Manufactured homes, commonly referred to as mobile homes, cost less than site-built homes, creating an important affordable option for 22 million residents and 6.6 million homeowner and renter households. There are 124 manufactured home plants in the United States, including eight production plants in Indiana. Improved design and installation standards since 1976 have increased the safety of manufactured housing while still affordable compared to site-built housing, at about half the cost of constructing a site-built home.
Another difference between site-built homes and manufactured homes is that site-built homeowners usually own the land underneath it, while, the manufactured homes are typically located on land with a different owner. Residents may rent the mobile home, or they may own the dwelling. But most residents of manufactured homes rent a lot (or “pad”) from the park’s landowner.
One exception: resident-owned communities, where manufactured homeowners form a cooperative entity to own the land and manage the community. Members continue to own their own homes individually and an equal share of the land beneath the entire neighborhood.
Manufactured Homes in Indiana*
Protect yourself and your home by knowing your rights as a resident of a manufactured home. There are Indiana laws that require mobile home communities to give you a safe living area. According to the Indiana State Health Department of Health (ISDH), there are 1,112 mobile home communities in Indiana today. It is important that you prepare yourself with resources on how to maintain your home’s well-being.
Indiana law states that a mobile home community must have at least five (5) manufactured homes to be labeled a park. Mobile home community licenses in Indiana must be renewed every four years. It is important to know if your mobile home community has a valid permit from the ISDH.
This permit means that the mobile home community must follow the safety and health rules set by the Department. These rules include providing:
- Working water
- Working sewers
- Good drainage
Mobile Home Community Rules and Leases
Mobile home communities usually have community rules and usually require renters to sign a written lease. The community rules should be posted in a public place. Many lots are rented on a month-to-month basis, which means the landlord can discontinue a tenant’s lease with 30 days’ notice.
A tenant’s violation of the lease or community rules can be grounds for eviction. Depending on what the lease says, you may not even get 30-days notice if there’s a rule or lease violation.
A mobile home park owner in Indiana has a lien on the renter’s property for unpaid charges. If you own your mobile home but are behind on lot rent, you may find that you are not allowed to get a permit to move the mobile home due to the park owner’s lien for unpaid charges. If you face this situation, it’s important to contact a lawyer if you’re being prevented from moving your mobile home.
Moving into Your New Home: Key Things to Do
Before you move into ANY rental home, here are some things to make sure of:
- You have been handed the keys to move in
- There are no remaining health or safety concerns
- The property is in proper hygiene
- There are no damages in the home. If there are damages, note them
- The HVAC system works properly
It is helpful to take pictures of everything that is included in your move-in inspection sheet, if provided. Also, make sure you keep a copy of your lease agreement and any repairs that have been made to your home.
To locate licensed mobile home parks in Indiana, visit the Mobile Home Community Inspection and Licensing Program page on the Indiana State Department of Health website. These listings include information about license expiration, water/sewer utilities, and the manager’s and owner’s contact information.
By Marsha Jean-Baptiste, Program Assistant Intern, South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities
*Adapted from Renting in Indiana: A Handbook for Tenants and Landlords