No – Modular Homes Are Not Tied Down

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Modular homes are never tied-down because they are always built on permanent foundations and anchoring is unnecessary. The only constructions that need to be anchored are those built as non-permanent constructions such as manufactured or mobile homes. The confusion between modular and manufactured homes is common given that they share a similarity in their construction process: they are both prefabricated as volumetric sections. Despite this similarity, modular and manufactured homes are two completely different types of property. 

Different types of property and the requirement to tie down the house. 

  • Real estate property: no need to tie down
  • Personal property: in most cases, it requires anchoring.

The title these constructions receive defines the type of foundations to which they are attached to and therefore the requirement to anchor or not the home. Modular homes are always treated as real estate property while manufactured homes are considered personal property. Personal properties for the most part, are placed on non-permanent foundations and therefore are required to be anchored down, though there are some exceptions to this rule.

Why do some constructions need to be anchored down?

The need to tie down a construction is a direct consequence of the type of foundation to which the house is attached to. Permanent foundations are very stable by themselves, though non-permanent foundations require some additional anchoring, especially in the case of strong winds [1].

Real estate property

All the constructions that are treated as real estate property such as modular homes are always built on permanent foundations, therefore will never require anchoring. 

Personal property

Good examples of personal property are manufactured homes which are a type of construction that is conceived as transportable and designed to be easy to install in a new location. Therefore in most cases, personal property houses are attached to a non-permanent type of foundation and will require to be tied down, though there are some exceptions.

  • Personal property on non-permanent foundations: The most common type. Generally, manufactured homes are attached to non-permanent elevated pier foundations, these are a great foundation solution since they grant access to the utilities placed below the house and are easy and affordable to install. However, the lack of stability of this type of foundation, together with the fact that manufactured homes tend to be lighter than traditional homes, calls for the need to tie the construction down [2]. 
  • Personal property on permanent foundations: In some cases, the manufactured home is attached to a permanent foundation such as a concrete slab or a basement [3]. In these situations, they do not need to be anchored down since they are already attached to a foundation type that is stable enough [4].

Manufactured homes and most of the houses built as personal property are built according to the HUD codes. These building regulations contemplate anchoring as a required safety measure that should be installed as described in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Model Manufactured Home installation standards [5]. However, those manufactured homes that are attached to permanent foundations, are the exception and don’t need to be tied down.

References:

  1. FAQS for manufactured home installation program U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/rmra/mhs/mhip/ipfaqs
  2. (2018, October 2) What are the tie-down requirements for a mobile home How to look at a house https://www.howtolookatahouse.com/Blog/Entries/2018/10/what-are-the-tie-down-requirements-for-a-mobile-home.html
  3. Modular & Manufactured home foundation types & requirements Preferred Homes https://preferredhomesmi.com/manufactured/foundation-types-and-requirements/
  4. Manufactured Housing Research Alliance, New York, NY (2002, March 27) Guide to foundation and support systems for manufactured homes PATH (Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing) https://www.huduser.gov/publications/pdf/foundations_guide.pdf
  5. Federal Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (2003, May 29) Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/225HUD.PDF