Can You Put a Mobile Home in Your Backyard for Personal Use?

If you enjoy camping in an RV, you’re in good company with nearly 16 million Americans participating in this activity. It may surprise you to know that people don’t travel as far from home as you think with just over 30 percent going less than 50 miles. That may make you wonder can you put a mobile home in your backyard to enjoy it year-round?

Benefits and Downsides of Having a Mobile Home on Your Property

The greatest advantage is that you don’t have to worry about the expensive issues of repairs and maintenance like you do with a regular house. That’s not to say that you don’t have routine tasks, it’s just that they are on a smaller scale. You also have more control on several fronts, including your appliances, utility expenses, and cost of living.

However, it does take planning. There are legal issues that you don’t typically see with owning a house. You may find that your maintenance tasks for some things are a segue move. Winterizing your mobile home is something you have to do that you don’t with a house that is properly insulated and ready for the elements.

That’s a big deal since a failure to do it right is a costly error – and we’re talking some major repairs.

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RV or Mobile Home?

You’ll likely find that this question rests on what type of housing you have. If it’s an RV, you’ll probably find less red tape, especially if there aren’t any permanent utility or water connections. You can offer temporary accommodations through sites like Of course, there are their loops to jump through, so it’s not without its hassles.


The question of if you can put a mobile home in your backyard has implications on all government levels. You have a lot of legal entities to satisfy. That makes the answer not as cut-and-dried as you may like. It’s worth doing your research since you have several authorities that can penalize you and make it impractical to put one on your property.

Federal Laws

There is a slew of federal regulations that have a say in what you can and cannot do. The question rests with the notion of calling it a “home” versus a temporary accommodation. The feds want to ensure that you have a safe place to live that provides for the necessities of life. The government recognizes the affordability of mobile homes that may set up vulnerable people for scams.

There are regs in place that cover the construction and safety of these mobile homes. We don’t think that it’s a bad thing. No one should have to put up with less than safe and sanitary living conditions. The point to remember is that there is a lot of oversight when making repairs in a built home for things like electricity, plumbing, or natural gas.

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State Laws

You’ll also find a plethora of laws and regulations on the state level. Often, these involve site-specific conditions involving soil type, drainage, and ecosystem management. Proximity to wetlands and waterways, for example, often draws a lot of scrutinies.

We strongly urge you to contact your state DNR or conservation department. Violation of regs that protect these habitats often garners hefty fines. If you live near a large body of water, you should also check with the governing body that handles the conservation of these places.

Local Laws

The voice of the municipality often covers several fronts. First, there are the environmental impacts and those affecting the well-being of the residents that overlap federal regs. Some take a 180 and address aesthetic concerns of whether can you have a mobile home in your backyard. Some cities may forbid these structures as they may also view them as an RV or boat on someone’s land.


It’s not only a matter of convenience. There are other practical concerns that you must answer when thinking about whether it’s a smart idea for you. They are essential because the failure to consider them can cost you some cash.

The first thing you need to research is zoning laws. Some places may have regs in place that forbid putting a mobile home on your lot. It doesn’t mean an insurmountable challenge, but it may cost you. Likewise, you may have to jump hoops about the construction of the rig. You may find specs about the size, material, skirting you can use.

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City Water or Septic System

RVers get it when it comes to this aspect of living off the grid. Putting a mobile home on your property puts it in a different light since you have to consider a permanent solution. If you have to install a septic system, it involves a lot more preparation and maintenance. That requirement also involves other considerations.


If you’re on public utilities, you will have to have access to your land. These companies will need to be able to get to your mobile home and the surrounding area for any necessary service. However, that fact adds to your expenses along with the necessary maintenance to ensure it remains open year-round.

Building Permit

If you’re planning on permanent access to utilities, you’ll likely have to get a building permit. That may also entail a lot of other requirements with expenses that can add up to your costs of living in a mobile home. You may find that you can’t do as much on a DIY-basis to comply with the conditions. We understand the disconnect since living on the land is the essence of taking care of your needs.

However, it’s not worth the hassle. Call your local city planning office before you make decisions and commitments that will cost you. It’s not insurmountable once you know where the goalposts lie.

Final Thoughts About Backyard Mobile Homes

Living in a mobile home frees you from a lot of the expenses of living in a traditional home. You’ll save on some of the costs that they entail. However, it’s often a sideways move that replaces those things with others. The critical thing to remember is that you’ll likely encounter laws and regs on all levels of the government bureaucracy.

Our advice is to do your homework about whether you can put a mobile home in your backyard before you invest in the land and the rig. The operative condition is whether it’s a permanent dwelling or just a campsite. The rules are precise with specific conditions that you must meet no matter how you use your land. Do yourself a favor and ask the questions before making this commitment.