Official difference between mobile home and RV?

I see some 12x40’s that look exactly like a mobile home, but they are being called RV’s. These are 2 bedroom 1 bathroom 2012 models.

Is there an official designation on the title or something to determine if it is a mobile home or trailer? What is the legal definition here? What determines whether it needs to be pulled by a licensed mobile home transporter or not?

Since RVs and mobile homes used to be the same thing prior to the 1950’s, it is a little grey. Generally, we’re going to call an RV anything that can be pulled by a regular car or pick-up truck, (a travel trailer or 5th wheel) or that can move under its own power (a motor home). If it has to be pulled by an actual truck (which is what costs the $3,000 or so in the move) then it’s a mobile home. But also remember that there is a component that can only be pulled by a truck in most RV parks, which is called the “park model”. These are like mobile homes, but do not have wheels or axles on them – they arrive on a flatbed truck – and also cost $2,000 or so to move. Since we don’t want our customers to ever leave, we only consider the type of mobile home or park model that requires expensive transport to be worthy of our investment dollars. RVs can be moved for next to nothing, so there’s no barrier and that’s too risky for us.

Thanks Frank - These are labled as 12x40 Park Model Homes and they look like they could fill 3 of my smaller lots.

I wasn’t sure if HUD applied or not as they are listed as RV’s.

Have you looked for a HUD label number plate on the outside of the home? I would assume that if there’s a HUD label number, then the HUD rules would apply and qualify it as a “manufactured home.”


Park model homes can be used to fill lots in mobile home parks – I’ve had them on lots before. They are typically very expensive per square foot versus regular mobile homes, and they also have smaller rooms as they were designed for overnight stay and not permanent residence. They are a common feature as nightly rental “hotel” units in many KOA campgrounds, for example.

400 sq. ft. of floorspace is the distinction between what is regulated by HUD code and what is considered an RV.