The Missouri legislature has removed some of the uncertainty of determining when a manufactured home (also sometimes known as a mobile home) ceases to be personal property and becomes real property. Effective March 1, 2011, the legislature established statutory procedures for converting manufactured homes into real property through a process of affixation, and for converting such real property back to personal property.
A "manufactured home" is defined in Section 700.010(6) RSMo as a "structure, transportable in one or more sections, which, in the traveling mode, is eight body feet or more in width or forty body feet or more in length, or, when erected on site, is three hundred twenty or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems contained therein. The term includes any structure that meets all of the [foregoing] requirements… except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification required by the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and complies with the standards established under Title 42 of the United States Code."
Previously, the only statutory criteria governing conversion of manufactured homes to real property were that the owner of a manufactured home attach it to a permanent foundation on real estate owned by the manufactured home owner and that the transporting apparatus be removed or modified, rendering the manufactured home impractical to reconvert to personal property. Consequently, disputes arose whether the manufactured home was actually converted to real property when the criteria were solely factual determinations. Under the new legislation found at Section 442.015 RSMo, in addition to the physical act of attachment, the owner of the real estate must file an affidavit of affixation with the office of the recorder of deeds in the county where the manufactured home is permanently affixed. The affidavit must contain or be accompanied by (i) the name of the manufacturer, the make, the model name, the model year, the dimensions and the manufacturer's serial number of the manufactured home, and whether the manufactured home is new or used; (ii) a statement that the party executing the affidavit is the owner of the real estate described therein; (iii) the street address and legal description of the real estate to which the manufactured home is or is to be affixed; (iv) a statement regarding whether the manufactured home is covered by a certificate of title; (v) a statement whether or not the manufactured home is subject to one or more security interests or liens; (vi) a statement that the manufactured home is or shall be permanently affixed to the real estate; and (vii) the name and address of a person designated for filing the certified copy of the affidavit of affixation with the Missouri Director of Revenue. There is an exception to the requirement that the land owner and the manufactured home owner be identical. If the owner of the manufactured home is not the owner of the real estate, the manufactured home owner must be in possession of the real estate under the terms of a lease in recordable form that has a term that continues for at least 20 years after the date of execution of the affidavit, and the lessor of the real estate must consent.
Once an affidavit of affixation is recorded, the statute requires that a certified copy of the affidavit of affixation be filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue together with an application for surrender of the manufacturer's certificate of origin.
After the affidavit of affixation has been recorded and the certified copy is filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue, the manufactured home is deemed to be real estate for both taxation and conveyance purposes. Thereafter, title can be transferred by deed or other form of conveyance that is effective to transfer an interest in real estate, and a mortgage, deed of trust, lien or security interest also then can attach.
If and when a manufactured home for which an affidavit of affixation has been recorded is detached or severed from the real estate to which it is affixed, the owner may record an affidavit of severance in the county real estate records where the affidavit of affixation is recorded. The statute directs the recorder of deeds to issue a certified copy of the affidavit of severance, which certified copy must be filed with the Director of Revenue. Section 700.111 RSMo also establishes a process for obtaining a new certificate of title after a manufactured home has been detached or severed from the real estate.
Section 442.015.10 RSMo prescribes the information required to be contained in the affidavit of severance, which information includes the recording information of the affidavit of affixation, a description of the manufactured home and any information which could affect the validity of the title of the manufactured home or the existence of a security interest or lien.
Forms of the both the affidavit of affixation (Form 5312) and the affidavit of severance (Form 5313) can be found on the website of the Missouri Department of Revenue at http://dor.mo.gov.
For more information on this alert, contact Marcia Charney or any of our Real Estate attorneys.