Owing to the lack of clear distinction in the eyes of most people, the terms “mobile home park” and “trailer park” are often used synonymously. This nonchalant usage of words brings confusion to the table.

In today’s article, we’ll do away with the misunderstandings and clear up the blurred lines between the two terms. You’ll know what they mean and the different nuances of each type of park and mobile structure.

Once you get the definitions and understanding down, you’ll be better able to consider whether a mobile home or trailer park investment is right for you.

Defining terms helps in both research and conversation.

What’s the difference between a mobile home park and a trailer park

Notably, a mobile home park is home to mobile homes. Sometimes, these homes are referred to as “trailers,” hence the confusion in calling a mobile home park a trailer park.

Like a trailer, a mobile home is built to be moved. Mobile homes are built on a steel chassis with wheels. Both are built in a factory and both are built to be moved. However, unlike a trailer, a mobile home is built for a more permanent residence.

Mobile homes require special permits, vehicles, and professionals for owners to move them around. This is costly and as such most mobile homeowners who wish to move prefer to just sell the home as they would a site-built home.

Mobile Home being transported up a hill

On the other side, a trailer is built to be moved around constantly from place to place. As a matter of fact, if you don’t move it around from time to time, the axles and moving parts begin to break down.

Trailers are constructed to be moved by everyday SUVs or trucks. With the right trailer hitch, you can easily move your trailer from park to park at whim.

A difference in the length of stay

Because of the constant movement in the life of a trailer, they’re often used for people who see much traveling. Whether it’s for vacation or if they’ve merely embraced a modern-day nomad life.

Trailer parks are normatively for a short stay as users are always planning to return home or travel to a new park.

In contrast, mobile home parks expect tenants to be in it for the long haul. This is due to the expensive nature of relocating a mobile home.

Due to their stationary nature, mobile home tenants will not get up and go at a moments notice.

A difference in the eviction process

Here’s where another stark variance between a mobile home park and a trailer park comes into play.

The eviction process for a mobile home park can take weeks if not months. It depends on the different variables in the situation that calls for eviction.

On the opposite end, the process for eviction from a trailer park is quick and eviction comes into effect immediately.

A difference in management and maintenance

Not only is there a difference in eviction, but also in overall park management and maintenance.

The management of a mobile home park requires less legwork from management as much responsibility is placed on the tenant.

But a trailer park is a different story in that regard. Trailer park management and maintenance are very hands on for the staff. Every day, throughout the week, new people are coming in or leaving the park.

Travel Trailer towed by a truck

Management’s job is to make their rounds when a trailer leaves. The lots must be inspected for cleanliness in case the previous person left trash or a mess. You want your lot to be functioning and clean for the next person who comes along for a stay.

A difference in utility payments

Whereas a mobile home park tenants pay for their utilities separate from the rental fee agreement, trailer park utilities are usually bundled into the nightly rental fee.

A difference in amenities

Typically, there are more amenities in a trailer park than there are in a mobile home park.

Because vacationing is the primary use of a trailer park, you will find public restrooms readily available. These restrooms need regular cleaning by trailer park staff. Pools are also normatively available, these require maintenance too.

In a mobile home park, such amenities are not expected, especially public restrooms. Mobile homes owners are assumed to have working restrooms in their homes.

Different type of home park, different expectations

In summary, a trailer home park owner must be prepared to deal with the constant movement and maintenance involved with outgoing and incoming tenants. Tenants will stay a night, a few days, or weeks. But don’t expect anyone to stay for several months at a time.

On the flip side, a mobile home park owner can expect a sense of more commitment from the park tenants. They’re planning to stay long-term. There is more stability in this type of park.

That’s not to say mobile homes are exclusively for long-term tenants. Some mobile home owners will choose to rent out their home as a vacation rental. But this is not the norm.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.