California waiver program encourages more mobile home owners to register | TheUnion.com

California waiver program encourages more mobile home owners to register

Jake Abbott
Special to The Union

There are more than half a million California families living in mobile homes or manufactured homes, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and about one-third of those are estimated to lack the proper registration.

That's why the state is offering a limited-time program to help those homeowners secure the proper title by waiving different fees and taxes.

The state registration program – called Register Your Mobile Home California – runs through the end of 2019 and waives certain state and local fees and taxes that could save a mobile homeowner thousands of dollars, according to HCD.

"Many homeowners purchased their property thinking they had all the proper documents, but later found out that the prior owner left them with unpaid fees and taxes," said Ben Metcalf, director of HCD, in a press release. "The state program offers a way out of that problem."

Yuba County Assessor Bruce Stottlemeyer said mobile home owners in the county have experienced similar issues.

"One problem we have that is unique to that property type is trying to verify who owns them," Stottlemeyer said. "A lot of the times we see that new or old owners don't follow through with all of the paperwork required."

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Metcalf said mobile home owners without the proper title and registration cannot buy flood and fire insurance, will likely have issues or hold-ups in selling or transferring a title, cannot follow through with many home-improvement projects that require a building permit, and aren't eligible for financial assistance programs through utility companies.

Any mobile home constructed after July 1, 1980, is required to register through the HCD. Those units also became taxable by counties, adding to a local assessor's property tax rolls, said Lori Munz, assistant assessor for Sutter County. Before that, mobile home owners only had to register through the Department of Motor Vehicles and were subject to licensing fees.

"Any time a mobile home transfers ownership, HCD lets us know, and we go in and update the tax roll," Munz said.

The state created a website – http://www.RegisterYourMobilehomeCA.org – that provides homeowners with information regarding the waiver program. Mobile home and manufactured homeowners can also reach the California Department of Housing and Community Development by calling 1-800-952-8356 for more information.

Jake Abbott is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. Contact him at jabbott@appealdemocrat.com.

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