In a world where the housing market is at an all-time high, and houses are being sold before hitting the market, showing proof of ownership or good title to your home is paramount as a homeowner.
Manufactured homes are an affordable option for many homebuyers who own land and want to build a home. However, it is important for all manufactured homeowners to understand that title to the manufactured home does not automatically attach to the land like a traditionally built home does, and so knowledge of the procedures for obtaining a title to a manufactured home in Michigan is imperative. Recently, there have been changes for obtaining a manufactured home title that will affect nearly all manufactured homeowners.
In the state of Michigan, it is the homebuyer’s responsibility to inquire and obtain a title to a manufactured home not the manufacturer of the home. Many homebuyers forget or are unaware they need to obtain a title to their manufactured home until it becomes time to sell or prove ownership of their manufactured home.
Prior to October 2021, the state of Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs “LARA” was the state organization that implemented the procedure and policies for obtaining a manufactured home title. If a manufactured homeowner lost the manufactured home title or never procured a title at the time the home was purchased, then the homeowner would have to follow LARA’s policies and procedures to obtain a title to the manufactured home. LARA required a fee and had a set procedure implemented for a homebuyer to illustrate proof of ownership.
However, in October 2021, the State of Michigan effectively made the Secretary of State the state entity in charge of issuing manufactured home titles. The Secretary of State has a distinct and vastly different procedure compared to LARA for homebuyers to obtain a manufactured home title.
In order to get a replacement manufactured home title or new title if one was never obtained at the time of purchase from the Secretary of State, the homebuyer is required to obtain a court order. This means a complaint and motion must be filed with the Circuit Court where the property or manufactured home is located. Obtaining a manufactured home title is no longer a simple application and fee process as it was under LARA’s procedures. This also means the homeowner may require legal counsel to assist with the process.
In the court process, the court will require a detailed history of ownership, proof of ownership, the manufactured home’s serial number, and any other identifying information to establish the party or homeowner is in fact the current owner of the manufactured home. Documentation proving ownership may come in the form of sales receipts, a judgment of divorce, purchase agreement, will, and manufacturer records. This usually means sorting through years of documents to present to the court.
The Circuit Court will require the manufactured homeowner name a defendant on the complaint and accompanying motion. The defendant in this type of court proceeding does not have to be an adverse party. On the contrary, for the purposes of this type of complaint, the defendant may be the manufacturer, the Secretary of State, the State of Michigan, or an adverse party claiming an ownership interest in the manufactured home.
Naming a defendant could be problematic if the homeowner bought a manufactured home years prior from a manufactured home manufacturer that is no longer in business and there is no adverse party contesting ownership. If there is no defendant to name, the homeowner will likely have to go through a publication process where the homeowner will have to publish notice of homeownership and intent to obtain a title in a newspaper. This is a simplification of the publication process. In short, it means the homeowner will not likely receive a quick resolution to obtain a manufactured home title. The court process will take a minimum of six (6) months.
This is why having an attorney guide and assist you through the process is important. The attorneys at HaasCaywood PC are happy to answer all your questions about your manufactured home title and to schedule a consultation.
Prepared by Stephanie A. Gatt