Are Manufactured Homes Safe to Live In?


Manufactured homes often appeal to Californians who seek affordable, modern housing. However, potential buyers sometimes have questions about the safety of new or used structures. Although some minor problems remain common, many of these concerns are based on facts about dangers that only exist in early manufactured houses.

Fire Safety

Federal officials introduced strict regulations in 1976. The rules greatly reduced most fire hazards associated with these homes. Data from the National Fire Protection Association reveals that fire-related deaths no longer occur at higher rates in manufactured housing. Some statistics indicate such dwellings may be slightly safer than conventional homes.

One reason is that federal regulators have enacted somewhat tougher rules for these buildings. For example, they didn’t leave smoke detector laws up to individual state governments. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires all new manufactured homes to contain alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. Alternately, they can have backup batteries and hard-wired connections.

State Laws

California frequently enforces stronger safety rules than other states. For example, manufactured homes in many parts of the country often contain ventless kerosene or gas heaters. This flawed heating equipment creates serious health hazards, so California’s government has banned it. State authorities also require certain precautions to protect recent homes from earthquakes.


Most homeowners can only move if they’re able to sell their properties. One advantage of manufactured housing is that owners may relocate a home with relative ease. When a locale becomes unsafe due to natural disasters, high crime or other hazards, residents may quickly move elsewhere while retaining the same dwellings.

Unlike conventional structures, most manufactured houses consist of a single story. This makes it easier for occupants to evacuate in a fire or other emergency. Residents never need to worry about being trapped on the second or third floor. They’re also more likely to hear smoke detectors on the same story.

While large tornadoes still represent a significant problem, this threat can be mitigated with the right precautions. Furthermore, it’s not a major concern for people who buy manufactured homes in San Diego, El Cajon or Santee. The bottom line is that these houses are at least as safe as conventional dwellings in many ways.

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