Manufactured homes are the most important form of unsubsidized affordable housing in this country. They are home to more than twenty-two million people. The residents are predominantly lower-income, including a large proportion of older people. Yet the costs of purchasing and living in a manufactured home are unnecessarily high, because state law incorrectly categorizes the great majority of them as personal property, rather than as real property.
To correct this problem, the Uniform Law Commission recently promulgated the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act, which provides a process for converting manufactured homes from personal to real property. The Act is designed to lower the costs of living in a manufactured home and to create legal parity between the owners of manufactured and site-built homes. The author was the Reporter for the Act. A frequently expressed concern about converting the homes to real property is the tax impact for homeowners and for the government. However, no information is publicly available to determine the impact.
In this Article, Taxing Manufactured Homes, the author addresses that issue by analyzing the differences in taxes on a manufactured home that is classified as personal property with the taxes on the home if it is classified as real property. This Article also compares the different tax treatments of manufactured and site-built homes.