Ridley Home Service -                             Foundation Specialists
What is a permanent foundation, and why do I need one?
When you buy (or sell) a manufactured / mobile home, many times the loan involved in real estate transaction will either be an FHA or VA loan.  However, FHA and VA will only fund the loan if you can prove that the foundation under the home is a permanent foundation.But what is a "permanent foundation" and where do I find it's proper definition?  Well, in HUD Publication 7584, is where you will find its definition.  The definition is quite extensive and geared, mainly, towards professional engineers.  The HUD 7584 publication is also called the HUD Permanent Foundation Guide for Manufactured Homes, or PFGMH.  It is published by the United States department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  This 400 page manual is intended for new construction of manufactured home permanent foundations. If you have an existing foundation and are in need of a permanent foundation certification, then the existing permanent foundation shall meet the intent of the PFGMH.A manufactured mobile home foundation that does not meet the intent of the PFGMH is considered non-compliant, and one that does meet the intent of the PFGMH is considered compliant.  Only a professional engineer licensed in the state of where the home is located can make this determination.In its most simplistic definition, a permanent foundation will generally consist of a skirting to keep out vermin and water, footings and piers to support the home from gravity loads (such as snow and live loads), anchorage to resist lateral loads such as high winds or an earthquake, and other considerations.The reason why a professional engineer is required to determine whether it is permanent or not, is because of the safety issues involved with a structure that houses people.  Professional engineers have the training and educational background to determine if the foundation is safe and habitable, and also "permanent" as defined by HUD.
California 433a and Manufactured Home Engineering Foundation Certifications and HCD Form 513C
We get questions about the California 433a process quite often in our office. In this article I will answer the following questions concerning manufactured homes in California:
  1. What is California Form 433a?
  2. What does a recorded 433a document in California accomplish?
  3. What is the process in filing a California 433a?
So, let's go ahead and get right into it...1. What is a California 433a?In California, to convert the manufactured home to real property, Form 433a must be recorded. Generally speaking, the recorded 433A is required by the mortgage lender and/or the Title Company. Form 433A is a California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Form. It is also known as "Installation of a Manufactured Home on a Foundation System".The California Department of Housing and Community Development requires manufactured housing owners who affix their units to foundation systems to record a form known as Form 433A with HCD. The form is to be completed at the time a building permit is issued. After installation has been approved and on the same day the certificate of occupancy has been issued, HCD shall record Form 433A with the county recorder's office. Thus, a preliminary title report should reveal whether a Form 433A was recorded.2. What does a recorded 433a document in California accomplish?When completed by the governing building division and recorded by the City/County Recorder, the form certifies that the manufactured home was installed on a California-approved permanent foundation or foundation system and acts as an investment instrument (security) to the mortgage lender, the Title Company and even the homeowner.Once recorded it ensures that:
  • the manufactured home has been placed on an appropriate foundation. After this, it is no longer personal property, but real property subject to real property taxes.
  • a professional engineer, licensed in the State of California, has certified that the foundation has been installed according to the appropriate standards.
3. What is the process for filing and recording a 433a in California?In general terms, it means: 1) applying for a permit, 2) installing an engineered retrofit, 3) obtaining an engineer's certificate of compliance, 4) inspection by the governing building department, and finally 5) recording the 433a document.To be more complete, prior to installation of the manufactured home on the foundation system, the owner or a licensed contractor shall obtain a building permit from the appropriate enforcement agency (city, county, etc.). To obtain a permit, the owner or contractor shall first provide the following:
  1. Written evidence that owner owns, holds title to, or is purchasing the real property where the mobile home is to be installed on a foundation system.
  2. Written evidence acceptable to the enforcement agency that the registered owner owns the manufactured home.
  3. If it is a new manufactured home on a new foundation, then required plans and specifications need to be designed by an engineer licensed in California. If it is an older manufactured home on an existing foundation, then a certification by a California licensed engineer will be required; this may require the design of a retrofit to meet appropriate standards.
  4. Applicable permitting fees.
  5. Manufactured Home Foundation Certifications