Original Author: Hemsley, Sid
Date of Material: 06/21/1993
Zoning--Laws and regulations
Reviewed Date: 07/25/2021
MTAS was asked whether a city could write any ordinance that would permit the city to prohibit double wides.
I think you are out of luck on your mobile home question.
You have already pointed to the state law impediment to a municipal prohibition of double wides: Tennessee Manufactured Housing Assn v. Metropolitan Gvt., 789 S.W.2d 254 (1990). I am also enclosing When is a Mobile Home Not a Mobile Home, an MTAS bulletin I wrote in 1988 that anticipated Tennessee Manufactured Housing.
But there is also a federal law impediment to a municipal prohibition on double wides: 42 U.S.C. 5403(d) totally preempts municipal imposition of manufactured home construction and safety standards in the following language:
Whenever a federal manufactured home construction and safety standard established under this chapter is in effect, no state or political subdivision of a state shall have any authority either to establish, or to continue in effect, with respect to any manufactured home covered, any standard regarding construction or safety applicable to the same aspect of performance of such manufactured home which is not identical to the Federal manufactured home construction and safety standard.
The federal manufactured home construction and safety standards are found at 24 CFR § 3280.
In light of both Tennessee and federal law on the subject, I doubt that you could write any ordinance that would permit the city to prohibit double-wides, by whatever name you called them or any distinction you attempted to draw between modular and mobile.
I'm sorry the answer isn't in your favor.
Sidney D. Hemsley
Senior Law Consultant