Mobile Home Education
Understanding: Mobile homes
Mobile homes (or manufactured homes) are housing units built in factories, rather than on site, and then taken to the place where they will be occupied. They are usually transported by semi-
The term "manufactured home" specifically refers to a home built entirely in a protected environment under a federal code set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Contrary to popular belief, manufactured homes are not mobile homes. The term "mobile home" describes factory-
These houses are usually placed in one location, often a rented lot, and left there permanently. However, they do retain the ability to be moved, as this is a requirement in many areas. Behind the cosmetic work fitted at installation to hide the base, there are strong trailer frames, axles, wheels and tow-
Manufactured homes are not large recreational vehicles. The latter are more properly called travel trailers, motor homes or RVs, and they are usually parked at facilities called trailer parks, trailer courts, or RV parks for short terms.
The two major forms of manufactured homes are single-
In the U.S., manufactured homes are regulated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), via the Federal National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974. It is this national regulation that has allowed many manufacturers to distribute nationwide, since they are immune to the jurisdiction of local building authorities. By contrast, producers of modular homes must abide by state and local building codes. There are, however, windzones adopted by HUD that manufactured home builders must follow. For example, state-
Typical manufactured home of the 1960s-
This form of housing goes back to the early years of automobiles and motorized highway travel. It was derived from the travel trailer, a small unit with permanently attached wheels often used for camping. Larger units intended to be used as dwellings for several months or more in one location came to be known as house trailers.
The original focus of this form of housing was its mobility. Units were initially marketed primarily to people whose lifestyle required mobility. However, beginning in the 1950s, mobile homes began to be marketed primarily as an inexpensive form of housing designed to be set up and left in a location for long periods of time, or even permanently installed with a masonry foundation. Previously, units had been eight feet or less in width, but in 1956, the introduction of the 10-
Many people who could not afford a traditional site-
A modern "triple wide" manufactured home.
The rise of the manufactured home brought with it complications the legal system was not prepared to handle. Originally, manufactured homes tended to be taxed as vehicles rather than real estate, which resulted in very low property tax rates for their inhabitants. This led local governments to reclassify them for taxation purposes.
However, even with this change, rapid depreciation often resulted in manufactured home occupants paying far less in property taxes than had been anticipated and budgeted. The ability to move many manufactured homes rapidly into a relatively small area resulted in strains to the infrastructure and governmental services of the affected areas, such as inadequate water pressure and sewage disposal, and highway congestion. This led jurisdictions to begin placing limitations on the size and density of developments.
As noted above, early manufactured homes, even those that were well-
This combination of factors has led most jurisdictions to place zoning regulations on the areas in which manufactured homes are placed, and limitations on the number and density of manufactured homes permitted on any given site. Other restrictions, such as minimum size requirements, limitations on exterior colors and finishes, and foundation mandates have also been enacted. There are many jurisdictions that will not allow the placement of any additional manufactured homes. Others have strongly limited or forbidden all single-
Apart from all the practical issues described above, there is also the constant discussion about legal fixtures and chattels -
Manufactured home parks
In the past, manufactured home parks have, often with legitimate reason, been thought of as substandard. With more modern manufactured home parks however, this is not the case. Most have regulations concerning the size and styles of homes permitted, and many are somewhat similar to more traditional subdivision developments. In some of the more satisfactory parks, all of the homes are owned by the individual occupants. Only the spaces or pads are rented, not the units themselves. Developments in which the buyer purchases both the home and the lot are almost indistinguishable from traditional subdivisions. In lower-
Newer manufactured homes, particularly double-
Additionally, modern manufactured homes tend to be built from materials similar to those used in site-
The number of double-
Manufactured homes are often confused with but are not identical to modular homes. Modular homes are transported on flatbed trucks rather than being towed, and lack axles and an automotive-
Both manufactured homes and modular homes are commonly referred to as manufactured housing, although its technical use is restricted to a class of homes regulated by the Federal National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
Most zoning restrictions on manufactured homes have been found to be inapplicable or only applicable to modular homes. This occurs often after considerable litigation on the topic by affected jurisdictions and by plaintiffs failing to ascertain the difference. Most modern modular homes, once fully assembled, are indistinguishable from site-
The traditional manufactured home industry would seem to have a bright future as well. As the demand for housing continues to grow, the price of housing continues to increase rapidly. The quality and features of manufactured homes has led to greater acceptance by a growing segment of the marketplace. Additionally, insurers and lenders are now more likely to treat the higher-
Manufactured homes and tornados
Mobile home struck by tornado
In the American Midwest, manufactured homes are sometimes facetiously referred to as "Tornado Magnets" or "Tornado Bait" due to the perception that tornados strike them more frequently than other structures. Tornados do not actually strike manufactured homes any more or less frequently than any other type of structure. However, while an F1 tornado might cause minor damage to a site-
Vacant caravillas in Nitzan
In 2005, a neighborhood of about 500 manufactured homes was established in Nitzan. This was a temporary community set up north of Ashkelon, Israel, to house those evacuated from their homes in Gush Katif as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan.
These manufactured homes were named caravillas (Hebrew: קרווילה), which is the combination of the words caravan, and villa. The building is composed of several prefabricated sections, similar to those of a manufactured home, that are joined on a foundation. This is akin to the Israeli concept of a villa, or Single-
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