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    I do not think snakes are a big problem. Mice, insects.

  21. #21
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    Long ago, I was looking at buying woodland, rather than a bricks and mortar house.
    I recall that you could put up a building for forestry workers to live in and equipment stores. But they could only live there for something like 9 (?) months in a year.
    So I planned to register the land as two separate plots, owned in different names. Put a concrete pad down that straddled the border, with a a static caravan. Then just push the van back and forth over the border, when the time was up.
    OK it's being cheeky, but it could keep the authgorities tied up in paperwork for years and years. (Find land that straddles a county border and see them sweat!)

    Eventually I just brought a house.
    And last year, built a little yurt in the garden.
    I had some materials that I could not bring myself to skip, and a beer conversation was had with a friend, and.... Beers with friends now occur in the yurt.
    Last edited by gonzo_the_great; 08-09-2017 at 09:43.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janne View Post
    The worst (imo) would be the earthen floor. Wet and nasty. Straw hosts 'little friends'
    There are lots of solutions to that.

    The classic one is to lay down pallets, then some sort of draft/damp-resistant membrane and then rugs.

    I've seen wooden flooring laid in sections on 4x2, in a similar way to temp staging/dance flooring.
    Stone flag entrances work well for taking off muddy footwear.

    A day when you have a legitimate, practical reason to use an axe is a good day.

  23. #23
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    Clever. The Sami used a layer of Reindeer skin, hairy side up.
    When I was in a similar living condition, we used freshly harvested branches of pine. Lovely smell, lasted about 3 weeks.

    Important to choose a site correctly, preferably just after a heavy rain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janne View Post
    Clever. The Sami used a layer of Reindeer skin, hairy side up.
    When I was in a similar living condition, we used freshly harvested branches of pine. Lovely smell, lasted about 3 weeks.

    Important to choose a site correctly, preferably just after a heavy rain.
    Reindeer hides great for a floor of bedding just make sure it has been treated otherwise it sheds hair and take it from one that knows they are bloody painful like little needles, we have used fresh pine boughs and it was sleeping on a sprung mattress, in the tipi we use reeds and we did have a family of voles that lived under it but eventually they became really friendly and would take titbits saying that they did eat some of my paperwork

  25. #25
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    I would think most reindeer skins are properly treated these days, but they still lose the outer stiff hairs.
    I once squashed a lemming putting my foot into the boot. Nasty feeling.
    Cool to have a tame family of voles!

  26. #26

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    To answer the OP's question. Planning consent/permission isn't required on land you own or land with permission given to you by the owner/manager, for a Total of 28 days in any one year. Not including the siting adjacent to a lawful residential building. Laws still apply to that situation.

    For the purpose of erecting a yurt to dwell in, in open Countryside or woodland in England, there are some circumstances where dwelling in a temporary structure such as a yurt/tipi/tent/log cabin or caravan is allowed with Local Authority approval and still without planning consent. For instance, in woodland where need can be proven for such temporary dewelling, eg. for forestry management purposes or for Agricultural (mainly livestock) or essential equipment supervision (hydro or electrical) Horses and some other types of livestock are excluded from been deemed in need of 24/7 husbandry and therefor temporarily dwelling consent in any type of temporary or perminant structure would not be permitted without full planning approval (after the 28 days have elapsed).
    To qualify for temporary dwelling within a woodland, the operator must show that 75% of his income or more will be generated from the activity or that the activity will be temporary for a specified time period and only for one or more seasons each year, for management purposes.

    The Local Authorities have GPS tiles on their desktop. These are updated every quarter. It's not beyond them to monitor any site with previous infractions. They can and do insist any structures are removed within a time frame if a person is in breach of any agreement.
    Fines of 50 per day for acting in breach of a Local Authority condition, can result in the Local Authority removing any structure and billing the occupant/owner for the costs.

  27. #27
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    Theres a person over the hill in a Ger.

    But its pretty well hidden I must admit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Countryman View Post
    Not really. People get funny about caravans. They have primal connections to "travellers" or Gypsy folk.
    We rocked up to our new piece of land and plonked a little touring caravan on it to use as a feed store and toilet. The planning officer turned up in 48 hours following up on loads of tip offs.

    More acceptable might be a shepherds hut or living van.


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    David Cameron put a shepherds hut on his land. Bet he got no grief from the planning officer.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldtimer View Post
    David Cameron put a shepherds hut on his land. Bet he got no grief from the planning officer.
    You can site them on land, they are classed as a mobile structure. it's only if you intend residing in it that it becomes illegal

  30. #30
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    I do a few Planning application jobs for agricultural dwellings and various holiday homes and rentals every year. I can tell you that getting planning approval for anything like that is a long and expensive process with no guarantee of success. Yurts for holiday let use are achievable and gypsy caravans/shepards huts are becoming more acceptable but only for increasing tourism and only if you can put forward a good business case. I've tried for the odd temporary permission for static caravans and the like in fields but you'd never get anything long term. Those jobs invariably get handed over to specialist planning lawyers with the associated costs involved with that which would probably fund a good deposit on a house. Your best bet would be to buy enough land that you could reasonably start a business on there that would lead to you needing to be on site to manage it full time. Probably cheaper to buy a house in the first place though.

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