27 Dec Protecting Manufactured Homes in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Homestead Statute appears on its face to prohibit the protection of manufactured homes on a leased lot unless the owner is disabled or over 62. So ruled U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William C. Hillman in In re Kelly in 2005. It wasn’t appealed, and it was followed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joel B. Rosenthal in an unpublished and unappealed 2006 opinion (In re Wenners, 05-48172).
But Attorney Jack E. Houghton, Jr. disagreed and persisted before a different judge. U.S. Chief Bankruptcy Judge Henry J. Boroff recently agreed with Attorney Houghton and not with Judges Hillman or Rosenthal. He ruled that a manufactured home on a leased lot could be protected for any owner. In In re Gray issued December 7, 2007. It is not being appealed.
As Judge Boroff stated in Gray in the text surrounding Footnote 8, “a ‘plain meaning’ analysis of the Massachusetts Homestead Statute is no ‘walk in the park.’ The wording is, in parts, awkward and seemingly hyper-technical; indeed, the statute has repeatedly been criticized for its lack of clarity.”
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