Mobile homes have come a long way and evolved a lot since their debut in the 1970s. Today, they’re more sophisticated than their ancestors which makes them very desirable for people who are always on the road. If you are interested in getting one for yourself, one of the things that you have to consider is where you will park it when it’s not in use.
Rules, regulations, and laws regarding mobile homes kept up with the increasing demand due to the housing crisis. Parking a mobile home in your backyard has a legal element that you shouldn’t ignore. Even when you own the land, think twice before putting a mobile home in your backyard.
Continue reading this article to know if you can put a mobile home in your backyard depending on the laws of the state that you live in.
Putting a Mobile Home in Your Backyard by States
Mobile homes have become an affordable choice for growing single families looking for more space. It’s also a great option for youth starting their independent life, away from their parent’s homes. But installing a mobile home in your backyard is a legal battle because you’re altering the land that’s under the state’s jurisdiction.
The state is responsible for the safety of everyone living on the land, including yours. Thus, you’ll find many legal limits to how, what, and when you can have a mobile home in your backyard.
There’s a hierarchy of how these rules are applied, from the federal level to your local government. The umbrella term to describe these rules is “zoning ordinance.”
Zoning is concerned with land management so everyone can live safely and happily under the rule of law. It enforces the residential nature of every “zone” in the state. And since there are different geographical and topographical considerations, the rules vary even within the same state.
Each state has its own zoning rules, but they generally follow the guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To put a mobile home in your backyard, you must comply with your county’s or city’s rules.
Ignoring the rules may lead to substantial fines and even prevent you from using your mobile home. So, if you’re going to put a mobile home in your backyard, you better follow the law. Otherwise, you might want to live away from civilization.
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Rules and Laws Regarding Mobile Homes per State
The purpose of this guide is to explain your state’s rules regarding mobile homes. It’ll give you a broader picture. You still have to do some research by contacting the zoning department in your county to get the specific rules that apply to your situation. Doing so will prevent any complications arising from the illegal use of your mobile home.
If your state isn’t on the list, try Googling “zoning manufactured homes [your state]” before settling your mobile home in your backyard.
Meet the Manufactured Housing Division (MHD) at the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH). It is the government agency responsible for mobile home matters.
The MHD will regulate your mobile home backyard installation on your privately owned land. The installers of your mobile home must be licensed with the ADOH. After the installation, the MHD will run an inspection.
By large, the soil of your backyard will play the biggest part when installing your mobile home. It must meet the state’s requirements.
In Arizona, the tax formula applied to your mobile home depends on its use. If your mobile home is permanent, you’ll pay taxes on the whole property at the real estate tax rate. However, if you plan to move it, the personal property tax rate may apply.
You’re also responsible for obtaining all permits and getting installation inspections. You can apply for the permits online through your county’s designated website.
The laws in California are strict about the quality of manufactured housing. While it’s possible to put a mobile home in your backyard, you’ll be subject to lots of inspections. When you’re building the mobile home yourself, you must provide adequate evidence that it meets the safety requirements.
The purpose of your mobile home is also vital. Residential mobile homes face fewer restrictions than commercial uses, for instance.
A professional installer will make the process easier since they’ll ensure your mobile home meets all the requirements.
If you install your manufactured home for storage uses and later decide to convert it into a residential home, you’ll also need to have permission since the laws ensure the highest safety standards for residential use.
Mobile homes in Colorado don’t have a clear definition. Depending on your use of yours, it might be illegal to put a mobile home in your backyard. For example, renting a mobile home is most likely illegal. You can’t use it as a permanent dwelling outside your backyard either.
The laws in Colorado consider mobile homes as recreational vehicles. Therefore, your local zoning government agency will treat it as such. That way, it might be legal to use your mobile home as a home office.
Furthermore, you may not put your manufactured home in your backyard unless you’re in a permitted zone.
Expect the usual drainage, fire protection, and garbage disposal inspections. As with other states, you may not get permission to install water pipes, connect electricity, and other utilities without a permit.
Like in other states, to install a mobile home in your backyard, you must comply with different levels of laws. In Florida, your backyard mobile home must comply with federal, state, and local laws.
To place a mobile home in your backyard in Florida, you need a permit and to meet the size requirements set by your local government. In some areas, the building materials of your mobile home must meet specific standards as well. Your mobile home will also have to meet layout lot and street width requirements.
After you install your mobile home in your backyard permanently, you’ll need to declare it as real property, as per the laws in Florida. You can do that through the Property Appraiser’s Office and get a Real Property (RP) insignia.
Meanwhile, if you’re using your mobile home as an “extra room,” you may not need to obtain a permit. However, always consult your concerned zoning department before installing a mobile home in your backyard.
According to the State of Idaho Division of Building Safety, you can put a mobile home in your backyard with a minimum setback of six feet. There are other legal requirements regarding backyard space, traffic obstruction, and access to public streets.
Your mobile home must also conform to single-family residence rules. Meaning, you can’t rent, sell, or use it as a store.
You must also remove any attached wheels after permanent installation on a dedicated foundation. Your mobile home must also comply with the requirements of real property, as your county sees fit.
You’ll need a permit to add utilities like plumbing, electricity, and gas. You may also need a permit for upgrading, renovating, or adding accessories to your mobile home.
Finally, officials must review and approve your mobile home to determine its safety before you can start using it.
It’s not possible to put a mobile home in your backyard in Montana. These buildings are considered as an “unsafe structure” that poses safety threats to you.
Installing a mobile home in your backyard in Montana is considered a misdemeanor that can get you in jail for six months, get you to pay a $500 fine, or both.
If you want a mobile home in Montana, you can buy vacant land and install one there, or you may buy/rent one in a licensed mobile home park.
Alternatively, you can convert your land into a townhouse and install several mobile homes. But even then, your property must be in the appropriate zone.
Otherwise, it’s not worth breaking the law or trying to find a loophole.
As a last resort, you may want to get involved in social activism. The tiny house movement is already gaining momentum in Montana, and you can work with others to change the laws. Otherwise, you may just wait for the laws to change.
New York has different zoning laws for each city, town, and village. So, the rules for installing a mobile home in your backyard depend on where you live.
If you live in a single-family or light industrial zone, you may install a 400 sq. ft. mobile home in your backyard. Like in some states, you can install it as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). It’ll act as an addition to your property with a permanent foundation. It might be costly later on when you want to move your mobile home, though.
Besides, some restrictions might prevent you from having a mobile home if your backyard is small.
Other than that, you may want to look at your local laws to determine whether or not you’re in the appropriate zone for building a mobile home.
When you install a mobile home in your backyard in North Carolina, you pay property taxes based on the county deed — provided that you live in an area where it’s legal to have a mobile home in your backyard.
You can also install a mobile home on your farm for medical purposes, like for taking care of a family member with a contagious disease. Mobile homes are also good for laundry, recreation, and meetings.
Although, your backyard must be at least 2 acres to install a mobile home. It must also be located at least 30 feet away from your primary home.
Besides, you must install your mobile home on a permanent foundation surrounded by at least 180 square feet of space.
Last but not least, you must have a walkway between your home and mobile home.
In Nevada, it’s best to get an RV-style mobile home for your backyard. However, you must follow the rules of storing a recreational vehicle or trailer in your backyard.
You must pave your backyard with at least two inches thick asphalt, concrete, or gravel. Alternatively, the surface must be made of decomposed granite. The backyard must be wide enough to contain the RV as well.
In that case, you can’t connect it to your house and can’t install any utilities in it. Besides, you can’t use it for residential purposes either.
On the bright side, you can drive it to an RV park and join the community.
However, setting up a mobile home in your backyard is illegal. You must settle it in a licensed mobile home park.
Before you put a mobile home in your backyard in Oregon, you’ll need to obtain the necessary permits from your local authorities. You’ll first need a building permit. And you’ll need more permits if you want to install utilities, like plumbing, electricity, and water.
The Oregon Manufactured Dwelling Installation Specialty Code regulates mobile homes, so you might want to take a look at it. According to the law, a licensed installer must install the mobile home in your backyard with a license from the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.
When you’re putting a mobile home in your backyard, you get more expenses than the initial price you paid for it. You must prepare to pay for installation and moving expenses as well.
So before doing anything, ask your seller, and make sure they’re familiar with the mobile home regulations in your area.
All cities in Texas determine whether you can install a mobile home in your backyard or not. As a general rule, your mobile home must be approved by the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs (TDHCA) and the HUD.
First of all, you must apply for a Notice of Installation (Form T) through the TDHCA branch in your city before you install your mobile home. That permit won’t exclude you from zoning laws as they’ll apply regardless of your Form T.
After installation, you have to report to the TDHCA within seven days. If you’re installing a sizable mobile home, an additional fee may be required.
In addition to notifying the TDHCA about the installation, the installer must also get design approval from the TDHCA.
Sleeping under the stars is fantastic and can get you a little closer to nature, but how much closer will it get you to jail? Jokes aside, plenty of people wonder about the legality of sleeping in outdoor areas. Although spending the night in public areas is obviously illegal, can you legally sleep in your own backyard? Read our article to find out.
Before You Put a Mobile Home in Your Backyard
There’s a massive market for used mobile homes, where you can get a mobile home for under $2,000. You can also find mobile homes for rent under $500, but there’s an important distinction to make.
Mobile homes made before 1976 will usually be in less than optimal condition. If you’re getting one of those, make sure they meet the legal requirements to avoid undue hardships.
Also, mobile homes made after 1976 are called “manufactured homes.” So, know the difference. When you’re making this shift, it’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Mobile homes or manufactured homes are very attractive for different kinds of people because of their versatility. They are perfect for families who are on the road a lot, for individuals who are looking for more space in their property for a cheap price, and even teenagers and young adults who are preparing for a life of independence.
Before getting a mobile home, make sure to familiarize yourself with your local laws and regulations regarding these structures to avoid unnecessary fines and violations. As you have read in this article, each state has varying laws when it comes to mobile homes. So before you put your mobile home in your backyard, do your research to make sure that what you are doing is allowed in your city or state.