Age of homes restrictions

We are currently in diligence on a park and one of the things that has recently come to our attention is that the city doesn’t allow homes older than 10 years to be moved in to parks. How successful has anyone been in fighting this and has anyone ever heard of such a thing?

We’ve been unable to find anything in the local building code about this and the city has yet to produce the minutes of the town hall meeting where they concocted this absurdity. We’re likely going to be taking this directly to the NC MHA monday morning, but I wanted to check with you all first to get suggestions.

Usually they just have to be HUD approved, 1976 or newer. That would mean any home you move in can’t be older than 2005. Expect to pay big $$$ to move a home in and you have to see if it will be worth it. Where is this park located? Is that in the municipal code or county ordinance or did someone just tell you that?

It is not that uncommon to have age restrictions on mobiles. Up our way (Canada) building codes are being updated regularly and as such it is a risk to bring in older homes as they are required to meet most present day codes when moved. It is extremely unlikely that a mobile built in the 70s or even the 80s would meet modern day building codes even in the US. Standards that upgrade are a positive not a negative and should be viewed as a plus for your community and the county/city.
If this is a city code fighting will be a exercise in futility.

Our city’s requirement is 15 years or newer. So it does make me think twice about bringing a new home in, but it doesn’t make it unfeasible. Just a little more costly.

We’ve met with the city twice on this. The first time they told us about a fictitious moratorium they placed on the park’s vacant pads and informed us that the age of homes had to be no older than 15 years if we needed to replace one of the existing units. We asked them to provide documentation.

Our seller was able to produce documentation on the moratorium. His documentation was a federal court order. Basically, he had dragged the city into federal court when they first tried to place a moratorium on his lots. Our seller won that fight so feel pretty good about that issue. The city has been unable to present us with any proof of the existence of a moratorium.

Furthermore, the city has yet to produce any proof that they do have an age restriction on mobile homes so we are thinking this is another bluff. Additionally, the restriction has changed from 15 to 10 years since the last time we spoke to them. I’m guessing they’ll tell us it’s five when we close at the end of the month!

This city is an extremely small city in a mid-sized market. They don’t have a post office. In reality, there is no purpose for them to be a real city. If this was a much bigger city, I would certainly agree with Greg here. Our general thoughts are that the people who run this city have no idea what they are doing and they’ve even agreed with us at times on that assessment.

Charles, this park isn’t in Florida is it?

It’s not. It’s in NC.

Unless they can produce evidence that this rule was in effect when the park was built, then they cannot enforce it as the park is grandfathered as to whatever code it was built under. We encounter this all the time. What you will probably have to do is to hire a municipal lawyer to call the city attorney and get it worked out. The inspector will never understand such a complex issue (he’s still trying to figure out how to open a flip phone) so it’s pointless trying to educate him.

Google up the case in Pearl, Mississippi – which resulted in case law for that state regarding mobile home park grandfathering – to see how the law applies to a “grandfathered use”, which is what a mobile home park is.

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Thanks Frank. That was what we were thinking on this. Also, “he’s still trying to figure out his flip phone” is a perfect description for the inspector and the rest of the city employees.

I read through the Mississippi reports and see no similarity in that case and the matter in question here.
As long as the city is not preventing the placing of homes in the community I see no reason why they can not place restrictions on the actual homes being placed. This would seem logical to me as building and safety codes evolve and improve.
This should be viewed as a benefit to community owners as well in that it will prevent home owners from moving homes out of their community once they reach the age restriction.

I fail to see how it would be a benefit to have the city set an arbitrary rule based on nothing more than age. The city’s explanation was based on nothing more than aesthetics. They want a pitched, shingle roof and vinyl siding. Well, there’s plenty of homes that have those qualities and are not 2005 or newer. There are also 2005+ homes that don’t have those qualities.

I also can’t see your reasoning for it preventing tenants from moving their home. Both neighboring cities don’t have an age restriction. Tenants can move their homes to those towns provided it is 1976 or newer.

So what if they choose to extend that logic to cars?, No one in Canada could own/drive a classic car. No air bags, etc. also they’d have to bring it up to modern emissions every time they changed. Theres a reason we have grandfathering. It prevents us from having to demolish homes every 10 years.

Also, what about personal property rights? What if an older home was all I could afford? Are you going to discriminate against me?

Fighting city hall from day one can be very troublesome. Being right and even legal but stepping on the toes with AUTHORTY can cause some future maladies that presently you are unaware of to be a very big issue in the future. Doing DD and talking with city officials is an excellent policy and you might win on the present discussion but they will be gunning for in fractures to nail your butt for years to come.

You are wandering way off topic as this has nothing to do with grandfathering present home owner rights. This is a situation where a community is attempting to place standards of there choosing that they believe are of value to their community. A community which you are not part of. If you were part of their community you would embrace their goals.

I don’t understand why you would voluntarily chose to invest in a community and then the first thing you do is tell the administration you do not like their rules and do not wish to follow them. I could understand if you owned the park and they were in the process of changing building codes that would impact on your business but to come in as a outsider and expect to impose your standards is ridicules. From my perspective as the administration I would view you as a undesirable investor in the community and treat you as such in the future. Small town administration doesn’t take kindly to strangers disrespecting their authority and should politely suggest you take your money elsewhere.

You are certainly entitled to that opinion, but in US case law setting a building code purely based on aesthetics is invalid. Norris v. Bradford (1958) Building codes need to be decided on the basis of safety, public health, or morals. I would also like to point out that the current owner is a part of this community and the city has been “after” him since the park was built. In any event, overall our conversations have been very productive with the city. We are donating the picnic tables, playground equipment, and soccer goals form the park to them since our insurance company doesn’t allow them. However, we’re certainly not going to roll over and take whatever they dish out, especially when their reasoning could be flawed. That’s a ludicrous suggestion.

We clearly do not share a similar respect for the goals of the local authority in the communities we invest in.
Your reasoning is a corporate mentality, mine is not.

Not the case at all.

An illegal law or or policy is still wrong. The fact that you personally agree with it does not make it legal or constitutional. Our politicians are SUPPOSED to follow the law, even if it does not align with their personal opinion.

Our constitution is intended to stop personal opinions from ruling us. It is NOT always successful, but it usually gets it right.

Respect for a local authority that is breaking the law or ignoring the constitution is misguided.

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I don’t know if your constitution allows local governance to institute their own local bylaws or not but up here they are allowed. Your American system is quite different from how we operate. I would see no issues with finding 1-10 year old homes to fill spaces but if your system demands that you exercise your constitutional rights then I don’t see as you have any other options. The present owner likely operated that same way.

Fighting city hall requires MONEY even if you are 100% correct. Our policy as per Greg 's why go into a community starting out with problems with city hall unless the prospective property is cheap or has a upside that you cannot walk away from. Our US constitution is being shattered daily by political hacks and special interests. For example WHY should park owners need a license to sell homes on their OWN property to fill spaces. When we dug into the situation in OK. we find the person who initiated the law was to only stop "carpet baggers from selling homes from a brochure. HIs own words the law went to far and was never intended for park owners to need a license but the issues was not important enough to have the law changed. to exempt park owners. Snowden exposed just a small part of what our government is doing to destroy our personal rights and freedoms based on false flags to control our personal lives and businesses. Try building a house in Calf. without permits–the cost is nearly doubled for building in Calf because of that government knows best or in Fl. when a park is being sold tenants have to permitted the right to form a coop to buy the park. Our present system is really shutting down many new businesses starts because of paper work and licenses. I believe it is McDonald’s that found they can open a restaurant in less time in Russia than Calf.!!!

Always enjoy reading your posts Greg. You often have a great twist / perspective on things and you’re a great and knowledgeable contributor to the forum.

It’s just the bottom line here is Frank is right. Ignoring grandfathering is illegal and an intrusion on our property rights.

Unfortunately, Carl is also right. Unless it’s a deal you just can’t pass up, why bother, move on. Now if you already own the park, it’s a different matter.