FEMA Trailers? Good/Bad Idea?

Our park manager (in Indiana) called us today and let us know that she received a call today asking if we had any lots available to move in FEMA trailers for the next 12-16 months. We don’t have any additional details yet.

We have about 10-15 lots available that we have been slowly filling.

I was wondering if any of you have dealt with FEMA trailers and if so what your experience has been. Do you charge the same lot rent? Has it caused any problems among your existing tenants? Have you been able to purchase the FEMA trailers in the end? Any info would be helpful!



Hi Nicole,

FEMA called our manager as well looking for empty lots. All the flooding in the state has displaced quite a number of families; I think Columbus was really hard hit. Regardless, we did not have any empty lots for them.

However, the amount of people looking to buy homes in our park has really increased lately. We are trying as fast as we can to move in a used home we bought, get title to a repo in our own park and rehab one other one as we have people waiting in line.

We also have a Lonnie Dealer in our park who just sold 2 homes in the last week.

I am guessing that you must be seeing the same activity. Wouldn’t you rather bring homes into the park and get permanent tenants now rather than bank on FEMA.

Just wondering…



Thank you for your response. We have not had a problem filling the 3 bedroom homes that we have been bringing into the park. We have, however, had a problem with turnover which gets quite costly with the rent to own homes. Are you seeing this? If not what do you have in place to combat it? We are definately not certain if we would be interested in moving in the FEMA homes or just carrying on with our current plan. One advantage we had considered was if the FEMA homes could be sold to us at the end of 12 months for a low price (I heard this happened often after Katrina). Well then we would have a full park without the expense of moving homes in. Not sure yet.

Would love to hear anyones input.



I accepted one Fema unit into a park I own in Oregon. ( There was a very bad storm last Dec. which left some homeless.) FEMA was adament that the home would be removed when our deal was over…no sale of home possible. The max. time the home could be in park was May 2009. I have to pay trash, water and electric. Because of the relatively short time period

the home would be in park I charged them $925/mo. for this all inclusive

deal. If you have high vacancy…taking in a few FEMA trailers at a price that you feel is fair is okay but the emphasis should be on filling a park with permenant residents.


Do you typically cover any of these utilities for your tenants? What is your normal lot rent?

Thanks for the info.

You should probably speak with Jim Pack if possible. He filled up a park in Florida after the 2004 hurricanes with FEMA homes. I do not think he monitors this board but I’ll contact him for you to see if he can share is experiences.


Hi folks!

Karl asked me to jump in to this discussion so I could provide some info on FEMA mobile homes. Here it is: After the hurricanes of 2005, a FEMA field rep contacted me about putting mobile homes in the park. I had 15 empty lots that needed filling so I and the other investors agreed to lease them to FEMA. We did 5 at first, then agreed to 10 more later on. That would fill our park to 100% about a year ahead of schedule. We also were under the impression we could buy the homes for a very reasonable price after FEMA no longer needed them. It was an impression that was promoted by the field rep and his successors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As for lot rent, we charged more than our normal lot rent for the first 5 because I had to install 5 RV hookups for their “Motor Homes/RV’s” they claimed they were putting in. It was our normal lot rent plus enough extra over the term of the lease to pay for the hookups. Imagine my surprise when 5 brand-new singlewides rolled into the park on the same day and not RVs!

Anyway, the process was simple: just send FEMA the invoices and they would deposit the money in our account about 3 weeks later. The original contract ran for 12 months (by law) and was extended to 18 months (one-time extension for emergencies) as I remember.

As for buying the homes, no way. Nobody told me this until halfway through the contract. FEMA personnel changed every 2 or 3 months so I never talked to the same person half the time. I fought this but there was no way of getting around the law. I can’t remember the name of the “Act” FEMA was operating under but it basically said in black and white that FEMA was prohibited from selling the homes to the park they were installed in. They could sell to the families living in them for a reasonable price but would never sell them to us.

Yes, the federal government would spend all that money to buy those homes new, drag them into my park in south central Florida, install them (including the hookups to electric and water/sewer) then drag them out again to some holding pen in Atlanta and auction them off through GSA. Investors bought them and had them dragged all the way back down and re-installed in the park. My purpose is not to get into a political commentary here, merely to tell the story.

If you want FEMA in your park, just understand what’s gonna happen. The homes will be taken back out again if the famlies don’t buy them. That brings up another issue: the people FEMA puts in those homes. I never had more trouble in my park than I did when I had FEMA homes in it. Serious. FEMA told us who was going in the home and we had NO input except, after my adamant insistance, that we do simple county criminal background checks. Everybody checked out clean but some of them were not from our county. We did the best we could but it wasn’t enough.

Out of about 12 families that moved in, I think I threw out 3. They caused trouble with everyone in the park including painting racial slurs on their mobile home, fighting with other residents and allowing local criminals to use their home as a base of operations. Some people were arrested and never came back, leaving their home to be ransacked at night. Cars were left where they were parked, garbage was thrown over the fence and the police were called many times. Some homes remained vacant the whole time. Another home had 8 or 9 family members living in it including a fully grown Great Dane, and I never heard a peep out of those people. About 5 families actually stayed and bought their homes and were good additions to the park. It was very upsetting to the families who actually bought homes in the park and I think some moved out as a result. In short, it was your worst nightmare as a park manager.

It wasn’t too hard to throw these people out, just time consuming. I had to send them the required notices when they did things against the park rules and notify FEMA. After 2 or 3 times, FEMA would send them a nasty-gram and things would calm down for a short while. When it started back up, I’d go through the process again and send another letter to FEMA demanding the family be evicted. FEMA would send them a letter giving them 30 days to leave and that’s when things got really bad. On 2 occasions, I had to have the Sheriff’s office send several partol cars to keep the peace while these families moved out or were arrested and hauled away. FEMA really had no clue as to how to handle such instances at first.

Hopefully things have changed and maybe you have better people where you are. At least you know what to expect now…

That’s it in a nutshell. Good luck and “HI” to Greg Meade and all my buds still doing the MH thing. Hope all is well in these tough times. The music store is fun!

Jim Pack

Post Edited (07-21-08 05:40)

Space rent $305 …includes water…tenant pays everything else. I felt that due to the brief contract and the possibility that the tenant could go nuts on the electricity…I needed to charge $925.

P.S. Please don’t wave the $925 number under the nose of FEMA…you might wake up the wrong person…Thanx.

Post Edited (07-21-08 13:07)