Mobilehome Taxes


In broad terms, a mobilehome is a structure, transportable in one or more sections, designed and equipped to contain one or more dwelling units, and to be used with or without a foundation system. Specifically, any trailer coach that is more than eight feet wide or forty feet long, or one that requires a permit to move on the highway, is considered a mobilehome.

Recreational vehicles, as well as buses and prefabricated housing units, are not considered mobilehomes.

For purposes of taxation, mobilehomes affixed to the land on a permanent foundation are not considered "mobile" homes, but are viewed instead as modular housing, and as such have always been taxed in the same way as conventional homes. Mobilehomes on permanent foundations are subject to supplemental taxes when appropriate, and are also entitled to all the benefits and exemptions due any homeowner. Please see our informational sections titled "Secured Property Taxes", "Supplemental Property Taxes", and "Delinquent Property Taxes" for further information on the taxation of real estate.

Prior to July 1, 1980, mobile homes (also known as manufactured homes) in California were treated as vehicles, subject to taxation through license fees. This changed with the enactment of the Mobile Home Property Tax Law of 1980, which provided for the taxing of mobile homes in a manner similar to conventional homes. Homes manufactured after July 1, 1980 are subject to local property taxes. Homes purchased prior to July 1, 1980 pay an annual vehicle license fee to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

If your mobilehome was originally purchased new on or after July 1, 1980, it was automatically subject to local property taxes. Also, if the license fees on your mobilehome, regardless of when it was originally purchased, became delinquent for more than 120 days, your mobilehome was automatically converted to the local property tax system.

You can request a voluntary conversion to local property taxes by calling (800) 952-8356 or writing to:

State of California 
Department of Housing and Community Development
P.O. Box 8111
6007 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, California 95810

Once mobilehomes have been changed to local property taxation, it is not possible to reinstate DMV license fees.

Unless you request voluntary conversion to local property taxation, you will be able to continue paying license fees. If you sell your mobilehome, the new owner likewise will pay license fees, unless he or she requests conversion.

Mobilehome title issuance is administered by the State's Department of Housing and Community Development. That department cannot transfer title of a used mobilehome subject to local property taxes without a tax clearance from the Tax Collector of the county in which the mobilehome is located. In San Luis Obispo County, you can obtain a Mobilehome Tax Clearance from the County Tax Collector's Office. The request must be in person or in writing; it cannot be done over the telephone. You must have a copy of the Registration, Certificate of Title, or Title Search from the Department of Housing and Community Development. If there are any outstanding taxes, they must be paid before a Tax Clearance Certificate can be issued.

The County Assessor places a value on any accessories which are attached to the mobilehome, such as porches, awnings, decks, etc. This accessory value generates a yearly tax bill.

Mobilehomes that are subject to local property taxation are subject to supplemental taxes. (Please see our informational section titled "Supplemental Property Taxes".)

The County Assessor determines the value of your mobilehome. Information regarding the value may be obtained from the County Assessor at (805) 781-5643.

You should first discuss the matter with the Assessor's Office. If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, there is an Assessment Appeals Board established for this purpose. Further information regarding the appeals process can be obtained by calling (805) 781-5243, or writing to:

County Clerk-Recorder
County Government Center
1055 Monterey Street, Room D-120
San Luis Obispo, California 93408

If you are appealing your assessment, your tax installments should still be paid before they become delinquent. If unpaid, penalties may accrue during the appeals process. If the outcome of your appeal results in a refund, it will be issued by the Auditor-Controller's Office.

Applications for homeowner, veteran, church, welfare or other exemptions may be obtained from the Assessor's Office. These programs allow for exemptions under specific qualifications, which result in a reduction of taxes. Additional information may be obtained from the Assessor's Office, (805) 781-5643.

The State of California administers programs which provide property tax assistance and postponement of property taxes to qualified homeowners and renters who are blind, disabled, or 62 years of age or older. For information regarding the State's Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call (800) 868-4171. For information regarding the Property Tax Postponement Program, call (800) 952-5661.

If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the County Tax Collector's Office by 5:00 p.m. on December 10th*, or payment is not postmarked by that date, a ten percent (10%) delinquent penalty is added to the unpaid balance.

If you fail to pay the second installment at the County Tax Collector's Office by 5:00 p.m. on April 10th*, or payment is not postmarked by that date, a ten percent (10%) penalty plus a delinquent cost is added to the unpaid balance.

If you fail to pay any installment at the County Tax Collector's Office by 5:00 p.m. on June 30th, or payment is not postmarked by that date, an additional penalty of 1.5 percent (1.5%) of the original unpaid tax is added on the first day of each month, beginning on July 1st. A lien will be recorded against your name, which will appear on your credit record. A release of lien fee will be charged, in addition to the original tax amount, ten percent (10%) delinquency penalty, accrued 1.5 percent (1.5%) penalty, and any delinquent collection cost.

If you fail to pay the installments of your supplemental tax bill(s) by the applicable delinquency date, the same penalties and costs accrue as for delinquent secured taxes. Please see "Supplemental Property Taxes" for more information.