Legal Question in Real Estate Law in South Carolina

I purchased a lot with an older mobile home on it a few years ago from "XYZ" Inc., owned by a "friend" of mine. At the time, he said he did not know where the mobile home title was, nor if it was even in his name (he got the property from ABC, Inc., his father). So, we included the mobile home in the deed. Now, 3 years later, after asking the county to put the billing of the MH in my name, the county informs me that it cannot be deeded, but that there must be a title transfer. Therefore, technically, I am not the owner, even though intent is shown on the deed. I tried to secure the actual record of ownership from the DMV, but I don't know who it's titled to, and the MH has been "renovated" so many times that there are no longer any identifiers to be found on it (Model, Serial, Age, etc.). Therefore, DMV cannot help me. If my "friend" does not provide me with title, what are my options? I cannot afford to take this to court. I am in Florida. The property and the seller are in South Carolina. I want to sell the property, but what am I to do about this mobile home?

Asked on 1/05/13, 2:09 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Johnston Law Offices of Robert J. Johnston

You said, "Therefore, technically, I am not the owner...."

I have good news for you. Technically, you are the owner.

Unfortunately, it appears that you did not get the advise from DMV. I have never dealt with this exactly scenerio, so I cannot absolutely guarantee the results, but my guess is that you should be able to get a title from DMV by talking with a different person. There is a process for replacing a lost title and they can advise you on that. You might also find information on their website. If you stop and think about it, that is exactly what your problem is. The title is lost.

As far as the information that goes on a title, such as the manufacturer, year, model, and so forth, someone at DMV should be able to advise you on that as well. I do not know the process, but if its been remodeled to the point of not being able to determine that information, then you may be able to deal with it just like you would if someone had made/constructed the mobile home themselve. A "homemade" mobile home. That is done all the time with cars and motorcycles.

You will have to check that the language in the deed will suffice as a receipt. Otherwise, they may ask you for one. There is no legal reason why a person cannot get a receipt for soemthing they bought prior in time.

The DMV, as with any other big governmental agency or large corporation, is just one of those places where you have to be patient and accept the fact that different people who get on the phone with you are going to give you different degrees, amounts, and quality of assistance. You obviously need to speak with someone else at the DMV.

You have an unidentifiable mobile home and a lost title. Both of those problems have remedies. You might have to try and resolve them one at a time.

A couple other thoughts. You might want to try the county treasurers office and see if they have any records on the mobile home based on the address or the Tax ID number. Also, if the mobile home was ever insured, it would have to have specifics on the policy. Lastly, its possible that someone who is very experienced in mobile homes, such as one that has been selling them, constructing them or repairing them, might have a way of determining the manufacurer. You might also try some creative Internet searches on how to figure it out.

Good luck

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Answered on 1/06/13, 8:14 pm

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