“Get ready for likely issues to arise in various localities and states in response to RVIA’s recent change to allow fifth-wheel trailers to be  up to 430 square feet in the set-up mode,” writes campground consultant David Gorin in a forthcoming column for Woodall’s Campground Management, a sister publication to RVBusiness.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board acted on March 27 and issued a Standard News Bulletin on April 3. 

The RVIA board action, Gorin writes, stated, “Effective immediately, in order for a fifth-wheel trailer to be recognized as a recreation vehicle for RVIA membership purposes, it may not exceed 430 square feet in the setup mode.”

The bulletin goes on to caution, Gorin notes, that the U.S. Dept of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) may consider fifth-wheel trailers larger than 400 square feet to be manufactured housing.  “The bulletin also notes that there may be as many as 16 states that by statute may limit the maximum size of fifth- wheels to 400 square feet,” he stated.

“Finally and most importantly for RV park and campground owners,” Gorin stated, “the bulletin notes that ‘state and local code enforcement officials may take the position that recreation vehicles over 400 square feet in the set-up mode are manufactured homes as defined by HUD.  (RVIA) Members are encouraged to work with the states to determine if fifth-wheels over 400 square feet will be considered recreation vehicles and permitted.”

Gorin, who is a consultant to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC),  said ARVC had opposed the change in the allowable size of fifth-wheel “for just the reasons cited in the RVIA bulletin – the likelihood of confusion and new regulations on the state and local levels.  This move by RV manufacturers could create considerable havoc for many existing RV parks and campgrounds and especially for those needing various approvals for expansion or for the construction of new parks.”