July 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
The COA’s June 24, 2014, decision in O’Neal v. Ketchum is notable primarily because it deals with an unmarried couple and their joint property issues.
But the case also addresses an issue that arises with some frequency in real property litigation, divorces, and probate matters: when is a mobile home considered to be real property?
In O’Neal, the appellant argued that the chancellor erred in concluding that the mobile home was not a fixture because, the chancellor held, neither party had proved that it was.
The COA affirmed. Judge Lee’s opinion spells it what it takes to establish that a mobile home is a fixture:
¶14. For a mobile home to be considered real property, the specific requirements of Mississippi Code Annotated section 27-53-15 (Rev. 2010) must be met. Under section 27-53-15, first, the mobile home’s wheels and axles must be removed, and the home must be affixed to a permanent foundation by anchoring and blocking it to comply with the rules and procedures of the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Mississippi. Then, the mobile home must be entered on the land rolls of the county tax assessor, and it must be taxed as real property from that date. Lastly, the county tax assessor must issue a certificate certifying that the mobile home is real property, and the tax assessor must file the certificate in the land records. For a security interest to be perfected, the mobile home’s description must be included in the deed of trust. See Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Brechtel, 81 So. 3d 277, 279 (¶8) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012).
¶15. At trial, no evidence was presented that the mobile home’s wheels and axles had been removed or that it had been attached to a permanent foundation. Additionally, no evidence was presented that a certification of the mobile home as real property had been entered with the county tax assessor. The deed encompassed the land “together with all improvements and appurtenances now or hereafter erected on [it], and all fixtures of any and every description[,]” but the deed made no mention of the mobile home.
¶16. Neither party asserted that the mobile home had become a fixture on the property. The chancellor determined that because no evidence was presented that the mobile home’s wheels were removed, that the home was attached to a foundation or placed on blocks, or that the home was assessed as real property for tax purposes, the mobile home had not become a fixture. The chancellor’s findings were supported by substantial evidence. This issue is without merit.