You just acquired a piece of land from a tax deed auction and there is a mobile home on it; what does this mean to you as purchaser? Do you now own the mobile home as well? Can you move it off of the property? We have had the opportunity to assist our clients with quite a few mobile home issues lately, and we decided to write this post to help answer a few of these questions for your benefit too.
The first thing to determine is if the mobile home is included as part of the parcel that you purchased at auction. Some counties will list the mobile home Vehicle Identification Number on the tax deed itself, but other times you will have to dig a little deeper and it is not always easy to establish that the mobile home is part of the parcel of real property.
Some outside considerations to determine if the mobile home is part of the parcel you purchased at the tax deed auction are: 1) Is it permanently affixed to the land? 2) Are standard utilities connected? 3) Has a ‘Real Property’ decal been issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV)? 4) Was the property previously claimed as homestead? 5) Was the mobile home owned by the same person who owned the land prior to the tax deed sale? 6) Was the mobile home part of the basis of the taxes that were part of the tax deed sale?
You can contact the local Property Appraiser and DMV for the county where the property is located for more information. In the event the mobile home was sold as part of the parcel, you should be able to go to the Tax Collector with an Application for Title, a copy of the tax deed to establish your bill of sale, and the property card to obtain the transfer of title to the mobile home for your benefit if it has not been retired.
For our clients, we have been able to assist in getting this straightened out with the varying county Tax Collectors and helping them establish procedure for these types of issues.
What if there is a mortgage or liens on the mobile home? Just like any other real property sold at tax deed auction in Florida, the third party interests are extinguished if they were given proper notice of the sale prior to the auction, with the exceptions as provided by statute. If you would like more information on the survivability of various liens, watch our Senior Staff Attorney, Megan Schmidt’s, presentation at the 2016 National Tax Lien Association conference here!
Now, if the mobile home is not part of the parcel of real property, then technically it is still considered to be the personal property of someone else, like a car. The first indication is a ‘Mobile Home’ decal from the county tax collector’s office, and most likely the owner of the mobile home does not own the land where it is sitting.
So how does this second scenario affect you as the purchaser of the vacant land? Since the mobile home is considered personal property of someone else you will need to get the County Sheriff involved in moving the home and/or getting an eviction order.
If you are unable to get the title from the DMV, and you want to keep the mobile home, you would likely need to file a Quiet Title Action in order to obtain a formal decree from a Judge that the mobile home should be considered Real Property and conveyed with the land. The success of this Quiet Title Action will depend in large part on the information you are able to gather from the property appraiser as outlined above, and whether the mobile home is occupied or not.
If you would like more information on this issue or have any other technical questions regarding tax deeds, schedule a complimentary attorney consultation with one of our highly experienced real estate attorneys here!
Cassandra June 2, 2016