Moving a mobile home will probably be harder than the owner imagines. That's because the act of transporting a manufactured home is highly regulated. When moving a mobile home within or to the state of Kentucky, a clear understanding of federal, state and local laws is required.
The easiest way to accomplish this move is to purchase a new mobile home and arrange for the manufacturer to deliver it to a Kentucky address. Alternatively, hire an experienced transport company that knows the laws and will obtain the necessary permits.
Are Mobile Homes Really Mobile?
Mobile homes are also known as manufactured homes and, in many ways, that is a more accurate term. The term "mobile" suggests that these structures are vehicles, like RVs, that can be easily driven from place to place. But once the wheels and tongue are removed from the manufactured home and it is placed in a mobile home park, moving it is sure to be harder than one thinks.
Though mobile homes are constructed with transport in mind, with a steel undercarriage and steel beams to allow axles and wheels to be attached, the design was not intended to accommodate frequent dislocations.
Once the home is settled somewhere, like in a park or on private land, the wheels and tongue are removed, and the home is expected to remain there, stationary, for the indefinite future.
Mobile Home or Manufactured Home?
In popular parlance, a mobile home and a manufactured home are identical. However, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), those homes built before June 5, 1976 are mobile homes; those built after that date are manufactured homes.
That is the effective date of the Federal National Manufactured Housing and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
According to the act, a manufactured home is a “structure constructed on or after June 15, 1976, according to the rules of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development."
Manufactured Homes in Kentucky
A manufactured home is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and transportable in one or more sections. In traveling mode, the body must be at least eight feet in width or at least 40 feet in length or, when erected on site, at least 320 square feet.
The law provides standards for the design, construction, performance and installation of manufactured homes that apply across the country, including in the state of Kentucky. Regulations are found in the Code of Federal Regulations under 24 CFR Part 3280.
Older Homes May Not Be Moveable
When a mobile home owner starts to think about relocating their Kentucky mobile home, the first issue to consider is whether the unit can be transported. The question involves both the structural soundness of the home and standards for mobile homes set out in the HUD laws.
If a mobile home has suffered from insect damage, water infiltration, or some other type of accident, it may not be physically able to withstand a move. But it is equally important that the manufactured home comply with HUD regulations – it is not possible to sell a home without first bringing it up to code.
Inspections Required Before a Move
The state of Kentucky requires that a manufactured home be inspected before a move to make certain that it is up to code. The Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings & Construction is the agency in charge of this. Relatively new homes bearing a Housing Urban Development sticker may be approved quickly, but expect a full safety inspection for older mobile homes.
In fact, age alone can disqualify a mobile home from being transported. The HUD laws specify that, in most cases, a manufactured home built before 1976 cannot be moved across state, from state to state, or even locally.
Obtaining a Permit for Relocation
If a mobile home is new enough and in good enough condition to relocate, the next step is to consider paperwork. If the plan is to transport it to or within Kentucky, consider the need for permits, approvals and certifications. State statutes specify when an overweight or over-dimensional permit is required, as well as the cost.
Most Kentucky counties require moving permits, proof that county taxes have been paid, and a series of home inspections. Permits in Kentucky include set-up permits that allow the home to be installed in the new location on arrival, and plumbing, electrical and gas connections.
Route Planning for Mobile Home Transport
A mobile home owner will have to buy an overweight-overdimensional permit to get the home to its new destination. Since moving a mobile home requires paperwork for each separate state and county that it passes through along the route, the route must be planned in advance.
The owner or mobile home mover will need to obtain approval from the FHA and all states and counties through which the load will pass.
Height and Weight Restrictions
The mobile home, if it is being transported on an interstate highway, cannot under any circumstances be taller than 13.5 feet to be sure that the home will clear all bridges it will pass. Kentucky also sets weight restrictions for motor vehicles to cross some bridges in the state.
If a special length or width permit is required under state or local law, the FHA requires that two vehicles accompany the mobile home, one in front of it and one in back. Both must carry mandatory signage of the wide load.
Cost of a Mobile Home Move
Anyone hoping to save on the cost of moving a mobile/manufactured home to or within Kentucky by taking the do-it-yourself approach had best rethink the situation. State and federal laws require homeowners to work with a licensed, bonded and insured professional moving company.
Costs vary from company to company and include different services. Transport-only services are the least expensive, while full assistance is more costly. Some companies claim that the base cost for moving a single-wide trailer less than 50 miles in the state is under $2,300.
Other companies put the price at between $700 and $1,000 for a single-wide transport only, up to 60 miles. This jumps to between $3,000 and $5,000 for a full service move, including disconnecting all utilities, skirting and attached structures and reconnecting them at the new location.
Categories of Manufactured Homes
The cost will be different for different size homes, but basic sizes fall into three categories:
- Single wide: 14 to 18 feet wide by 55 to 80 feet long (between about 800 and 1,400 square feet).
- Double-wide mobile home: 24 to 32 feet wide by 55 to 76 feet long (between about 1,300 and 2,400 square feet).
- Triple-section units: 36 to 45 feet wide by 55 to 56 feet long (between about 2,000 and 3,000 square feet).
Any manufactured home that has two or more sections cannot be moved in one piece. This entails extra costs for disassembly, transport and reassembly. Obviously, longer moves will be more expensive.
- Move Buddha: How to (Legally) Relocate Your Mobile Home
- Connect2Local.com: 3 Laws to Know About Mobile Homes in Kentucky
- HUD: Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Program
- Kentucky Statutes: Definitions for KRS 227.550 to 227.660, 227.990, and 227.992.
- Kentucky Statutes: Title 601 | Chapter 001 | Regulation 018
- State of Kentucky: Overweight / Over-Dimensional Laws and Regulations
- Chattle Mortgage: Kentucky Mobile Home Movers & Transporters
- Promatcher: Kentucky Mobile Home Moving Costs - ProMatcher Cost Report
- Moving.com: The Cost of Moving a Mobile Home – What You Can Expect to Pay
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.