Mobile Homes

August 12, 2023


I am a judgment broker that writes often. To most people, living in a mobile home does not sound very appealing. Because certain places have often had natural disasters; a slogan often heard is “God hates mobile homes”. Around 1976, the government stepped in, and the Department of Housing mandated new laws concerning the manufacture of mobile homes.

History has proven that hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods have destroyed certain mobile homes. However, the nature of the media is that it sometimes tends to exaggerate the risks. My SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess) is far less than 2% of mobile home occupants ever had such severe problems, and most mobile homes are installed in places with no record of recent floods or tornadoes.

Even with the warnings, and problems in certain areas in a few states, many people find that living in mobile homes is much better than living in a cheap thin-walled apartment or condo, or renting a room in a house, or sharing an apartment.

Mobile homes, whether rented or purchased, often provide a unique level of privacy and quietness, usually for the lowest total cost. Some mobile homes are built better than some conventionally-built houses. Some are bigger and nicer than many conventional homes.

Long ago, all modular homes and manufactured homes were called mobile homes, because they all had axles and wheels. In 1976, all mobile housing products that could be converted to real estate, was considered to be a manufactured home. For this article, mobiles home means either an installed mobile, modular, or a pre-manufactured home.

Whether a manufactured/mobile/modular home can be converted to real estate, depends on whether everything meets construction-related and all other laws. However, such conversions must usually be installed in a designated park.

In most cities, especially those with a large population, you cannot legally install mobiles on just any single-family lot. One reason is because existing and established neighborhoods would not want this. Of course, perhaps such laws are probably not 100% effective or complied with 100%.

Where new mobile installations are permitted, people either finance or buy them; and have them towed to a parcel of land with a permanently secured foundation. Then, the land use must get approved. Then, the mobile’s wheels and axles are taken off, the necessary fees and paperwork is sent to the county, and then it will be considered a real property.

Many mobiles are installed in rented park spaces, and the resident pays their rent every month; although some are installed on land owned by the resident themselves and/or their bank. Some people pay to rent both the mobile and the land it sits on; as an attractive alternative to a cheap apartment or some other shared housing situation.

Building codes usually do not classify mobiles as “buildings”. Instead, they are often defined under the Health and Safety Codes, in California, see http://law.onecle.com/california/health/18007.html.

Certain communities, with plenty of available spare land, may be under pressure to meet new housing unit targets, so some more semi-rural communities may start allowing more mobile home parks. Of course, certain other places have laws that do not allow even a parked recreational vehicle, to be visible from the street.

As with conventional real estate, some mobiles (usually installed on land that the seller owns) can be sold. Usually, only mobiles made after 1976 can qualify for conventional funding; and some States require an even newer manufacture date.

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