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Issue  37  Article  84
Published:  8/1/1998

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More on Modular Homes - An Update on Briggs v. Rankin
Chris Burti, Vice President and Legal Counsel

In the December, 1997 (Vol. 3, Issue 12) issue of our newsletter we commented on Briggs v Rankin, 491 S.E.2d 234 ( N.C.App. 1997) the North Carolina Court of Appeals opinion defining Modular Homes for the purpose of interpreting the application of restrictive covenants. That panel broadened the definition so that more units may be installed in the future without violating traditional subdivision restrictions. The Court listed some characteristics of the finished structure in order to determine which category the home fell under; "(1) whether the structure must comply with the N.C. Regulations for Manufactured/Mobile Homes, which are consistent with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) national regulations, or with the Building Code; (2) whether the structure is attached to a permanent foundation; (3) whether, after constructed, the structure can easily be moved or has to be moved like site-built home; (4) whether title to the home is registered with the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles or title must be conveyed by a real property deed; and (5) how the structure is delivered to the homesite."

The Court of Appeals distinguished Young v. Lomax, 122 N.C.App. 385, 470 S.E.2d 80,(1996) in which the unit was transported to the site with attached wheels and tongue.

While those facts were present in Briggs they were not found to be determining. The North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed in a per curiam opinion. With this affirmation of the decision we can feel reasonably secure in insuring modular homes meeting the following criteria.

  • Compliance of the Structure with the N.C. State Building Code
  • Proper issuance of a building permit
  • Lack of a Certificate of Origin or DMV title
  • Existence of a Bill of Sale
  • Proposed attachment to a permanent foundation
  • Lack of a prohibition of Modular Homes in the restrictive covenants

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