Tips on Placing Manufactured Home on Land You Own

Placing your new manufactured home on land you own, or intend to buy, allows you a certain amount of freedom both in the location of the land itself and in the location of your home on the land. However, if you plan to place a manufactured home on private property, there are several things you need to know and consider before you can site your home.

The following information is intended to familiarize you with the issues, regulations, and building codes that control private placement of manufactured housing.

State Regulations and Restrictions

Many of the states have passed legislation over the last few years that make it illegal for any city or county to exclude a residential-designed manufactured home from any residential district within the state.  A residential-design manufactured home means  “a manufactured home on a permanent foundation which has minimum square footage requirements.”  This is sometimes meant to exclude single-wide manufactured homes. Often state regulations stipulate that roofing material, siding material, and roof pitch on a manufactured be of the type and materials that are customarily used on site-built homes.

Manufactured housing is required by federal law to be built to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards. Both state and federal law prohibits any other local construction standard for manufactured housing.  However, local governments can (and often do) regulate the installation of manufactured homes.  Check with your city or county code enforcement office on installation standards. In most cities and counties, a building permit is required to place a home, and a fee is charged for the permit. Also, licensed craftsmen may be required at an additional expense

Check Your Local Zoning Regulations

Before you site a manufactured home on private property, make sure you understand the local zoning requirements of your city and county. Zoning information is available throughout a city and/or county land use and planning office.  It is best to call and make an appointment with the zoning administrator to discuss your plans and get copies of ordinances and regulations that affect single-family placement. Typically, zoning regulations deal with the use, location (including flood plan), size, shape, height, and setbacks required for a structure. Sometimes zoning regulations address the architectural features of a structure as well.

Your local manufactured home retailer (also known as mobile home dealer) will be familiar with the rules and regulations of the placement and permit requirements in your property location and will include the cost of the permits and other local fees within your total sales price (including the home installation).

In rare instances such as California, there are sometimes fees or assessments that must be paid prior to receiving a permit for placement of any home on private property. In the state of California, there are developer fees and school fees that can cost a few thousand dollars! These are usually when your home is placed in an “own your own” subdivision, but also can apply to individual property placements.

Restrictive Covenants

Private restrictive covenants are limitations in property deeds that control how you use the land. Many residential subdivisions and some rural properties have private restrictive covenants that go beyond public zoning requirements. Therefore, you should always check to see if the land you are interested in has covenants before you purchase a lot.  Covenants may be available from the current property owners, the subdivision homeowner’s association (if one exists), and are recorded at the Register of Deeds office and are available to look at if you have a legal description of the property.

A final note: The “hurdles” sometimes required in obtaining government authority to place a manufactured home on your own property does not differ a great deal from the same routine as if you were attempting to build a so-called conventional home on the property.  The big difference is that you are placing a manufactured home on the property that is equal or superior to a site built, in every respect, and will cost you 20 to 30% less than that site built. And, of course, your occupancy will happen several months sooner.

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