The Florida Bar
  1. Home
  2. For The Public
  3. Consumer Information
  4. Consumer Pamphlet: Buying a Mobile Home

Consumer Pamphlet: Buying a Mobile Home

Buying a Mobile HomeIf you think there might be a mobile home in your future, carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of mobile home living before you invest. While this pamphlet will give you some guidance, you also should speak to people who live or have lived in mobile homes about their experiences

Do Your Homework

Before you buy, take these steps to protect yourself and your investment:

  • Visit the park. Take a look at the park and the mobile home that you would like to buy.
  • Talk to people who live in the park. They will be your future neighbors and have the best knowledge about how the mobile home park operates. If there is a mobile homeowners’ association, talk to the board of directors.
  • Figure out what you are buying. Are you buying the mobile home and the land? Or are you buying the mobile home and renting the lot from the mobile home park owner? Will you have a mortgage? You will have different legal rights in each scenario.
  • Ask about the park rules. Is your pet allowed within the park? Are there certain age restrictions on the residents in the park? What is the process for selling your mobile home in the park in the future?

Check Public Records

Run searches to make sure there are no “red flags.” These searches are generally free.

  • Clerk of Courts. Each county has a Clerk of Courts website where you may access certain public information. Run searches on the park owner and the seller. Check if the park owner regularly files evictions against mobile homeowners, if there are any pending disputes about title, or if there are any other legal issues that would prevent you from purchasing the mobile home.
  • Public records. Run searches on the park owner and the seller in the official public records in the county where you will be buying and/or living to see if there are any legal issues that could prevent you from buying or living in the mobile home. Keep an eye out for “liens” or “judgments.”
  • Code enforcement. Call the local county or city code enforcement office to make sure that the mobile home park and the mobile home do not have serious code enforcement violations or fines pending.
  • Google. Do a quick Google search on the mobile home park owner and seller. Is the mobile home park up for sale? Or has it recently been sold? Are there any other potential problems?
  • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Ask for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the mobile home you are interested in purchasing and call the Florida DHSMV to check the person or company offering the mobile home for sale actually owns the mobile home and title is “clear.” A “clear” title means a title without any potential issues, like debts or questions about who really owns the mobile home.

Check the mobile home park’s rules and regulations

Ask to see the “rules and regulations,” “park prospectus” and mobile homeowners’ association “bylaws,” if any. In addition to Chapter 723, Florida Statutes, these are all documents that govern you and the park owner while you live in the park. Read them carefully and keep copies for your records. If you do not abide by them when living in the park, you could face eviction and/or fines.

Be aware that prior to living in a mobile home park you and everyone you intend to live with must be approved by the mobile home park management. Therefore, it is best to not purchase a mobile home until you receive written approval to live in the mobile home park from the mobile park management for you and everyone in the household.

Shop around

There are many kinds of mobile and manufactured homes. Each has different costs for construction, installation, taxes, and upkeep. You may purchase a new home that will need to be installed in a park, or you may purchase a used mobile home.

Working with Dealers

If you go through a dealer for a new mobile or manufactured home, buy it from a reputable dealer. Keep these things in mind:

  • Ask the dealer for names and addresses of prior customers and contact these people about their experiences.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau in your area and ask about the dealer.
  • Ask about the dealer’s service policy. Will the condition of the home on delivery be guaranteed, and will the dealer service it? If the answers are yes, read your contract and make sure this guarantee is, and all other verbal guarantees are included in writing before you sign.
  • Have knowledge of the state and local laws pertaining to mobile homes. For example, every new mobile home must carry a warranty for at least one year. The manufacturer or dealer is required to correct any substantial defects in materials or work quality that may appear within that first year of your ownership. The manufacturer or dealer must correct these issues within 30 days of receipt of written notification of the claim. An important consideration when purchasing a mobile home is to make sure the model you plan to buy was built to perform in the area in which you wish to live.

Making Changes to the Mobile Home

You may be considering making additions, such as a porch, a storage closet, another room, or larger windows. However, the mobile home park might not allow these changes. Alterations to your mobile home may affect the validity of your warranty. If you have a warranty, it might get canceled if you make alterations. Check the park rules and regulations, state laws, and local ordinances to make sure your alterations are allowed. If they are allowed, make sure you get all necessary permits before you start any work and confirm whether the alterations you intend to make affect any warranties in effect for your mobile home.

What About Hurricanes and Tornadoes?

Make certain your new mobile home is properly installed according to state law and local codes. The state sets installation standards, licensing requirements and remedies for violation in Chapter 320, Florida Statutes. Further, while having property insurance will not prevent a catastrophe, having adequate insurance will make recovering any loss of property easier. Consult with a licensed insurance agent to determine the proper insurance for your needs.

Closing the Deal

Make sure your agreement is in writing. You and the seller (the mobile home park, a dealer, or an individual seller) should always sign a contract that lists, among other things:

  • The price,
  • How you will pay, (avoid making payments in cash without a receipt),
  • Whether there is a warranty, and
  • The consequences for either side not complying with the contract.

You will need a copy of the fully signed contract and it is important to keep this contract for your records. If you pay for your home in full, make sure the seller signs over the title at the same time and gives you the original title. Follow up with the Florida DHSMV to make sure the title is transferred to your name.

Finally, make sure the mobile home park owner gives you written confirmation you and your household members have all been approved to live in the park.

After the Deal

After successfully purchasing your mobile home and moving into the mobile home park, both you and the mobile home park owner have certain rights and obligations. These obligations are detained in Florida Statutes, Sections 723.022 and 723.023.

Know the mobile home park owner’s obligations

The general obligations a mobile home park owner must follow apply to you and your household members approved to live in the mobile home park. The mobile home park owner shall always:

  • Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes.
  • Maintain buildings and improvements in common areas in a good state of repair and maintenance and maintain the common areas in a good state of appearance, safety, and cleanliness.
  • Provide access to the common areas, including buildings and improvements thereto, at all reasonable times for the benefit of the park residents and their guests.
  • Maintain utility connections and systems for which the park owner is responsible in proper operating condition.
  • Comply with properly promulgated park rules and regulations and require other persons on the premises with his or her consent to comply therewith and conduct themselves in a manner that does not unreasonably disturb the park residents or constitute a breach of the peace.

Know your general obligations as a mobile homeowner

The mobile homeowner and all other residents living with the mobile homeowner have general obligations they must follow while living in the mobile home park. The mobile homeowner shall always:

  • Comply with all obligations imposed on mobile homeowners by applicable provisions of building, housing, and health codes, including compliance with all building permits and construction requirements for construction on the mobile home and lot. Note, you as the mobile homeowner are responsible for all fines imposed by the local government for noncompliance with any local codes.
  • Keep the mobile home lot you occupy clean, neat, sanitary, and maintained in compliance with all local codes.
  • Comply with properly announced park rules and regulations and require other persons you have allowed on your premises to comply with such rules and to conduct themselves in a manner that does not unreasonably disturb other residents.
  • Receive written approval from the mobile home park owner before making any exterior modification or addition to the home.
  • If you decide to move your mobile home elsewhere, you must comply with any responsibilities for removing any debris and other property left on the mobile home lot.

Understand lot rent increases

When purchasing a mobile home, it is important to understand the mobile home park may go through changes during your time of ownership. One of these changes may be an increase in the lot rent amount. Florida Statutes, Section 723.037 regulates how mobile home park owners can increase lot rental fees and the specific notice requirements mobile home park owners must follow, such as providing 90-days’ written notice to all affected mobile homeowners.

Report mobile home park violations

Health departments throughout the state of Florida will perform routine inspections, plan reviews, and enforcement actions against mobile home parks that are not following environmental standards. (i.e. sewer waste). Find your local Department of Health to report possible issues:

Need Help?

If you think you need legal advice, call an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, here are some resources:

This pamphlet is produced as a public service for consumers by The Florida Bar.

[Updated May 2024]