Replacing Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates

Replacing Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates

Replacing Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 168A identifies certain procedures for replacing lost Minnesota manufactured home title certificates.

However, parts of Chapter 168A relate primarily to motor vehicles – and not to manufactured homes.

Minnesota Motor Vehicle Titles

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 168A is captioned – Vehicle Titles.

M.S. Section 168A.01, Subd. 24 defines a Vehicle, by providing as follows:

Subd. 24.   Vehicle.

(a)     Vehicle means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.

(b)     The term does not include: . . .

(2)     vehicles not originally constructed primarily for use on public roads and highways. . . .

Properly speaking, the statutory definition of a Vehicle does not include a manufactured home.

Conditional Registration of Title for a Minnesota Motor Vehicle

M.S., Section 168A.07 provides a statutory procedure for the conditional registration of title for a Minnesota motor vehicle, but not for a Minnesota manufactured home.

Minnesota Title Certificates – Manufactured Homes

Even though a Minnesota manufactured home does not meet the statutory definition of a Vehicle, M.S. Section 168A.04, Subd. 1 identifies that Minnesota manufactured homes are issued certificate of titles by the Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (hereinafter, “Driver and Vehicle Services”), by providing in part as follows:

168A.04 FORM AND CONTENT OF APPLICATION.

Subdivision 1.   Contents.

The application

  • for the first certificate of title of a vehicle or manufactured home in this state, or
  • for reissuance of a certificate of title for a manufactured home under section 168A.142,

shall be made by the owner to the department on the form prescribed by the department and shall contain: . . .

Minnesota Duplicate Title Certificate

M.S., Section 168A.09 is captioned – Duplicate Certificate – and identifies the procedures to be followed:

  • when a Minnesota certificate of title had been previously issued for either a Minnesota motor vehicle, or a Minnesota manufactured home,
  • which cannot be currently located.

(i)      Minnesota Lost Title Certificates

M.S. Section 168A.09, Subd. 1(a) authorizes the issuance of a Minnesota duplicate title certificate, by providing in part as follows:

In the event a certificate of title is

  • lost,
  • stolen,
  • mutilated,
  • destroyed, or
  • becomes illegible,

the owner or legal representative of the owner named in the certificate

may submit an application

to the department or a deputy registrar

for a duplicate

in a format prescribed by the department.

The official form which is to be used to request a duplicate certificate of title is PS 2067A-18 (06/13).

(ii)     Application by the Owner for a Minnesota Duplicate Title Certificate

Any lost certificate of title could relate to either:

  • a motor vehicle, or
  • a manufactured home.

However, in order for a Minnesota duplicate title certificate to be issued with respect to a lost title certificate pursuant to the procedures identified in M.S., Section 168A.09, the application for a Minnesota duplicate title certificate must be made by the owner named in the certificate.

If a person claiming ownership rights in a Minnesota manufactured home is not the owner of the manufactured home identified in the certificate of title issued by Driver and Vehicle Services, the procedures identified in M.S., Section 168A.09 would not be available.

(iii)    Conditional Duty to Issue a Minnesota Duplicate Title Certificate

M.S. Section 168A.09, Subd. 1(a) imposes a conditional duty upon Driver and Vehicle Services to issue a Minnesota duplicate title certificate in certain situations, by providing in part as follows:

The department or Deputy registrar

must issue a duplicate certificate of title

if satisfied that the applicant is entitled to the duplicate certificate of title.

Note the discretion which is allowed to Driver and Vehicle Services when making a determination as to whether the applicant is entitled to a Minnesota duplicate title certificate.

If the applicant for a Minnesota duplicate title certificate is not the owner named in the certificate which was issued by Driver and Vehicle Services, the department will not likely be satisfied that the applicant is entitled to a Minnesota duplicate title certificate.

However, if the applicant for a Minnesota duplicate title certificate is the owner named in the certificate of title which was issued by Driver and Vehicle Services, it would have the authority to issue a Minnesota duplicate title certificate pursuant to the provisions of M.S., Section 168A.09.

When a Minnesota Title Certificate Was Never Issued

If there is no evidence that a certificate of title was ever issued for a Minnesota manufactured home, the procedures identified in M.S., Section 168A.09 would not be available.

Manufactured Homes – Court Action Necessary to Obtain a Minnesota Duplicate Title Certificate

Prior to July 1, 2017, an owner of a Minnesota manufactured home who was not able to locate the certificate of title for his or her manufactured home because no certificate of title was ever issued to the owner by Driver and Vehicle Services was often required to petition for a Minnesota District Court’s Order directing Driver and Vehicle Services to issue a certificate of title for the manufactured home to the owner – pursuant to the authority of M.S. Section 168A.25 – which provides as follows:

A person aggrieved by an act or omission to act of the department under sections 168A.01 to 168A.31 is also entitled to a review thereof by the district court in accordance with law.

Non-judicial Action to Obtain a Minnesota Title Certificate

As of July 1, 2017, a Minnesota statute identified a non-judicial procedure which would allow Driver and Vehicle Services to issue a certificate of title to a person claiming ownership of a Minnesota manufactured home who cannot obtain a duplicate certificate of title from Driver and Vehicle Services pursuant to the provisions of M.S. Section 168A.09, Subd. 1(a).

While an improvement over the M.S. Section 168A.25 District Court Order procedure to which an owner of a Minnesota manufactured home was previously limited, the 2017 statute:

  • is somewhat imprecise, and
  • contains certain inconsistencies which may make reliance upon the procedures identified by the statute problematic.

The 2017 statute may perhaps best be understood by reviewing:

  • the related forms produced by Driver and Vehicle Services, and
  • the instructions thereto.

Replacing Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Situations

The 2017 Minnesota statute creating a non-judicial procedure to obtain the issuance of a certificate of title from Driver and Vehicle Services appears to address four different situations:

  1. When a certificate of origin was previously filed with Driver and Vehicle Services with respect to a Minnesota manufactured home – but a certificate of title was never issued;
  2. When a certificate of title was previously issued to a former owner of a Minnesota manufactured home – but such certificate of title has been lost – or is otherwise unavailable;
  3. When a certificate of title was previously issued to a former owner of a Minnesota manufactured home – but the owner(s) identified therein will not cooperate in the transfer of title to the person currently claiming ownership of the Minnesota manufactured home, or cannot be located; and
  4. When Driver and Vehicle Services has no record that any certificate of origin was ever filed with the department, or that any certificate of title was ever issued by the department with respect to a Minnesota manufactured home.

The 2017 Statute

The 2017 statute addresses the above title situations in a somewhat clumsy manner – by providing in part as follows:

When an applicant is unable

  • to obtain from or locate
  • previous owners no longer holding an interest in the manufactured home based on a certificate of title,

or

  • to locate, obtain, or produce the original
  • certificate of origin or certificate of title

for a manufactured home, and there is no evidence of a surrendered

  • certificate of title or
  • manufacturer’s statement of origin

as provided in section 168A.141, subdivision 1, which

  • has not otherwise been unaffixed or
  • is being unaffixed

as provided in section 168A.142, the department must

  • issue (for the first time in the event there is no evidence of any original certificate of title being issued), or
  • reissue (in the event there is evidence of an original certificate of title being issued – which has been lost – or when the owner identified in the certificate of title will not cooperate in the transfer of title to the person currently claiming ownership of the manufactured home),

a certificate of title to a manufactured home when the applicant submits:

(1)     the application, pursuant to the requirements of section 168A.04, in a form prescribed by the department;

(2)     an affidavit that:

(i)      identifies

  • the name of the manufacturer and dimensions, and
  • if available, the make, model number, model year, and manufacturer’s serial number

of the manufactured home; and

(ii)      certifies the applicant

  • is the owner of the manufactured home,
  • has physical possession of the manufactured home,
  • knows of no facts or circumstances that materially affect the validity of the title of the manufactured home as represented in the application, and
  • provides copies of such ownership documents, so far as the documents exist, including by way of example:

(A)     bill of sale;

(B)     financing, replevin, or foreclosure documents;

(C)     appraisal;

(D)     insurance certification;

(E)     personal property tax bill;

(F)     landlord certification;

(G)     affidavit of survivorship or estate documents;

(H)     divorce decree; or

(I)      court order;

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Related Matters

The 2017 statute also identifies certain legal procedures related to Minnesota manufactured home title certificates when the manufactured home is affixed to real property, including:

  1. The surrender of Minnesota title certificates – as provided in section 168A.141, subdivision 1; and
  2. The affixation of Minnesota manufactured homes to real property – as provided in section 168A.142.

Both procedures must be considered by the applicant for a title certificate, and the applicant’s legal counsel – if any.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates Attorney Affidavit

Parts of the Application for the issuance of a title certificate by Driver and Vehicle Services which was authorized by the 2017 statute may be prepared without the assistance of legal counsel – providing that the applicant is able to determine the requirements for the issuance of the requested title certificate.

However, retaining the assistance of a Minnesota licensed attorney may be advisable in certain situations – and may make the process easier.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates Attorney Services

The 2017 statute requires the services of a Minnesota licensed attorney in order:

  • to supervise the performance of certain duties, and
  • to provide an affidavit with respect to the existence of certain facts, and the satisfaction of due process requirements.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Due Process Requirements

It appears that the Minnesota Legislature has:

  • deputized Minnesota licensed attorneys to ensure the satisfaction of due process requirements with respect to title certificates for certain Minnesota manufactured homes, and
  • indirectly allocated the expense of the licensed Minnesota attorneys’ services to the applicants.

Licensed Minnesota attorneys currently ensure the satisfaction of due process requirements with respect to probate court matters they are involved in.

It appears that the Minnesota Legislature has determined that applicants for the issuance of certain title certificates with respect to Minnesota manufactured homes:

  • would have a conflict of interest in ensuring the satisfaction of due process requirements, and
  • should not be allowed to perform certain activities which may have a bearing upon the issuance of certificates of title to the applicants.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Required Searches

The 2017 statute requires a Minnesota licensed attorney to:

  • perform a search of the records of Driver and Vehicle Services on behalf of the applicant (hereinafter, a “DVS Records Search”),
  • within 120 days of the date of an application,

in order to determine if there is any evidence:

  • that a certificate of origin was ever filed with Driver and Vehicle Services, or
  • that a certificate of title was ever issued by Driver and Vehicle Services.

If a certificate of origin or certificate of title cannot be located, the 2017 statute requires a Minnesota licensed attorney to perform a DVS Records Search in order to determine the names or mailing addresses of one or more prior owners of the manufactured home which may be identified in the department’s records.

Presumably, the results of the two searches can be combined into one search result.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Certified Mail Contacts to One or More Prior Owners

(i)      When No Previous Certificate of Origin Was Filed

If the DVS Records Search does not identify:

  • the filing with Driver and Vehicle Services of a certificate of origin, or
  • the issuance of a previous title certificate by Driver and Vehicle Services,

with respect to the manufactured home which was the subject of the search, the 2017 statute requires a Minnesota licensed attorney to attempt to contact – by U.S. certified mail – any prior owner(s) of the manufactured home at issue who:

  • have been identified to the Minnesota licensed attorney by the Applicants,
  • are otherwise known to the Applicants, or
  • are identifiable from the public records.

(ii)     When A Previous Title Certificate Was Issued

If the DVS Records Search results identify:

  • the receipt by Driver and Vehicle Services of a certificate of origin with respect to the manufactured home at issue, and
  • the issuance of a title certificate by Driver and Vehicle Services with respect to the manufactured home at issue,

and provide a mailing address for the owner(s) of the manufactured home at issue identified on the title certificate or certificate of origin, the 2017 statute requires a Minnesota licensed attorney to attempt to contact by U.S. certified mail:

  • any such prior owner(s) identified in the DVS Records Search,
  • in addition to any prior owner(s) of the manufactured home who are identified to the Minnesota licensed attorney by the Applicants, or are otherwise identifiable from the public records.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Attorney Affidavit

If the required U.S. certified mail contacts by a Minnesota licensed attorney are unsuccessful, a Minnesota Licensed Attorney Affidavit must make the following statements:

(ii)      the attorney was unable to successfully contact one or more owners, or prior owners, after providing written notice 45 days prior to the registered and last known owner by certified mail

  • at the address shown on Driver and Vehicles Services records, or
  • if the last known address if different from Driver and Vehicles Services records, then also the last known address as known to the applicant;

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Certified Mail Contact to Prior Owner(s)

Minnesota licensed attorneys may use any available information when attempting to contact the prior owners by U.S. certified mail, unless the records of Driver and Vehicle Services identify:

  • different registered owners, or
  • a different mailing address for the registered owners.

If the address(es) of such prior owners known to the Applicants are different than the last known address(es) identified in Driver and Vehicle Services records, the Minnesota licensed attorney must provide the required certified mail notice to both:

  • the last address of the prior owners as known to the Applicants, and
  • the last known address identified in the record of Driver and Vehicle Services.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Evidence of Unsuccessful Attempt to Contact By Certified Mail

If the Minnesota licensed attorney’s attempted contact to the prior owners by certified mail is unsuccessful, the Minnesota licensed attorney will be required to attach certain documents as exhibits to the Minnesota Licensed Attorney Affidavit – as identified by the 2017 statute:

(iii)     if the attorney is unable to contact one or more owners, or previous owners, by sending a letter by certified mail, then the attorney must present to the department, as an attachment to its affidavit,

  • the returned letter as evidence of the attempted contact, or
  • the acknowledgment of receipt of the letter,

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Attorney Affidavit of Non-response

If the Minnesota licensed attorney’s attempted contact by certified mail is either:

  • not successfully delivered, or
  • successfully deliveredbut the former owner(s) failed to respond to the attorney’s correspondence in a timely manner,

a second attorney affidavit will be required which makes a statement indicating that no response to the certified mail was received by the statutory deadline.

Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates – Attorney Statement of Lack of Knowledge

Unless the applicant’s Lost Title Application or other documents provided to the Minnesota licensed attorney contains any information to the contrary, the Minnesota Licensed Attorney Affidavit must also make the following statement:

(iv)     the attorney knows of no facts or circumstances that materially affect the validity of the title of the manufactured home as represented in the application, other than property taxes payable in the year the affidavit is signed;

Therefore, the Minnesota licensed attorney preparing the Minnesota Licensed Attorney Affidavit must be provided with a copy of the Lost Title Application for review.

Conclusion

Replacing Lost Minnesota Manufactured Home Title Certificates

Please contact Minnesota Attorney Gary C. Dahle for assistance with respect to replacing lost Minnesota manufactured home title certificates by obtaining either:

  • an original certificate of title with respect to a Minnesota manufactured home when a certificate of origin was never filed with Driver and Vehicle Services, or
  • a replacement certificate of title with respect to a Minnesota manufactured home when an original certificate of title was issued by Driver and Vehicle Services, but the former owners of the Minnesota manufactured home refuse to cooperate in the transfer of title to the person currently claiming ownership of the Minnesota manufactured home.

Legal fees will be applicable – and advance payment may be required.

If you have an e-mail account, and a good Internet connection, Attorney Gary C. Dahle can assist you in any Minnesota County.

Conclusion

Obtaining a Minnesota Duplicate Title Certificate

Please contact Minnesota Attorney Gary C. Dahle for assistance with respect to obtaining – when eligible – a Minnesota duplicate title certificate with respect to a manufactured home from Driver and Vehicle Services pursuant to the provisions of M.S. Section 168A.09, Subd. 1(a).

Legal fees will be applicable – and advance payment may be required.

If you have an e-mail account, and a good Internet connection, Attorney Gary C. Dahle can assist you in any Minnesota County.

Copyright 2017 – All Rights Reserved.

Gary C. Dahle

 Attorney at Law

2704 County Road 10, Mounds View, MN 55112

Phone:  763-780-8390

Fax:     763-780-1735

gary@dahlelaw.com

Legal Disclaimer

Information provided herein is only for general informational and educational purposes. The laws regarding Minnesota manufactured homes involve many complex legal issues. If you have a specific legal problem about which you are seeking advice, please consult with a Minnesota attorney at law.

Gary C. Dahle, Attorney at Law, is licensed to practice law only in the State of Minnesota, in the United States of America. Therefore, only those persons interested in matters governed by the laws of the State of Minnesota should consult with, or provide information to, Gary C. Dahle, Attorney at Law, or take note of information provided herein.

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Nothing herein will be deemed to be the practice of law or the provision of legal advice. Clients are accepted by Gary C. Dahle, Attorney at Law, only after preliminary personal communications with him, and subject to mutual agreement on terms of representation.

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