Manufactured and Mobile Homes: Real or Personal Property?

A frequently occurring question that arises in real estate transactions and disputes regard mobile and manufactured homes and whether they constitute an improvement upon the land in which they sit, or personal property.

This is a relevant question when the issue of title comes up in determining ownership, as well as other scenarios. When selling property are you intending to convey a mobile home with the land it sits upon? When buying property are you intending to purchase a mobile home with the land it sits upon? To ensure that the desired intent is accomplished, whether a manufactured or mobile home is considered real property or personal property becomes an important title consideration.

What is a Manufactured or Mobile Home?

In general terms, a manufactured home is defined by Tennessee law as being a transportable structure that is intended to be used as a dwelling when erected (and meets certain other additional criteria). A mobile home is defined as a vehicle or conveyance intended for travel upon public roadways, which is not self-propelled, and is designed to be used as a residence, office, apartment, storehouse, warehouse, or other similar purpose. The definition of a mobile home also INCLUDES manufactured homes as well. Therefore, in a practical sense, whether it is considered a mobile or manufactured home may make little difference.

What is Personal and Real Property?

Real property refers to land and all the structures and improvements thereto, as well as other structures or equipment which may otherwise be movable but have been affixed to the land. Personal Property refers to all other property that is not classified as real property. These definitions are very fact dependent and can result in a different classification of property under separate scenarios.

The prime example being the topic of discussion here. A mobile home can be personal property capable of being towed on public highways and subject to the same laws as other vehicles, to include licensing and title requirements. On the other hand, a mobile home that is on a foundation, underpinned or connected to a utility service may be deemed an improvement upon the land and classified as real property.

For more information in resolving issues regarding your mobile or manufactured home, please contact our office so that we may be of assistance.

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Thursday, 17 June 2021