Buying a mobile home has been a solution for many Floridians over the years for retirees who want to downsize and lead a low-maintenance lifestyle and those looking for an affordable first home. A trend in the southern part of the state is changing things.
When you buy a mobile home, you buy the structure but pay to rent the land it sits on. And more frequently, developers have been snapping up mobile home parks and increasing the rent -- ultimately forcing some residents to move because they can't afford to stay -- or flat out just telling residents they must move at a set date in the future.
The parks have become desirable property for developers, given the rising values of real estate in the area stretching from Homestead to the Florida Keys.
So what are owners to do? The choices aren't very good.
Remember that a mobile home really isn't all that mobile. If it has been sitting on a piece of land for a few decades, it is almost impossible to move it. And even though you own this home and have taken great pride in it through the years, when you're told you have to vacate in a certain amount of time but your home won't survive the move, you likely will have to leave it where it is and watch it be destroyed.
Under Florida law, owners of a single-wide trailer can be compensated $1,375 for having to move out, one expert said recently, adding that amount wouldn't even come close to relocating the mobile home if it can be moved.
If you learn your mobile home park could be threatened by development, it would be wise for you and your neighbors to consult with an attorney to see just what your rights are.