Overnight parking of recreational vehicles in all public parking lots of Maine will be illegal if pending legislation passes the Maine Legislature.
LD114/HP98 would make it a civil offense to park an RV overnight on any public parking lot in the state, according to the rvnewsservice.com
The text of the bill reads, in part:
“A person may not park or occupy a recreational vehicle, as defined in Title 10, section 1432, subsection 18, in a commercial parking facility overnight. For purposes of this section, ‘commercial parking facility’ means a parking structure or area open to members of the public for the purposes of parking their vehicles while patronizing one or more commercial establishments, but does not include a mobile home park or recreational vehicle park allowed by a municipality or a camping area licensed by the department. A person who violates the provisions of this section commits a civil violation subject to a fine of no more than $100, which must be suspended for the first violation and may be suspended for subsequent violations.”
Due to the way this is worded, these restrictions will apply to any publicly accessible parking lot including those at casinos, truck stops, Wal-Marts (popular overnight stops for many RVers) and even dirt or gravel areas commonly used by truckers and RVers.
This is not the first time that RVers have been faced with such a challenge. Several years ago, similar legislation was introduced in Montana and Nevada. Due to the protests from RVers all over the country, the attempts to ban RV parking failed.
Typically, RVers make significant contributions financially to places that welcome them and, many times, will return to an area for an extended stay if they have been received in a friendly manner. Signs banning RVs from parking areas do not appear very friendly to an RVer who may simply be looking for a quiet place to sleep and have no need for a full-service RV park.
“In most cases there is a huge uproar from the RV community any time this type of legislation is proposed,” said Chuck Woodbury, editor of RVtravel.com. “I suspect that Maine lawmakers will back off this time. RVers value their freedom to stay where they want, as long as they are welcomed. Maine will be perceived as RV-unfriendly if this should pass, and it will likely cost the state significant tourism dollars.”
Nearly 28% of the more than 2,100 RV enthusiasts who answered the survey reported they owed more on their RVs than what they could sell them for. “It’s not uncommon for these RVers to be forced to dig deep into their pockets to unload their vehicle,” said Chuck Woodbury, editor of Edmonds, Wash.-based RVtravel.com and host of the Better Business Bureau DVD Buying a Recreational Vehicle.
Woodbury and other RV experts say there are many reasons why RVers get in trouble with their loans.
“They buy an RV with little or no money down and stretch their payments over too many years,” said Charles Davis of RVfinancing.com. Davis said that in 2008, nearly all the RV loans of $100,000 or more his company arranged were for 15 or 20 years.
Davis explained that the minute an RV buyer leaves a dealer’s lot, his or her new RV becomes a used vehicle and generally drops about 20% in value from its selling price.
RVers who finance their vehicles at significantly lower rates than offered by most other lenders are also asking for trouble. “The RV dealer will simply add thousands of dollars to the RV’s selling price to offset the low interest rate, in effect doing what’s known as a buy down or buying down the rate,” explained Davis.
“A few years ago a guy who I had advised the year before not to take advantage of a dealer’s low financing rate came back to me at an RV show. He asked me to tell him how badly he was upside down in his RV loan. I told him about $50,000 on the amount he had borrowed.”
The problem gets worse when such an RVer trades in his RV to buy another one.
Davis said he was not surprised by the results of the RVtravel.com survey. “People should always establish an equity in a new vehicle, whatever they buy,” he said. “That means making at least a 20% down payment.”
Woodbury said it’s easy to avoid getting upside down in an RV loan. “Buy an RV that you can afford, make a significant down payment and pay off the loan in the time you expect to own it. An RV is a depreciating asset. If you don’t get equity in it right up front, you’re asking for trouble.”