Trailers and modular units that are designed to serve as a dwelling or place of business are considered real property if installed permanently at a given location so as to seem fixed to the land as a permanent structure. Grantees considering using trailers and modular will find this information useful.
Allowable only if considered equipment as provided below. A “trailer” is defined as a portable vehicle built on a chassis that is designed to be hauled from one site to another by a separate means of propulsion and that serves, wherever parked, as a dwelling or place of business.
A "modular unit" is a prefabricated portable unit designed to be moved to a site and assembled on a foundation to serve as a dwelling or a place of business. The determination of whether costs to acquire trailers or modular units are allowable charges to HHS grant-supported projects depends on whether such units are classified as real property or equipment. The classification will depend on whether the recipient’s intended use of the property is permanent or temporary.
A trailer or modular unit is considered real property when the unit and its installation are designed or planned to be installed permanently at a given location so as to seem fixed to the land as a permanent structure or appurtenance thereto. Units classified as real property may not be charged to an HHS grant-supported project unless authorizing legislation permits construction or acquisition of real property and the specific purchase is approved by the operating division (OPDIV).
A trailer or modular unit is considered equipment when the unit and its installation are designed or planned to be used at any given location for a limited time only. Units classified as equipment may be charged to HHS grant-supported projects only if the terms and conditions of the award do not prohibit the purchase of equipment and OPDIV prior approval is obtained, as appropriate.
A trailer or modular unit properly classified as real property or as equipment at the time of acquisition retains that classification for the life of the item, thereby determining the appropriate accountability requirements under 45 CFR 74.32 or 74.34 or 92.31 or 92.32, as applicable.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Program Management and Fiscal Operations
Audience: Directors and Managers
Last Updated: August 8, 2023