Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homesteads on manufactured homes

A little noticed provision of both the old and new homestead law allowed the owner of a "manufactured home" - which I believe includes mobile homes of the type that sit in "mobile home parks" and serve as the primary residence of inhabitants - to file a homestead. Under the former law, such homesteads were filed with the Town Clerk for the town in which the mobile home was located. The new law changed that. Now, such homesteads are to be recorded at the registry of deeds.

One problem with this new practice involves the "deed reference" that should appear on the homestead. The owner of the mobile home typically owns just the home and not the land upon which it sits. In that case, there would be no deed into the mobile home owner. What to put on the homestead form? My recommendation is that the declarant of the homestead cite the book and page number of the deed into the owner of the property - presumably the person or entity to whom the mobile home owner pays rent.

As a practical matter, I don't believe that a homestead must contain any deed reference. I believe the practice prevails for at least two reasons: the homestead must adequately describe the property. Relying solely on the address can be troublesome as addresses vary over time. Therefore, it's better to have some parallel means of identifying the property. That could be the full property description that would typically be in the deed, or it could be an "incorporation by reference" inclusion of the book and page number of the deed.

Beyond describing the property adequately, including the deed book and page number tells us whether the property is registered land or recorded land. Placing the homestead on the proper "side" of the registry is critically important to the validity of the homestead. For that reason, we will require owners of "manufactured homes" to list the book and page number of the land owner's deed on the homestead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many people own the small lot underneath their mobile home, some by itself somewhere others the mobile home park is actually divided into lot units owned by the owners of the mobile homes (sort of like condos). There are many of these all over New England, not sure how many are in the Middlesex North catchment area.
Sarah Correia