Paying Taxes On Abandoned Mobile Homes

One of our previous residents left the community, leaving his home in the park. Of course the home was trashed inside and outside and is a 1970’s 14x70 2bd/1ba that now will require complete rehab - roof, all floors, siding, … everything! The good news is that his account with the park was paid up, except for a couple of months of space rent; yet he had not paid his taxes to the county for a few years. What happens now? The county says a tax sale has been started on the home and we must pay about $700 to be able to get the title in the park’s name. However, who really owns the home at this point? The previous resident will sign the title over to us (i.e., the park) yet really the best thing seems to just send it to MH-heaven although no one - except us - would pay for the removal; however we would need to pay the back taxes to own the home in order to legally get rid of it. This must be a normal issue that comes up with owning parks. How do you seasoned park owners typically deal with this type of issue?

Great question- and depending on your state the answer will change a bit. The short answer is- in the long run whoever pays the taxes at the tax sale will own the home. So lets say the home were in Colorado- after my paying the taxes for 3 years at a sale, I can apply for the title and the home is mine. Period. Even if someone lives there. I can kick them out and move the home, sell the home- whatever I want.

So- we tend to pay the taxes and move on with our lives. In some states, you might be able to get the tax amount reduced… not all states will do that though.

It is a cost of doing business…

For what it is worth- we put in our lease the tenant must keep up with taxes owed to the county. Then if we see the bill is not paid- and you can do a pretty simple search of the homes that are delinquent, we would stand on our heads to get them to pay. We can also pay it for them, and then bill them for the amount.

Sounds like a pain, but being proactive saves many headaches down the road- at least for me…

Do exactly as Jim says. Change your leases so that the monkey is on the back of the resident and not you. I require all residents to show proof of taxes paid for the current year when they sign their new lease agreements every year. Don’t want to provide proof? Not a problem as I will do it for you, however, I charge $25 to call the county. Haven’t paid? Again, no big deal as I will pay it for you out of your next rent payment but then you will be late and owe me a $50 late fee and another $50 charge for me to actually pay the taxes. Plus instead of a $5 increase in rent and security deposit, you get your rent and security deposit increased by $10. The residents figure out pretty quickly that it’s way cheaper to pay the taxes than to not do it.


Wheat Hill