In 2003, the state of Texas combined the traditional paper documents of title into "Statements of Ownership and Location," or SOLs, for mobile homes. Anyone can locate a mobile home's SOL by searching the state's online mobile home database. You'll need information that identifies the home, such as the vehicle identification number, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) label or Texas seal.
Understanding Texas Titles
SOLs are mobile home titles created and issued by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Manufactured Housing Division. The division is headquartered in Austin. Anyone who buys a mobile home must send an application to the TDHCA for the issuance of an SOL within 60 days of purchase – the TDHCA has issued an in-depth guide to filling out the application form to make the process easier. Once the application is processed, the owner receives a physical piece of paper, and the ownership record is entered into an online public record for everyone to see.
What's significant about SOLs is that an owner doesn't need the physical SOL to be able to close a sale. As long as the online database shows the current owner, then that person can prove ownership of the title. SOLs are not just used for ownership changes. If the owner wishes to update the location of the home or record a new lien holder, then he should be filing a SOL.
Identifying the Home
You'll need some or all of the following information to search for titles in the SOL database:
- The vehicle identification number, or VIN, which you can find on the data sticker located near the back door, in the master bedroom closet or under the kitchen sink. Look for the manufacturer's serial number and model unit designation.
- The home's HUD label number, which verifies that the home meets federal standards that govern its design and construction. You'll find this number on a red and silver metal plate attached to the rear of the mobile home. Double-wides and triple-wides may have a different plate on each section.
- The Texas seal. Some homes have a silver seal with an outline of the state of Texas. Look for the three-letter prefix followed by six numbers imprinted on the seal.
- The name of the owner.
- The physical location of the home.
Searching the Database
To search the SOL database, visit the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website and select the "Manufactured Housing" tab. Click the "Search Our Database" link, followed by "View Home Ownership Records." On the "Manufactured Home Ownership Records" page, input the information you have to access a record (see Resources). The title will show the legal owner of the mobile home as well as any active liens, previous owners and the age and size of the home.
Older Mobile Home Titles
If the owner purchased a mobile home after 2003, then SOL should exist for the home. Older homes that have not been sold, transferred or had a lien recorded since before 2003 may not have switched over to the SOL system. The owner should still hold a paper certificate of title for each section of the manufactured home unless there is an active lien on the home, in which case the lien holder may hold the title until the lien is paid off in full. There is no public database for these older paper records in Texas. If you want to find the title, you'll have to speak to the owner.