Our weekly series exploring buying mobile homes across the country is continuing this week! Last week a look at Buying a Mobile Home in Michigan offered some great tools for potential home buyers. This week it’s all about Buying a Mobile Home in Florida and the many mobile home communites scattered thoughout the state.
The Facts About Mobile Home Living In Florida
Florida has long been a popular retirement option for seniors, with one of the highest number of mobile home communities in the country. We found some interesting facts at Mobile Home Village about mobile homes in the state:
- The average price of a pre-owned home: $47853
- Average model year of a pre-owned home: 1992
- Average pre-owned home size in square feet: 1157
- The average number of sites in a community: 233
- The average year a community was developed: 1977
- Number of age-restricted communities: 954
- Number of all-age communities: 662
According to an article from CNN in 2009, Florida mobile homes make up almost half the home type in at least two cities in the state. In an overly populated area, Floridians have found an inexpensive housing alternative, mobile homes!
Buying a Mobile Home in Florida
Where to Begin
Thinking of buying a mobile home in Florida? The Florida Manufactured Housing Association website is a great place to start. The site not only offers a consumer home buying guide, and they also have a listing to help you find an approved service provider for services such as real estate agents, financing, as well as mobile home services such as pest control and HVAC services. They are a wealth of information for all things mobile home in the state of Florida.
2958 Wellington Circle N., #100
Tallahassee, FL 32309
The Titling and Registration Process
The titling of a mobile home in the state of Florida requires the same forms as titling a vehicle. The process can be completed at the Florida DMV. There are also numerous titling agencies that can help with the process as well. Florida laws does state that the dealer who you purchase your new mobile home from is responsible for the initial title application.
Every mobile home in the state of Florida must be registered with a fee and a decal attached to a window that is visible from the exterior of the home. Just like a car registration this registration fee is due either annually or biennially by the last day of the year.
Purchasing a Used Mobile Home
If you are purchasing a used mobile home from a buyer there are several steps you will want to take to be sure that the mobile home tile is free and clear. We found this article on Mobile Home Investing that explains the steps to transfer a mobile home title:
- Verify seller has the title(s), and he/she is listed as the owner
- Check for back taxes
- Check for hidden liens
- If inside a mobile home park aim to speak with the community manager to 1.) become park approved, 2.) verify the seller is current on all payments, 3.) ask for a copy of the park rules, 4.) ask if lot rent is increasing in the near future, and 5.) if the park manager see any needed improvements to the mobile home if/when you purchase the home?
- If the tile is missing or there is no title contact the DMV for your next steps
- Make sure all required paperwork is available. Including the bill or sale and title or titles (if a multi-section home there will be multiple titles
- Take all paperwork to DMV to transfer ownership
- If a lien is to be placed on the mobile home, the clerk will do this at the DMV as well
- Pay applicable taxes to receive the required decal for your mobile home
Retiring a Mobile Home Title In Florida
If a mobile home is permanently added to a piece of real estate, the mobile home title is eligible to be retired. They are then issued a real property decal from the local tax office. The application to retire the title can be found at the Florida DMV site, and the following documents must include the form:
- The certificate of title from the state of Florida
- A lien satisfaction for the lien on the face of the title (if applicable), or a statement from the lienholder that such security interest will be released upon the retirement of the certificate of title (if applicable).
- The legal description of the real property and if the property is leased, a copy of the lease agreement.
- A sworn statement by the owner of the real property stating that he/she is the owner of the mobile home and the home is permanently affixed to the real property per state law.
The following infographic from Old Republic National Title Insurance Company will help to clarify if you should retire your mobile home title:
Taxing of Mobile Homes in Florida
The state of Florida offers a resource regarding the taxation of mobile homes. Keep in mind, Florida taxes mobile homes in three ways. A mobile home will be:
• Assessed and taxed as real property;
• Subject to an annual license tax; or
• Assessed and taxed as tangible personal property.
We recommend talking to your local tax office in your county or community for details.
Complaint Resources for Mobile Home Owners in the State of Florida
If you have an issue with your mobile home and haven’t been able to get it resolved with the dealer or manufacturer the state of Florida has a complaint process in place to help resolve issues. You will need to download and file a written complaint at the following:
Bureau of Mobile Homes and RV Construction
Division of Motor Vehicles
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway, Mail Stop 66
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0640
PH: (850) 617-2808
FAX: (850) 617-5191
After the complaint is reviewed the bureau will be in contact for further information and to schedule an inspection. The following must be included in any complaint:
1. Name and mailing address (if different than the physical address of home location) and an active
daytime telephone number.
2. Copy of the sales contract provided by your dealer at the time of the sale.
3. Name and address of the home’s manufacturer and the complete serial number of the home.
4. A brief description of the problems you are experiencing with your home and the dates you
have spoken to the dealer/manufacturer.
You can also contact the Federal Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution program for help if you are unsure:
Office of Manufactured Housing Programs
Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 9168
Washington, DC 20410-8000
Telephone: (202) 708-6423 or (800) 927-2891
FAX: (202) 708-4213
Knowing Your Rights When Living in a Mobile Home Community
According to the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse, there are over 2300 mobile home communities in the state as of 2018. So, it’s important to know your rights as a mobile home owner in these communities. In 2010 the Florida legislature created what is known as the Florida Mobile Home Act. In short, this act covers the rights of both the tenant and landlord in a mobile home community and what is expected of both parties for a successful relationship. These include:
The Mobile Home Park Owner must:
- 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 to it, 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 for the 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.
In return the mobile home owner must:
- Comply with all obligations imposed on mobile home owners by applicable provisions of building, housing, and health codes.
- Keep the mobile home lot which he or she occupies clean and sanitary.
- Comply with properly promulgated park rules and regulations and require other persons on the premises with his or her consent to comply therewith and to conduct themselves in a manner that does not unreasonably disturb other residents of the park or constitute a breach of the peace.
Also included in the act is the mobile home community owner’s obligation to provide notice of any lot rent increases or changes in the community amenities, in writing, at least 90 days in advance. By doing so, this allows mobile home owners the opportunity to meet with the park owner and discuss any concerns and will enable the park owner to explain the change.
Keep in mind, it’s essential to have a written agreement in place when renting a lot in a mobile home community. This protects you as the tenant from any unexpected changes along the way. Take your time when reading the agreement and be sure to ask for clarification for any parts that are unclear.
Family Friendly Mobile Home Communities
Buying a mobile home in Florida and living in family-friendly communities is becoming more and more common. With water access, pools, playgrounds and community rooms who wouldn’t want to? Take a look at just a few of the communities we found online!
Related: Read more about Briny Breeze’s history.
55+ Mobile Home Communities
Florida has always been a top destination for Seniors, in a recent article published by the Huff Post, one writer breaks down the top 10 reasons why:
- No state tax, inheritance tax or estate tax
- The climate
- A Lower Cost of Living
- Water access everywhere
- Easy travel access
- Plenty of accessible healthcare
- Access to museums, etc
- A vacation destination for family
- An abundance of Adult communities
With all these reasons, its no wonder Seniors seem to be buying a Mobile Home in Florida. We searched for 55+ mobile home parks and found over 367 parks dedicated to Seniors listed on 55Places.com. And these are just the ones listed there, I’m sure there are more that aren’t included on their listings. There are both pros and cons to living in a Mobile Home Park. However, for a Senior, the low maintenance, no property tax, and built-in social community usually outweigh any disadvantages. Here are just a few of the Senior communities we found online:
We hope we have answered a few of your questions regarding buying a mobile home in Florida. Have a question we didn’t answer? Comment below, and we will try and find the answer for you!
Watch for next weeks installment, we are continuing our look at buying a mobile home. We will be taking a look at buying a mobile home in the state of New Mexico.
Thanks for reading Mobile Home Living.