In case you haven't heard enough on the topic

The Supreme Court in the State of Ohio just ruled in favor of mobile home park grandfathering.

This is on the heels of a similar ruling for the State of Missouri, as well as the State of Mississippi a couple days ago.

It’s getting harder and harder for those good old boy city inspectors to tell you that you can’t use those vacant lots without you breaking into a laugh.


Frank -

I had one of my towns pass a law forbidding me from putting RVs on my pads. They let the one existing RV stay as ‘grandfathered’ but have forbidden any more from moving in. Is it worth fighting in court? Do you think these cases are applicable to a ‘no-RV’ law?




That’s a great question. Since a mobile home park is a “parking lot” under zoning, and since RVs and mobile homes were the same thing when most parks were built in the 1950s and 1960s, you could take the position that they were certainly allowed when it was built and should be grandfathered. However, the city will counter that RVs are definitely not longer mobile homes and are not “housing” but “recreation” and therefore a different intent than what the original permit allowed. The key question is do they really want to go to court over that. If you know of a good real estate/municipal lawyer in the area, I’d pay him $250 to call the city attorney and see if you can slide it through. If that fails, you can spend another few hundred dollars to file a lawsuit and see if the city caves at your bluff. Or you can go to the city in a friendly manner and see if you can get a variance, under the argument that modern RVs are expensive and a classy clientele and good for the town.

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Frank, where do you find / hear about these cases? I’d like to keep up on them also.

Also, does the same grandfathering provision apply to other changes like setback, size of homes, roof pitch requirements, etc.?

The reason I ask is I do see a number of municipalities that make arbitrary changes like requiring a roof pitch no less than 3:12, etc. in my park they require all homes to be at least 10’ apart,which is fine by me but they take it farther by saying even the back corners of staggered homes have to be 10’ apart which will be hard to meet when filling vacant lots.

We have a system on our computer that flags any article that contains the words “mobile home park”, “trailer park” or “manufactured home community”. Brandon can tell you how to set that up. Then we scan each article daily for ones that include grandfathering and other issues.

In your specific case, the city cannot require a setback greater than that when the park was first built. That’s the key to grandfathering. However, the Fire Marshal has the ability to amend that if it is a matter of public safety. So to make the setback greater than your original permit, he would have to show real, concrete safety reasons and not just aesthetics – and he’d have to show the uniform enforcement of that at all mobile home parks.


I’m certainly no expert, but another approach to take to the city is the lease length, as it goes to purpose. Meaning, how is an RV that is on a monthly lease any different than a mobile home on a monthly lease for the purposes of the park’s zoning?

If you’re wanting to allow RVs so that they can do short-term or nightly parking, they can take the stance that this is more of a commercial use than a residential use. But, if the RVs are just another type of mobile home that is being used, that’s a pretty tough case to make.


I’m dealing with this same problem as I am trying to get Tiny House residents into my park. Turns out the OMHC allows mh parks to have no more than 4 RVs. This was a response to the fracking boom. The village says no permanent RV living inside municipal limits but the OMHC just says you can 4 but they have to be skirted and tied down if park models. Really grey area and I am going with OMHC rules vs. village rules. No-one, not even OMHA, can give me a definitive answer. The village won’t even know unless someone complains so I will take the chance.


Jefferson, I’m curious as to how you’re working the RV rental. Do you own the RV or did someone bring it in? Do you rent credit it like a MH?

Thanks Frank. Are you aware of any FL case law, or how would I find it, just a Google search? I’m trying to figure out the proper search terms.


The correct search on Google would be “legal non-conforming mobile home park case law Florida” and “grandfathered mobile home park case law Florida”. It doesn’t appear that there’s much regarding this topic in Florida, as the search immediately pulls up cases in Mississippi, Tennessee and other states. Maybe this has not been a major issue in Florida to date.

Some of the OLDER parks in the Tampa, FL. area the old mobiles are smaller than the newer RV’s. Really the 40 foot RV’s with four slide out are bigger than some newer mobile homes but with zoning probably need to be tied down and possible skirted. We have 30% RV’s in our parks but most with yearly leases OUTSIDE of city zoning.

Any recommendations on my mobile home park I am developing. My question is should I buy some mobile homes and rent them ( I will have a onsite Maintinace man on site) or should I just rent the space to the mobile home owners?also my land is out of the city under a unicorperated zoning. It has wells and septics. JIt l

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Carl, can you give some details on your RVs please? Are any tied down, do they stay on site year around or are they moved? Do you have permanent year 'round residents that live in RVs?

Reason I ask is I inherited 8 RVs with my park and they currently don’t have very good tenants in them. Trying to figure out what to do with them.

One, out of city limits, two, not tied down but some skirted to help in winter energy costs, and stay on site year round, third, since we have a niche market 90% are presently only weekend use and some we see less than 5 times a year. We have found that full time RVer"s generally fit two categories very poor and their ONLY housing affordable to them ( sorry,we do not rent to that group) and middle to upper class that have nice rigs and are excellent tenants. There are some really poor people who can be excellent tenants who have experienced unusually hardships and if in Florida try the plus 55 group–younger families with children and or pets can be very problematic as per living in a RV. Rehabbing a RV can be challenging.

This is a very good decision.