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November 6, 2023

Mobile Home Title Transfers in Texas: Everything You Need to Know

Navigating the complexities of real estate transactions can be quite intimidating, and not to mention the process becomes even more specialized when it involves mobile homes. In Texas, the procedure for transferring ownership of a mobile home is unique and governed by specific regulations. So, whether you’re a buyer looking to acquire a mobile home or a seller aiming to transfer ownership, understanding the intricacies of this process is crucial. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to help you through each step of mobile home title transfers in Texas, ensuring a smooth and legally compliant transition.

What is a Mobile Home Title?

A mobile home title is a legal document establishing ownership of the home. It contains vital information such as the make, model, and serial number of the home, as well as details about the owner and any lienholders. This document is crucial when buying, selling, or making any changes to the mobile home’s status, such as moving it or converting it into real property.

However, it’s essential to note that Texas has moved away from traditional mobile home titles. Instead, the state issues a “Statement of Ownership,” a document that serves a similar purpose but has its own rules and procedures.

Statement of Ownership vs. Traditional Titles

In Texas, the transition from using Certificates of Title to Statements of Ownership occurred in June 2003. This change aimed to streamline the process and make it easier for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to manage mobile home transactions. A Statement of Ownership is more than just a title; it’s a comprehensive document that confirms not only the ownership of the mobile home but also any liens against it, its physical location, and its status as personal or real property.

The Statement of Ownership is issued by the Manufactured Housing Division (MHD) of the TDHCA and is required in various scenarios. These include when the mobile home is sold, when it’s moved, when there’s a change in lien information, or when its status changes from personal property to real property or vice versa. Understanding the importance and utility of the Statement of Ownership in Texas is crucial for anyone involved in a mobile home transaction.

When Do You Need to Apply for a Statement of Ownership?

Understanding when to apply for or update a Statement of Ownership is crucial for ensuring a smooth and legally compliant mobile home transaction in Texas. Here are some key scenarios that require this action:

  • Sale of the Mobile Home: Whenever a mobile home changes hands, the new owner must apply for a Statement of Ownership within 60 days of the sale date to avoid late fees and delays.
  • Change in the Mobile Home’s Location: If you plan to move your mobile home to a different location, you must update your Statement of Ownership to reflect the new address.
  • Conversion from Personal Property to Real Property: If you decide to attach your mobile home to a piece of land you own or lease, converting it from personal property to real property, you must apply for a new Statement of Ownership.
  • Change in Lien Information: If there’s a change in lien information, such as paying off a mortgage or taking out a new loan against the mobile home, this change must be reflected in an updated Statement of Ownership.
  • Change in Use: If the mobile home’s use changes, for example, from residential to non-residential or vice versa, a new Statement of Ownership is required.

How to Apply for a Statement of Ownership

Applying for a Statement of Ownership involves several steps and requires careful attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  • Gather Required Documents: Before you begin the application process, gather all necessary supporting documents. These may include a bill of sale, contract, deed, purchase agreement, or sale receipts.
  • Complete the Application Form: The application form is usually found on the TDHCA’s website. Fill it out completely, ensuring all information is accurate.
  • Submit to MHD: Once the form is complete and all documents are gathered, submit your application to the Manufactured Housing Division (MHD) of the TDHCA. This can often be done online, though some may prefer to mail in their application.
  • Wait for Review: After submission, the MHD will review your application. If any information is missing or incorrect, they will notify you and may request additional information.
  • Receive Your Statement of Ownership: Once the application is approved, the MHD will issue a Statement of Ownership. This will be mailed to you and any lienholders, confirming the mobile home’s ownership, location, and other pertinent details.

Understanding the role of the MHD in this process is crucial. They are the authoritative body that reviews and approves all applications for Statements of Ownership, ensuring that all mobile home transactions in Texas are conducted according to state regulations.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Navigating obtaining or updating a Statement of Ownership can be fraught with pitfalls if you’re not careful. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • Missing the 60-Day Deadline: One of the most common errors is failing to apply for a Statement of Ownership within 60 days of acquiring the mobile home. This can result in late fees and delays in document issuance. To avoid this, mark your calendar and set reminders.
  • Incomplete Applications: Submitting an incomplete application can lead to delays and additional correspondence with the MHD. Ensure you’ve filled out all sections of the application form and attached all required documents.
  • Incorrect Information: Providing incorrect information, whether unintentional or otherwise, can lead to complications and may require you to restart the application process. Double-check all entries before submission.
  • Ignoring Lien Information: If there’s a lien on the mobile home, it’s crucial to include this information in the application. Failure to do so can result in legal complications.
  • Expedited Processing: If you’re in a hurry, you can expedite the process by paying an additional service fee. This will reduce the processing time to within five business days from receipt of the application.

By being aware of these common mistakes and avoiding them, you can ensure a smoother, more efficient process.

Changing a Mobile Home to Real Property

Converting a mobile home from personal property to real property is a significant step that comes with its own set of requirements and procedures. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Land Ownership or Lease: The first requirement is that the mobile home must be attached to land you own or lease under a qualifying, long-term lease agreement.
  • Lien Holder Consent: If there’s a lien on the mobile home, you’ll need written consent from the lien holder to proceed with the conversion. This consent must be filed with the TDHCA as part of your application for a new Statement of Ownership.
  • Application for Statement of Ownership: You’ll need to submit a new application, complete with all supporting documentation and fees, to the MHD of the TDHCA. This should include evidence of land ownership or a qualifying lease, as well as lien holder consent, if applicable.
  • Title Commitment: If a title company handles the transaction, the TDHCA will require a copy of the title commitment or policy as part of the application.
  • County Clerk Recording: Once the TDHCA approves your application and issues a new Statement of Ownership, the final step is to record this document with the county clerk’s office where the mobile home is located.

Additional Considerations

While the most common reasons for needing a Statement of Ownership have been covered, there are additional scenarios where this document is crucial. For instance, if you’re changing the use of your mobile home from residential to business or vice versa, a new Statement of Ownership is required. Similarly, if you’re planning to move your mobile home to a different location, updating this document is essential. Additionally, it’s important to consult with the county tax assessor regarding any back taxes owed on the mobile home, as settling these is often a prerequisite for transferring ownership.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Home Title Transfers in Texas

Navigating the complexities of mobile home title transfers in Texas can be challenging, but understanding the process can make it much smoother. From knowing when to apply for a Statement of Ownership to understanding the role of the Manufactured Housing Division and the county tax assessor, being well-informed is your best asset. Whether you’re buying, selling, or making changes to a mobile home, this guide aims to provide you with the comprehensive information you need for a successful and legally compliant transaction. Remember, knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s the key to a smooth title transfer.

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