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Volume 2 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 11

Opinions of Counsel index

Real property, definition of (trailers) (separate assessment) - Real Property Tax Law, § 102(12) (g); 9 NYCRR 188.2:

For purposes of assessment and taxation separately assessed mobile homes may be so classified on an assessment roll and described by serial number in addition to the description of the land on which located with no entry shown for land value.

Our advice has been requested as to listings for assessment and tax sale purposes of trailers or mobile homes situated on land separately owned by a person entitled to an exemption.

Absent the exception set forth below the value of mobile homes must be included in the assessment of the land upon which they are located. The inclusion of the value of mobile homes in the assessed value of the real property is authorized by subdivision 12(g) of section 102 of the Real Property Tax Law. However, this subdivision also provides the following direction to assessors in cases in which either the mobile home or land is entitled to an exemption.

The value of any trailer or mobile home shall be included in the assessment of the land on which it is located; provided, however, that if either the trailer or mobile home or the land on which it is located is entitled to any exemption pursuant to article four of this chapter, such trailer or mobile home shall be separately assessed in the name of the owner thereof.

This direction does not permit the assessor to exercise any discretion in cases in which an exemption is authorized for either the land or the mobile home; the assessor must separately assess the land and mobile home.

Our recommendation in any situation in which mobile homes are being assessed is that the serial number of each mobile home be specifically entered on the assessment roll as part of the description. However, in cases in which a separate assessment is necessary, each mobile home and serial number should be separately entered on the assessment roll in the name of the owner of the mobile home, and the description should include the same description as the land on which the mobile home is located.

The precise manner in which the separate assessments are entered will depend upon the form of the assessment roll. If the roll is alphabetized according to the names of the owners, then each mobile home owner’s name should be entered with a description of the land, the serial number of the mobile home and a proper classification indicating that the real property is a mobile home (9 NYCRR 188.2). The land value, of course, will be blank. If the role is arranged according to tax map numbers, then the numbered entry for the land will be followed by separate entries for each of the mobile homes, each entry being the same map number, but with the addition of the mobile home serial number and assessment roll code. And, of course, none of the entries for mobile homes will indicate any value for land.

The tax sale listing must contain a description which is sufficiently definite to identify the property, and a listing as described above will, in our opinion, satisfy the requirement. In any case, the enforcement of taxes against a mobile home will depend upon the mobile home either being on the property at the time of the enforcement (for implementation of Article 10) or within the county so that the provisions of section 926 (providing for personal liability) may be invoked against the mobile home owner.

March 16, 1973