Do You Need a Permit to Tear Down a Mobile Home? (Explained!)

The decision to dispose of your mobile home is probably one of the hardest you could arrive at.

The mere suggestion of the idea can worry a mobile home community owner. But it shouldn’t be a hard thing to complete.

(Short Answer) Do You Need a Permit to Tear Down a Mobile Home?

“Yes” – in almost every zoned township anywhere in the United States, permits are a must-have if you want to demolish and even deconstruct a mobile home.

What’s a Demolition Permit, To Begin With?

It is a legal document meant to give you the green light to demolish a home or any other structure that required (but not always) a building permit for construction in the first place. This doesn’t entirely mean a building that was constructed without a permit won’t require a demolition permit.

Often, you can’t obtain a single demolition permit for several structures – one permit per structure.

A good example is when a homeowner plans to get rid of a home and a garage and shed.

In this case, each structure may require its own permit to go down. Depending on where you are, various codes will specify the requirements of the permit.

So When Exactly Does One Obtain A Demolition Permit?

Again, it depends on where you are. Generally, these situations may apply:

  • If a single or several structures need to be removed from a lot
  • If a building needs an additional renovation that requires a significant amount of demolition
  • If one or several accessory structures with basement-type foundation, hazardous materials, mechanical systems, or utility systems have to be removed or raised from a lot

What Are The Requirements For The Issuance Of A Demolition Permit?

Again, the requirements vary between places. A typical application for a demolition permit need to be accompanied by these:

  • Copies of the plan of the home or site, specifying the materials and areas that are subject to demolition
  • Details regarding any other previous demolition work that you carried out in the past
  • A photograph of the building, often the façade part of it
  • The registration documents of your land (Certificate of Title)
  • Details about the approved demolisher, including the name, insurance, and registration details
  • A copy of your public liability insurance
  • A description of your demolition management and waste disposal procedures
  • Your plans regarding the protection and general safety of adjoining properties

What’s The Cost?

A demolition permit is normally awarded at a fee.

It is mostly between $100 and $350 but can be more depending on your location and the size of the project.

Some locations, like Miami, will charge more if you are demolishing your property because you were served with a violation.

Who Should Go For The Permit?

Either the owner of the home or the demolition contractor applies for the permit. It depends on the agreement you have on the subject.

If you pass this responsibility to the contractor, you will need to reach an agreement regarding whether the permit fee will be included in the overall demolition fee or forfeited.

Cities like Miami present the permit to the demolition contractor; not the homeowner.

Confirm with your local authorities before reaching an agreement with your contractor.

What The Heck Is A ‘Master’ Permit?

Well, before demolition plans are put on paper, the building inspection team or a similar outfit in your area may issue a ‘master permit’ which normally authorizes all kinds of work covered in your construction project.

Demolition work could be just a part of a larger project or the only project to be accomplished.

In either case, your local authority may require the issuance of a master permit.

What’s The Procedure?

Again, the procedure depends on the requirements set by the local authorities. If you were in Miami city, this is how you’d proceed:

Step 1: Verify The Location of the Project in The Area (Miami City)

The city allows you to use the GIS tool or county property search to locate their property.

Step 2: Collect The Necessary Documents

In this stage, you are expected to apply for documents about trees and environmental conservation, recent site survey, and more.

Step 3: Complete The Application

This stage involves making a formal application for the permit, filling all the necessary documents, and submitting the needed materials either physically or electronically.

Also, you are expected to declare your main points of contact which can be a person or your preferred means of communication.

The authorities will communicate back through these channels.

Step 4: Pay The Processing Fee

This is the point where you pay for the permit. The amount depends on the size of your project and sometimes whether you got served with a violation.

Step 5: Print and Notarize

Once you submit your application, you can go ahead to download a copy of your application and notarize it if asked.

Step 6: Wait for Acceptance

The waiting period rarely goes past 7 days. Documents with errors will be returned in this stage for corrections.

Step 7: Respond to Review

If the application is accepted, it proceeds to the review stage. There’s a lot to get right in this stage before you get the actual permit.

Step 8: Get A Permit

Get your permit and make arrangements for demolition work.

What Should A Homeowner Know Before Seeking A Demolition Permit?

A lot of things. Demolition sounds fun, but can be a major undertaking.

What looks like a simple straightforward project may grow during the course into an enormous task.

You need to understand that the inspection stage could turn out to be the toughest part – additional permits may be required.

In some areas, it is almost standard to accompany the demolition process with inspection for such harmful substances as asbestos and lead paints.

If you bought a used mobile home and – during demolition planning – it’s discovered that the previous owner added asbestos for insulation, certain regulations must be adhered to.

Also, know what can and can’t be salvaged before going ahead.

Of course, such items as air conditioning units, skirting, doors, light fixtures, windows, glass, radiators, wood, piping, ductwork, and complete bricks should be spared.

Permits Are A Pain, Aren’t They?

No. They may appear like it but aren’t. Building and demolition rules are not there to make life more difficult.

Rather, they are there to ensure the safety of every involved individual.

They also protect the interests of other interested parties including health and environmental protection agencies as well as individuals with properties close to yours.

What Are The Signs That A Mobile Home Needs Demolition?

First off, there’s a slight difference between demolition and deconstruction.

Still, both require a permit to take place.

Deconstruction means dismantling a property to maximize the reuse or recycling potential of the components.

Demolition, on another hand, entails razing down a property without consideration of the reuse value of the components. Everything is dismantled, broken, and sent to the landfill.

With that said, here are the signs that your mobile home has seen better days and you should get rid of it:

The property has been used way longer than its predicted lifetime.

The average life expectancy for an average mobile home is 30 – 55 years. Beyond these years, the home becomes more of a safety and health risk than a great place to live.

If your home has been prone to damages or malfunctions lately and has already eaten a fair amount of your resources in repair efforts, it is time to get rid of it.

Extensive repair work on the air conditioning or replacement of plumbing could be costly. The most sensible thing to do would be to replace the troubled home with a new and more modern home.

You have had doubts about the structural integrity of the home. Signs of likely significant problems are shifting walls, sagging roof, and doors that won’t close tightly even with a repair.


Do you need a permit to tear down a mobile home? “

Yes” – in almost every zoned township anywhere in the United States, permits are a must-have if you want to demolish and even deconstruct a mobile home.

Either the owner of the home or the demolition contractor applies for the permit.

It depends on the agreement you have on the subject.

Again, the requirements and procedure will depend on the requirements set by the local authorities.

You need to understand that the inspection stage could turn out to be the toughest part – additional permits may be required


Shawnee County Planning Department

The Homeowner’s Guide to Mobile Home Removal

Mobile Home Demolition & Removal Standards, codes, guides for abandoned mobile homes or manufactured homes

What Needs to Be Done Before Demolishing or Removing a Mobile Home