Is it Legal in Massachusetts to Live in a Tent?
During my time in radio in the southern Berkshires, I've had many guests on the air that have discussed the housing issue that we're facing throughout Berkshire County. All too often whether it's speaking with the folks from Construct Inc. or other local Berkshire County organizations, I'll hear about people that cannot afford to live here. In addition, the wait list for affordable housing is very long and sometimes unrealistic. In the meantime, some folks are finding ways to keep their heads above water by staying in some sort of shelter.
What are People Doing to Find Shelter in the Berkshires and Massachusetts?
Some of the methods people are using to remain sheltered throughout the Berkshires until they can move into affordable housing include doubling up with other people and/or families or moving from dwelling to dwelling for a temporary amount of time which is also known as couch surfing. Others may have a home or an apartment but it's outside of the Berkshires, thus some individuals may have to drive 30-45 minutes to come to work in the Berkshires. In some cases, if these folks are too tired or are working a unique shift, they sleep in their car overnight.
Another Way Some Berkshire Residents Have Found Temporary Shelter is Via Tent
In some of the past radio interviews that I have conducted regarding the housing crisis, I have been told that some struggling individuals will even live in a tent for a while. Though that may be sustainable at first however it would definitely be rough in the winter. Other folks who already own land may choose or want to live in a tent on their own property and some folks just want to live off the grid altogether.
Is it Legal to Live in a Tent in Massachusetts?
That's a tricky one. According to Outdoor Happens it is illegal for individuals to live in tents (at least on their own land), or other items not deemed suitable for human dwelling. You will need either a structure with a building permit or possess a camping permit. This law isn't just for the State of Massachusetts but for the entire United States.
It May Not be Totally Illegal Though...Keep Reading
Outdoor Happens also reports that it may be possible in some states to acquire a temporary camping permit that you could renew every month or year. There are some cases where you can legally live in a tent in the woods but there are some hoops that you may have to jump through. You can check out all of those conditions by going here.
If you are planning on living in a tent (no matter what length of time) the best bet is to do your research and see what the regulations are in your state. Doing your homework will give you a better chance of not being burned when it comes time to pound in the tent poles.