Help! HOA want's me to get rid of my "Recreational Vehicle"

erik.wahlstrom

Active member
Title says is all. I bought a 2019 Crew van about a month ago. Today a got a nasty gram from my HOA saying "sprinters vans are considered recreational vehicles and it needs to be removed"! Has anyone else run into this?
  • I'm in WA state
  • The van is registered as a passenger vehicle
  • Looking at the WA DOL web site they have 3 classifications of RV.
    1. Trailer - Clearly not
    2. Camper - These attach to trucks
    3. Motorhome
A motorhome is defined on the website as:
A vehicle designed, reconstructed, or permanently altered to provide facilities for human habitations. This means there must be a lodging with cooking or sewage disposal enclosed within a solid body shell. (A camper or unit constructed separately and affixed to a vehicle does not qualify as a motor home.)​
At least right now it's a stock crew so none of that applies.

The only thing in our CC&R relating to RV's is:
Screen Shot 2020-06-25 at 6.16.46 PM.png

I'd love any help from folks (or lawyers) who've run into similar issues. Thanks.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder

BrennWagon

He’s just this guy, you know?
Uneducated Opinion:
If you use it as a daily driver they shouldn’t have a legal leg to stand on. If it’s not a primary vehicle, you’ll probably need to find somewhere to store it to avoid unpleasantness. We have an HOA where I live and it’s obnoxious but they only have me a hard time about my Sprinter when I first got it.
 

Shawn182

Active member
The devil is in the details of the HOA rules. Based on what you posted you can tell them to go pound sand based on your van's registration. They can't take enforcement action on rules that do not exist.

May be worth a $250 consolation with a a layer to draw up a letter if you think you are going to go to battle to set the tone right outta the gate.

Hate HOAs with a passion.
 
Sounds like you have a good argument, you do not meet the requirements of “RV” per your hoa wording. The state of Washington doesn’t feel you meet it either. The hang up would be if you’re a dually I guess as that fits into 3/4
 

JonnyBoats

Member
Interesting wording - "sprinters vans are considered recreational vehicles..." Wonder if a Ford Transit would be considered an RV? How about a Chrysler minivan?

I have no idea what your HOA is like, I know some can be extremely difficult to deal with :-( Have you tried talking to them? If there is any hope that they might be reasonable, then talking may be a good first step. You can always spend money on a lawyer later on if that becomes necessary.
 

GLJones

Active member
We went through this with our 170 Passenger van. Our HOA covenants say no RVs, Boats, etc.... Nothing about Vans or cargo vans. They do say no commercial vehicles. They never define any of these terms, so, state law defines them. My 170 is registered as a passenger van, privately owned...so they couldn't do crap. I had my cousin write them a letter about it...she is the Condo/HOA Arbiter for the State of Florida in Tallahassee. She wrote the legal opinions all courts in Florida use. Game, Set, Match.
May be different in your state, but if your HOA documents do not define the terms, your state laws will define them. Your van is NOT an RV so that won't work for them. Doesn't mean they can't cost you money defending yourself...but in some states, you can have the court award you attorney and court fees if you win.
 

erik.wahlstrom

Active member
Interesting wording - "sprinters vans are considered recreational vehicles..." Wonder if a Ford Transit would be considered an RV? How about a Chrysler minivan?

I have no idea what your HOA is like, I know some can be extremely difficult to deal with :-( Have you tried talking to them? If there is any hope that they might be reasonable, then talking may be a good first step. You can always spend money on a lawyer later on if that becomes necessary.
Yes, it's always best to start assuming people will be reasonable. I'm just going to gather a bunch of intel before responding. Based on the wording of the letter it could easily be that someone complained to the HOA and the employee just took the word of the complainer w/o doing any analysis.

Ironically, I got the letter today, the same day I got my Adventure Wagon kit to start upgrading the interior. I think the kit will go uninstalled for a few weeks here,
 

elemental

Dis member
Ironically, I got the letter today, the same day I got my Adventure Wagon kit to start upgrading the interior. I think the kit will go uninstalled for a few weeks here,
The HOA of the area in which I reside also has a prohibition on parking RVs in driveways. I park my Sprinter 170" crew van in my driveway. No complaints about the van so far. When I had a pop-up camper and left it outside of my garage for about a month (after a camping trip) they sent someone to ask me when I was going to get it put away....

My van has the Adventure Wagon interior - nothing RV about that. You are insulating and finishing the interior of your van, adding some ventilation, etc. Mine Sprinter is a crew van too, and I use it as a daily driver, as a cargo van, as a passenger van (we drive robotics teams around to competitions), and I take it when I go camping, as does anyone with an SUV or minivan with a tent or trailer. Most of those uses are not things you can do with an RV, so the fact that you sometimes go camping in it doesn't magically turn it into an RV. Since yours doesn't meet the description of the other prohibited vehicles either, I don't think they (ultimately) have a leg to stand on. But... people in HOAs can be real pissants.

I deliberately bought the crew van, and I deliberately chose not do do a permanent live-in conversion with built-in galley, potty, shower, etc. All so I could argue that it wasn't an RV if it came to that. Someone can have the opinion that "a Sprinter is an RV" but that doesn't make it so.
 

MTGJR1

Active member
When I first moved to this city (in Illinois) I learned by nasty-gram that I couldn't park my popup in the driveway, no HOA, city ordinance. Before investing in Sprinter, I spent a bit of time making sure it would not be considered an RV. The city had a very loose definition of what an RV is, so I worked with them to adopt the State of Illinois definition. It probably helped that the City Planner was a neighbor and friend.

My design is intentional to not be an RV. I also purchased a Crew so I can put passenger plates on it. Also not doing any mods until a few neighborhood a-holes have a chance to get used to seeing it sitting in the driveway and complain.
 

Joshill

New member
Also check the local county & state by-laws regarding HOAs and the validity of the agreements regarding voting requirements. Most have to be updated and require 3/4 residents to vote in order to keep the current restrictions in place. Also take pictures of other "violations" in the neighborhood that are not being enforced, especially other recreational or commercial vehicles regularly parked.
If nothing else, run for a position on the HOA and lobby to change the rules.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Far be it from me to defend an HOA, but:
The document you post forbids "trucks greater than 3/4 ton". Doesn't your Sprinter fit that description?
It is true that it sort of backhandedly half-defines this as a "recreational vehicle", but by my reading this is irrelevant. Looks to me that such trucks are directly prohibited, whether you agree that they are RVs or not.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
The quoting of the phrase "Recreational Vehicle" kind'a puts it into the "i know it when i see it" class of object.
(ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it )

When we were house-shopping 25 years ago, it only took the reading of one HOA to cause us to completely bypass those neighborhoods in our searches.

--dick
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
When we were house-shopping 25 years ago, it only took the reading of one HOA to cause us to completely bypass those neighborhoods in our searches.
When we were shopping for a building lot in a new development in a then-inexperienced semi-rural township, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the covenants did not provide for an HOA. It turned out to be an oversight, which my new neighbors assumed could be easily corrected. When this was attempted, we said "sorry, do what you want, but leave us out". Turned out that there was no way this could be changed without unanimous consent, which we made clear wasn't going to happen. So, at my suggestion, we created a "Garden Club" instead, which is a powerless entity that takes voluntary contributions to maintain the public areas. This has worked just fine for 30 years now.
 
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erik.wahlstrom

Active member
That i what I'm afraid of. However the state at least defines three classes of RV. IMHO if my van is an RV then any passenger van is an RV.
 

Shawn182

Active member
Far be it from me to defend an HOA, but:
The document you post forbids "trucks greater than 3/4 ton". Doesn't your Sprinter fit that description?
It is true that it sort of backhandedly half-defines this as a "recreational vehicle", but by my reading this is irrelevant. Looks to me that such trucks are directly prohibited, whether you agree that they are RVs or not.
Rules and regulations are bound by the details. It says "trucks"...not "oversized vehicles". While I agree that was the intent, you can't penalize someone for what they feel about an interpretation. Cases are won and lost on placement of commas in regulations.
 

OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
No. It’s a 2500 which by convention is a 3/4 ton. The 3500 would be the 1 ton.
2500 or 3500 are just North American model naming and marketing conventions, and do not represent payload capacity.
Your 2500 has a payload 1,705 kg (3,759 lbs). This is 1.85 tons.

Secondly, this discussion is moot as your van will soon be converted to a RV, and you will not have any loop-holes.
 

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