They look like houses. They’re sitting on foundations. They have porches and garages. But many of them are problems for county assessors because they’re not houses. Assessors, homeowners, home-buyers, and builders of manufactured homes are trying again this year to change the law so some homes are not considered vehicles.

Senator Jane Cunningham of St.Louis says manufactured homes that used to be called a home on wheels or a house trailer. And as long as they were on wheels, they needed a license and a title. But once the wheels come off and the homes are anchored to a foundation or a slab they become real property–a house. There’s nothing in state law that allows assessors to reevaluate the structure as real property after that. The building remains a vehicle in state tax law. When people want to sell and buy the vehicle have trouble getting loans because banks have trouble determining what it is under the law and what kind of loan, if any, they can make.

She says Missouri is one of the few states without a way of converting personal property–namely, vehicles, into real property– a home. She says her bill could be the most consumer-friendly bill of the session in a time when affordable housing is needed.

The senate has advanced her bill toward passage.

You can listen to Bob Priddy’s story right here :61 mp3