Limits of Vehicular Living in Los Angeles

Recently, the City Council adopted new restrictions on living in one’s car or RV. Below is a brief history and summary of how and why the City enacted this law.

LA Municipal Code 85.02 had originally prohibited the use of all City Streets and public parking lots for “habitation.” The ban on sleeping in vehicles on City streets was ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit in the case Desertain v. City of Los Angeles in July 2014. The City Attorney advised LAPD to discontinue enforcement, however, the law remained on the books.

Over the last two years, the City Council worked with the City Attorney’s Office and LAPD to draft a new ordinance that was constitutional and enforceable to prevent people from living in their vehicles on residential streets and in sensitive areas such as by schools. Prohibiting all streets was not a legal option and without the new law, habitation would continue to be allowed everywhere including residential areas. The new law is not a solution for homelessness, it is merely a protection for residential neighborhoods. The Council also adopted a comprehensive plan to combat homelessness.

In November 2016, the council adopted the new constitutional version of 85.02 that,

  • A. Prohibits vehicular living 9pm - 6am on residential streets
  • B. Prohibits vehicular living any time within a one block radius of a park or a licensed school, pre-school or daycare
  • C. Follows current parking restrictions so vehicular living is not allowed in locations with time limits or other posted parking limitations
  • D. Sunsets on July 1, 2018 unless extended by the City Council so City officials can see if it is working as intended and amend appropriately

To see a map of the vehicular living restrictions, click here


Frequently Asked Question about Vehicular Living Limitations

Can people live in a vehicle in front of my home or business?

The ordinance was created with the intention to remove overnight vehicle dwelling in residential areas between the hours of 9 PM to 6 AM. Before this ordinance passed it was perfectly legal for vehicles to park in any area overnight, so nothing has changed with regards to parking in commercial areas, but residential neighborhoods are now restricted.

When does the law go into effect?

This law went into effect on February 6th, 2017, and the LAPD is now able to tell homeless individuals and families where they may and may not park overnight.

What do I do if vehicles are causing problems on my street with nuisances or parking?

If it is an emergency always call 911, but if you see something suspicious please call LAPD non-emergency number 1 (877) ASK-LAPD or my district office at (818) 774-4330.

Did the City Council legalize homeless encampments?

NO, this new law is not a City sanctioned homeless encampment ordinance, contrary to misinformation being spread by some individuals.  It does not create encampments, nor sanction them in any way. In fact, without it people would be allowed to sleep in their vehicles in front of single family homes in residential neighborhoods.

Why is homelessness being tolerated on our streets and sidewalks?

It is not illegal to be homeless. There is legal precedent that clearly establishes this. The City Council has worked hard to find creative solutions to get people off the streets and help them lead productive lives; this includes the Comprehensive Homeless Strategy and drafting the successful Measure HHH. The solution involves all levels of government, community and non-profits.