Oklahoma Mobile (Manufactured) Home Guide
Oklahoma’s housing market contains hundreds of thousands of mobile and manufactured homes, and that share of the market continues to grow every year. Oklahoma mobile home law is different than many other states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas; in Oklahoma, there is no centralized set of laws governing all matters related to manufactured housing definitions, building codes, installation, moving, taxation, and landlord-tenant law.
See a brief breakdown of each issue below, which should help you navigate the complex organization of Oklahoma’s manufactured housing rules.
Are mobile homes and manufactured homes the same thing under Oklahoma law?
- Mobile Home – Under Oklahoma law, “Mobile Home” means a residential dwelling fabricated in an off-site manufacturing facility, designed to be a permanent residence, but which is still transportable, that was built prior to the enacting of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C., Section 5401 et seq.) (from Oklahoma Statutes, Title 47, Section 581).
- Manufactured Home – Under Oklahoma law, “Manufactured home” means a residential dwelling in one or more sections built in accordance with the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (also from 42 U.S.C., Section 5401 et seq.) and rules promulgated pursuant thereto (also from Oklahoma Statutes, Title 47, Section 581).
Manufactured Home Building Code
Manufactured homes are built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This is known as the HUD Code. Homes built after adoption of the HUD Code are known as “Manufactured Homes”, while pre-adoption buildings are known as “mobile homes.”
Who regulates manufactured homes in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission is the primary state entity responsible for overseeing manufactured housing in Oklahoma. The UMVPC regulates manufactured home dealers, restricted manufactured home park dealers, manufactured home installers, manufactured home manufacturers, and certified manufactured home installation inspectors.
The UMVPC does not regulate sales of manufactured homes that occur outside the state of Oklahoma, sales between individuals (or mobile home sellers that are not primarily engaged in the business of selling or leasing mobile homes), or buildings not built to the HUD Code (such as oilfield homes). This means that all sellers must be licensed unless they personally resided in the home being sold.
The commission also promulgates administrative rules for all relevant manufactured housing issues in Oklahoma.
All administrative rules and statutes mentioned in this article can be viewed for free on the Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN) website.
Mobile Home Parks and Manufactured Home Communities
The majority of manufactured homes in Oklahoma are located in multi-home sites traditionally known as mobile home parks, manufactured home communities, or manufactured housing communities.
Most parks/communities have either a rental, sales, or mixed business model. Under a pure rental model, the community owns the home and lot, and the tenant leases both. Under a sales model, the community sells the home to the tenant (typically through a retail installment sales contract (RISC)) and the tenant leases only the lot. Under a mixed model, a third party typically owns the home, and the tenant or the third party leases the lot from the community.
To sell a manufactured home within the park/community boundaries, the seller must be licensed as a restricted dealer; you can check to see whether your dealer has a license on the UMVPC site here. An extremely common misconception in Oklahoma manufactured home communities is that the seller community can hold the certificate of title for the specific home (registered by VIN with the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) or a local tag agency which reports to OTC) until the buyer completes the full payment schedule (amortization schedule); this may be true in other states (title theory states), but this practice violates Oklahoma laws.
Instead, Oklahoma is a lien theory state, meaning title must be transferred to the buyer at the time the seller accepts a first payment (usually a down payment) toward the purchase of the home. The first payment also represents the fact that the buyer has acquired some interest and equity in the home. As a result of the buyer accruing equity in the asset, the seller must foreclose (as opposed to evict) if the buyer defaults in making payments; this is a more time-consuming and costly procedure compared to forcible entry and detainer (i.e. eviction).
It is also common practice for parks/communities to charge entry and exit fees for homes owned by individual residents. Oklahoma law does not prohibit this practice at the time of this article, but each party should beware of the conditions and amounts of such fees before using this idea in their contracts.
Finally, Oklahoma does not (yet) have a statute allowing a right of first refusal to community tenants, making Oklahoma a great investor target location for buying, stabilizing, and then refinancing, reselling, or holding community ownership.
Who regulates moving manufactured homes in Oklahoma?
Generally, manufactured homes must be permitted to be moved. Oklahoma has a number of companies which specialize in moving manufactured homes and often provide free quotes.
Recently, some cities, towns, and municipalities across Oklahoma have introduced their own restrictions requiring a permit and bonding prior to moving a manufactured home within city limits. The movement of homes is often viewed as having a substantial burden on the community infrastructure, as it can be hard on roads built for less intensive traffic.
Where Can I Install a Manufactured Home?
There are two types of geographic restrictions which can prevent an owner from installing a manufactured home in certain locations.
First, private land restrictions, such as restrictive covenants and deed restrictions, typically prevent landowners from installing manufactured homes within traditional single-family neighborhoods.
Second, public restrictions, such as zoning ordinances, typically prevent landowners from installing manufactured homes within certain areas of the city, town, or county. There is usually a possibility of an ordinance variance, so owners may be able to seek the ability to install a home within an otherwise restricted zone.
Property Taxes on Manufactured Homes
Taxation can be one of the most complex issues related to manufactured housing. All homes will be taxed, it’s just a question of where and how the tax will be collected. Manufactured homes can be taxed as either (A) personal property, which would require payment to the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC), or (B) real property, which would be paid to the county tax assessor in the county where the home is located.
Generally, most manufactured home taxes are collected through OTC because manufactured homes are, by default, deemed personal property under Oklahoma law, subject to state certificate of title rules. This means owners will pay tax on their homes just like they would a vehicle. In order to change the tax collection method, owners have to affirmatively file forms with OTC and their county assessor to surrender the certificate of title to the home, thereby formally merging title to the home with title to the real estate where the home is located.
Oklahoma Mobile Home Landlord Tenant Law
Landlord-tenant law is centralized in Oklahoma statute in the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Oklahoma Statutes, Title 41, Section 101 et seq.). The Act applies to all residential leasing relationships within the state, which means any arrangements that include lease-to-own, rent-to-own, lease-purchase, or traditional sales structures are covered by private agreement rather than state statutes. However, there are undoubtedly elements of a landlord-tenant relationship present in most lease-to-own, rent-to-own, and lease-purchase relationships, so some portions of the act may still be applicable depending on the structure and language of the written agreement.
Selling Oklahoma Land and Mobile Home Together
There are numerous issues related to selling title to both real estate and manufactured homes. If the home’s title has not been formally surrendered and therefore merged with title to the land, the seller should convey (and buyer should receive) two different titles; a deed for the land and a certificate of title for the home. If the titles are believed to have been merged, buyers should be sure that title is clearly held by the seller, as well as clarify with their mortgage lender whether the home and land are both being collateralized for the loan. See our article on Selling a Mobile Home and Land in the Same Transaction in Oklahoma for more.
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