LA councilwoman looking to tackle 'van lords', tighten RV sales

If you’ve seen an increase of RV’s parked in neighborhoods across Los Angeles, you're not imagining it. 

Citing safety concerns, Los Angeles Councilwoman Traci Park presented a motion aimed at tightening regulations on RV sales and leasing in public rights-of-way. 

She says the motion is in response to the emerging trend of 'van-lords', people who rent RVs to individuals experiencing homelessness.

So-called RV landlords are snapping up broken RVs the city sometimes confiscates and sells. The buyers are then turning them around, parking them on city streets, and renting them out to the homeless.

"These practices capitalize on the vulnerability of our homeless community, reduce available parking, and create significant life safety issues," Park said. 

With city officials not renewing the city code restricting vehicle dwelling parking, Park now says, "we have to get creative about dealing with the issue"

She is asking for an amendment to Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) Section 80.73.1, which currently prohibits reserving any street, parking space or other public space for business activities related to new and used vehicles. The municipal code does not explicitly cover RVs.


Park's proposed amendment seeks to include RVs in the type of vehicles prohibited from conducting business in public rights-of-way and affirm RV lessors’ responsibility to adhere to state codes.

"The motion would seek to ensure that the lease or rental of RVs is regulated" she explains. 

Those leasing the vehicles have to adhere to state codes ensuring safety standards for the rentals. So it doesn’t stop people from renting RVs and parking them in most public areas, it just regulates those renting them, so they are safer for those living in and around them.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's 2022 Point-In-Time Count reported that approximately 6,500 individuals are living in 4,000 RVs across the city, a 40% increase since 2018. 

In LA, RVs and campers are required to park more than a block or 500 feet away from schools, preschools, day cares or parks from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but enforcement has been reduced as the city concentrates on housing as a first option and less on enforcing codes that could be perceived as criminalizing the homeless.