Catoosa County has adopted an ordinance to address the abandonment of mobile homes in an attempt to give property owners a protocol in the event a trailer is deserted by a resident.

During the March 3 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, County Attorney Clifton “Skip” Patty explained the ordinance in a public hearing before the item was discussed on the official agenda.

“What we’re addressing tonight, Mr. Chairman, is the Catoosa County Abandoned Mobile Home Ordinance,” Patty said. “This ordinance is authorized under the Georgia Abandoned Mobile Home Act, which provides that when a landowner has a mobile home on his or her property that has been abandoned as defined in the ordinance — a mobile home that’s been left vacant for at least 90 days, removal of personal property from the mobile home, cancellation of insurance, termination of utility services (all those are evidences of abandonment) — the landowner can then call the county to inspect the mobile home.”

Per the new ordinance, Patty says a property owner can have mobile homes inspected to determine if they are intact or a total loss, which will then determine the next course of action.

“The mobile home would be inspected to determine whether it was derelict as defined in the act, which would be it is basically trash, or if it is intact,” Patty said. “If the home is determined to be derelict by our inspector, a notice is published on the mobile home, the owner or lien owner on the mobile home then has a period of 90 days to file a petition with the Magistrate Court.”

If the owner of the mobile home fails to file that petition, then that decision becomes final and the mobile home is disposed of — essentially scrapped out by the property owner.

In the event that the mobile home is intact, the ordinance sets up a procedure for the landowner to file a lien against the mobile home for the purpose of collecting the rent due on the mobile home at the time of the abandonment together with additional rent at the rate of $30 per day.

The ordinance then provides a procedure for foreclosure and sale of the mobile home to recover the amount that’s due on the lien.

According to Patty, the county wanted to have this ordinance in place to protect property owners against having abandoned mobile homes on their properties that they couldn’t do anything with.

“The purpose for the ordinance was to provide a mechanism for cleaning up property that has mobile homes on it that have been abandoned and are becoming in bad shape,” Patty said. “This gives a mechanism for the property owner to get rid of those mobile homes, to recover them if they are intact, or scrap them if they are derelict.”

In addition to approving the ordinance, the county also approved appointing County Zoning Director James Davis as the government official in charge of inspecting the mobile homes and designating them as either intact or derelict.

“Depending on the designation of the mobile home after inspection, the property owner can either sell an intact mobile home or scrap one that is determined to be derelict,” Patty said.

The fee for such an inspection was set at $250, which is $65 per hour for the time expected Davis would need to make such an inspection.

“It is an inspection of the mobile home to make a determination as to whether it’s derelict or intact, and I don’t think you can do that except by an in-person, in-mobile home inspection,” Patty said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the ordinance, Davis as the inspector, and the $250 inspection fee.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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