W.Va. weighs mobile home regulations

March 10, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County residents who live in mobile homes probably wouldn't be hurt by new regulations now being considered by West Virginia officials.

Strict building standards already govern the installation of mobile homes in Berkeley County, said Howard Strauss, who sells mobile homes and serves as a Berkeley County Commissioner.

There are no guidelines for people who choose to install their own mobile homes, officials said.

Officials have gotten complaints from citizens sho say a poorly installed mobile home can lead to trouble with foundations, home deterioration and safety hazards, said Chris Quasebarth, deputy commissioner for the state Division of Labor.


Rules drawn up by Quasebarth's department would require mobile home dealers to have the buyers agree to hire a licensed installer or to meet specific grading and footing standards.

Otherwise, the trailer dealer could face a fine of up to $1,000 fine and the loss of their license, according to the rules.

State officials said complaints about mobile homes jumped last year, and about 95 percent of those complaints were about installation, according to Quasebarth.

The state Legislature's rule-making review committee is recommending the new laws.

Under Berkeley County's current building codes, foundations for mobile homes are required to be constructed under the "frost line" to prevent the homes from shifting during the winter, said Strauss, owner of Apache Mobile Homes along Edwin Miller Boulevard.

Trailers are then strapped to anchors in the ground, which are installed about every eight feet along the front and back, said Strauss.

The buyer or the dealer can install the home in Berkeley County. But before the buyers move in, a county building inspector must inspect the home, said Stewart Dodson of Dodson Mobile Home Sales and Service Inc. in Martinsburg.

Strauss said Berkeley County is one of the few areas of the state where the building codes have been implemented.

"In Berkeley County, that law won't have much impact," Strauss said. "I view this as a way to expand building codes statewide."

In Jefferson County, subdivision regulations require ground anchors and other tie-down procedures for trailers in mobile home parks, but there are no regulations for mobile homes placed on individual lots, said County Engineer John Laughland.

But Jefferson County officials said they have not received a lot of complaints about mobile homes in the county.

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