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Floating Home Residency Laws

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What is a Floating Home?

Each state has a separate definition of what equals a floating home, but the most common definition is a floating structure that is:

  • Designed and built to be used as a residential dwelling,
  • Relatively stationary,
  • Has no ability to power itself,
  • Dependent on utilities from the shore, and
  • Has a permanent and continuous connection to a sewage system on shore.

Floating homes are slightly different from a normal home because, while you own the floating home, you must usually still pay rent to a floating home marina for the berth or dock the floating home is tied up at.

What is a Floating Home Marina?

A floating home marina is where floating homes are grouped together.  They are generally privately owned, and can only operate in specific areas that have been zoned for their use by the government.  The owners of a floating home marina act much like a traditional landlord and are generally referred to as managers.

What Rights do Floating Home Homeowners Have?

Because the floating home marina management does not own the floating home but still collects rent, the floating home homeowner has rights similar to, but slightly different from a traditional tenant.  These rights exist even if the lease between the homeowner and marina management does not address them because many states have passed specific laws to address the issue of floating home residencies.  A floating home homeowner has the right to:

  • Use the berth or dock at the floating home marina to keep and maintain their floating home,
  • Use the services and facilities of the floating home marina,
  • Occupy their floating home,
  • Have access to their floating home, and
  • Keep the management out of the floating home except with prior written consent or in the case of an emergency.

When Can a Floating Home Tenancy be Destroyed?

Floating home tenancies act identical to traditional landlord and tenant tenancies, but they can generally only be destroyed in five situations:

  1. The floating home homeowner fails to comply with local zoning ordinances or state law and regulations,
  2. The floating home homeowner substantially annoys the other homeowners,
  3. The floating home homeowner fails to comply with the rules or regulations of the lease for the berth or dock,
  4. The government condemns the floating home marina through eminent domain, or
  5. The floating home homeowner fails to pay their rent.

Remember, just because the tenancy is destroyed, that does not mean that the floating home homeowner losses their floating home.  It only means their rights involved in renting a berth or dock from the floating home marina are gone.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Floating Home Problem?

If you think your rights as a floating home homeowner are being violated, or your tenancy is being unjustly destroyed, it is highly recommended for you to contact a real estate or landlord and tenant lawyer.  If you are planning on entering a rental agreement regarding a floating home, it is also recommended for you to contact a real estate or landlord and tenant lawyer.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-23-2012 03:13 PM PDT

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