Getting a Certificate of Occupancy for your Mobile Home - Home Nation

Getting a Certificate of Occupancy for your Mobile Home

Mathew McConaughey, Kid Rock, David Arquette, and Nia Peeple all have one thing in common: they own a mobile home.


Manufactured homes are no longer the undesirable housing option of decades past. McConaughey lived in one of the most exclusive and trendy trailer parks, Paradise Cove, while Kid Rock and Nia Peeple have opted for manufactured homes outside city limits near nature and serenity. These are just a few of the wealthy and famous opting for simpler living in a mobile home.


By 2013, nearly 20 million Americans were living in mobile homes, and the number has been growing. That is because the perception of a mobile home as a reflection of poverty has changed as architects create incredible designs for them. 


Building a brick and mortar house is expensive; the rising construction and labor costs have almost made homeownership impossible. This is why having the option of building an equally luxurious manufactured home at a lower cost is very appealing.


Just like a brick and mortar building, a mobile home needs to adhere to the local building codes and regulations. Once the house is built in compliance with these regulations, the local building department will issue a certificate of occupancy.


Related: The Pros and Cons of Buying a Mobile Home

What is a Certificate of Occupancy?


A Certificate of Occupancy is a document showing that the mobile home is fit for human occupation because it complies with zoning and building regulations. A certificate of occupancy (COC) is needed when one is using the mobile home as a rental,  investment property or as a family home for owners intending to live in there.


Before receiving the title to the building or having the structure occupied, the owner has to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

When Is a Certificate of Occupancy Necessary?


A COC is needed for

  • Every new building that is being constructed

  • When a structure is changing ownership

  • When a building constructed for one use is converted to accommodate another use

  • When occupancy of any industrial or commercial building changes


The local government’s building department assesses the structure for soundness in accommodating a determined number of people. The assessment not only guarantees that the building is fit but also ensures it can be used as anticipated by the new owner.


Required inspections


Without the certificate of occupancy, a building is deemed uninhabitable. However, some building authorities offer a temporary certificate, which shows that the mobile home is safe for occupation, but it still has some pending work to be done. The outstanding work must be done within 90 days, and the temporary certificate is not renewable.


The building owner can expect the following inspections before receiving the final COC:


  1. The general building inspection


A state-licensed building inspector conducts the inspection and focuses on the


  • Structural elements like the foundation, walls, floor, ceiling, roofs and any columns or pillars

  • Exterior wall cladding including the decks, patios, drainage, soffits, and fascias among others

  • Plumbing from interior water supply to the distribution system, the internal drainage, and the hot water system along with other plumbing areas.

  • Electricals like the service equipment, main overcurrent device, grounding equipment, and service entrance conductors.

  • Heating including the chimneys and vents as well as automatic safety controls heating devices. They also check the heat distribution system like the fans, air filters, and ducts. In addition, they check the central air conditioning.

  • Ventilation and insulation to ensure that the building can withstand the extremities of the weather elements. For ventilation, they will check the aeration of the basement and attic.

  • Installation of built-in kitchen and house appliances.


The general inspection is meant to diagnose any current or foreseeable problems with the structure.

  1. Fire safety inspection


A fire marshal carries out this inspection and focuses on the availability and viability of fire-fighting equipment like fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems in the face of a fire. They will inspect the fire detectors to ensure they are good quality and work well. The fire marshal will also determine how many people fit safely inside the mobile home at any given time



3. Health board inspection


The state health board must perform an inspection that determines how efficiently the septic system for the mobile home works. This ensures that the septic system doesn’t have any issues that may cause leakage into the environment around it.


Related: How large can a mobile home be?


Failing State Inspections


It’s not the end of the road if one doesn’t pass the inspections. The inspectors give the mobile homeowner a list of the areas they should improve on so that they can pass the next round of inspections. They may also provide a timeframe within which these improvements must be made. 


Ensure those areas are thoroughly worked on and then schedule an inspection appointment. In some cases, one must pay an additional fee for a new inspection.


Not having a certificate of occupancy for a mobile home isn't an option. It’s the law whether the home is within city limits or away from the city. 


When buying a mobile home from a previous owner or occupant, ensure that they provide their certificate of occupancy. This document is essential to have, even if a new owner may be required to get a fresh one. It’s illegal to live in a building permanently, if you do not have a COC.

Not only does it put one on the wrong side of the law, but it also jeopardizes the legality of the purchase of the property.


Building, moving, renting or buying a mobile home can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you read our faq for more information or simply give us a call at 1-877-50-HOMES