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The Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) continues to issue a warning to campground and RV operators regarding the use of park models: Don’t let your guests convert their park trailer vacation units into year-round dwellings.
RPTIA Executive Director William Garpow has included the message in several addresses to park associations this year, most recently at last month’s California Travel Parks Association’s (CTPA) “Connections 2005” Convention in San Diego.
Garpow said that once a precedent is set to let residents use park models year-round, it can easily transform a park that caters to recreational vehicle enthusiasts into a park that simply provides low-cost housing. And these two forms of park usage are not compatible, Garpow said.
“There is a park in northern Georgia,” he said, “that now has 50% of its units occupied by little old widow ladies.”
This isn’t a smart business approach for campground and RV park operators. It also creates trouble for recreational park trailer manufacturers, whose 400-square foot units are classified as “recreational vehicles.”
The danger, Garpow said, is that if park operators allow their park models or other units to be used as full-time dwellings, state and local officials could take a variety of punitive actions, such as fines and evictions.
On a federal level, if the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sees recreational park trailers being commonly used as permanent dwellings, HUD could administratively reclassify these units as manufactured homes. If that happens, Garpow said, park models could potentially no longer be allowed in RV parks and campgrounds.