Moblie Home Park Property Taxes

Mobile homes sit in rows under a stormy sky Tuesday afternoon. As property values rise in Gallatin County, tax assessments show mobile homes are becoming a hot commodity.

As property values rise in Gallatin County, tax assessments show mobile homes are becoming a hot commodity.

Gallatin County officials have heard from several owners of mobile home parks, as property tax assessments were recently released, county treasurer Jennifer Blossom said. Early estimates show about a 40% increase in property tax market values for mobile homes across Gallatin County, she said.

“We’ve gotten letters from people saying, ‘If you think my house is worth this, you can come buy it,’” Blossom said.

Montana’s Department of Revenue is responsible for setting property tax values across the state, while the county treasurer’s office helps determine how much people pay in taxes for things like law enforcement and infrastructure.

Property tax market values are determined based on factors like the property’s condition, bedrooms and nearby property values, revenue department spokesman Sanjay Talwani said. Sometimes assessors will visit a property and visually inspect it from the outside, he said.

New values used to be set every six years, but legislation made it so values were assessed every two years to better reflect changes in the market, Talwani said. That went into effect in 2015.

Some market value increases in Gallatin County were staggering. One mobile home in King Arthur Park in Bozeman saw its market value increase from $9,575 in 2013 to $54,100 in 2019. While mill levies could change the percentage the owner was taxed, the property’s taxes likely tripled.

One trailer’s market value in Big Sky increased from $5,075 in 2013 to $28,000 in 2019. Another in Bozeman went from $12,599 in 2013 to $24,700 in 2019. Blossom said she’s heard similar reports from other growing areas, like Missoula and Park counties.

Senate Bill 204, passed by the 2019 Montana Legislature, provided a property tax exemption for owners of older mobile homes worth less than $10,000, if they meet other requirements. Not many mobile homes in Gallatin County would go for under $10,000, though.

Candice Cahill lives in Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park, and she said she’s not sure if she can afford to live in Bozeman much longer. When she bought her trailer in 2014, she said it was worth $27,000. Now, after doing nothing to it besides building a shed next to it, she said her mobile home is worth $60,000.

While the taxable value hasn’t increased at the same rate as the market value, she said her lot rent for her trailer has gone up each year, and she’s considering moving with her family to an area of Arizona where she could afford to buy a house.

She said she feels like Bozeman’s method of dealing with growth isn’t forward-thinking enough.

“It sucks because I love Montana and want to stay longer,” she said. “But we’re not catching up fast enough.”

Blossom said she could relate to owners of mobile homes. She lived in trailer parks with her kids for 10 years, she said. And if she had dealt with the same tax rate hikes that mobile home residents are seeing now, she would have struggled. She feels for people on fixed incomes who are seeing their taxes go up due to property value increases.

“As a human, not just a treasurer, it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes covers business and the economy for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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