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First State manufactured housing stock aging, in need of repairs

Delaware Public Media

Manufactured and mobile homes make up around 10% of total housing stock in Delaware. But they’re more prone to emergencies than other homes.

An estimated 70,000 Delawareans live in mobile homes, and those homes are more concentrated in the state’s lower two counties. They make up over 14% of owner-occupied housing options in Kent County, and just over 18% in Sussex. Those figures are just slightly lower for rented units.


Director of Housing Development for the State Housing Authority Susan Eliason says the homes’ flat roofs make them more susceptible to problems.


“They would be more inclined to leak faster because the water sits on them whereas in a stick-built house the roofis pitched," Eliason said.


And Eliason adds because many of these homes sit on leased land, they don’t qualify for most emergency housing programs.


According to a 2014 Delaware Housing Needs Assessment study, 56% of the state’s manufactured housing stock is on leased land. That’s why at least $100,000 of an emergency housing program launched earlier this yearhas been set aside for these homes.


“Because that is a pretty big problem statewide, because the mobile and manufactured housing stock is aging," Eliason said. “If history is anything to go by, that’s where a lot of the calls come in: people who have mobile homes.”

Over half of the home repairs completed between April and June were for manufactured homes, the majority of which were on leased land and had issues with leaky roofs or plumbing.

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