Sold Trailer Decades Ago, But Suddenly Receiving Request to Pay Decal Fee

Have a close relative
who sold a lot and trailer upon it in Riverside County California back in 1989 to buyer.  There was no agent, but escrow company was involved in transaction (unknown as to escrow company name as documents have been discarded long ago). The lot and trailer were paid for and seller gave over deeds to both.  A few
years later, buyer exchanged trailer for a larger model.  No issues until now. Buyer has died and seller is now receiving notice from California to pay “decal fee” on the trailer she sold.  Seller thus wonders whether her deed to
the trailer was ever recorded, wherever that might be, and why she is receiving such notice.  Is there a limit on liability form or ownership correction form
to fill out about trailer ownership in Calif?  What other solution?  Now wondering whether land deed was recorded too.  Hopefully, someone here can help!

CalNoob, in South Carolina the Mobile Home is ‘typically’ considered a Vehicle Title (similar to a car) and the Land is considered Real Estate.The following is the procedure for the Mobile Home Title transfer in South Carolina.The Mobile Home Title would be transferred from Seller to Buyer through the DMV (Department Of Motor Vehicles).  Once the Mobile Home Title is transferred the Buyer must go to the County Tax Office.  At the County Tax Office the Buyer then pays a $5 Decal Transfer Fee and the County changes the Mobile Home Tax Records to indicate the New Owner.Now the County will be billing the New Owner for the Mobile Home Taxes.If the Seller is just now receiving notices, the Tax Records were probably updated correctly.However, since the Buyer has now passed away, the County is probably just going after anyone they can find on the tax records for the taxes (or they have updated their computer database system and the tax information was messed up in the process) .The County does not really care who pays the Mobile Home Taxes.  They just want someone to pay the Taxes.In South Carolina you can just go to the County Tax Office to investigate why this sudden Decal Fee is being sent.You can also send a request (with money also) to the DMV requesting ‘Ownership Information’ for the Mobile Home.The land would have been transferred as Real Estate.We wish you the very best!

I have actual experience with this in California with HCD.  The government’s only recourse is to the property, not to you.  So the seller can just not respond to HCD’s demand to pay decal fees.  HCD can only go to the trailer and auction it off to get themselves paid.  They can’t garnish your bank account or wages.All that said, if the deed to the home (and perhaps land) were not transferred correctly, then maybe you still own them even though you’ve been paid.  There are worse things.  If you are the legal owner and the now-dead 1989 buyer has no heirs, perhaps you want to step in and pay those decal fees and then re-sell the home (and land) to someone else?  Get yourself paid again for it just for paying back taxes!My 2 cents worth,-jl-

Jefferson - you have a knack for thinking outside the box and coming up with unique ideas.  I always enjoy your comments.

Coach62 -Thank you.  I’ll take your words as a nice Christmas gift.   :"> I find it is very interesting to think about what the law does not say.  Mentors like Peter Fortunato, Dyches Boddiford, and Jack Miller have helped my thinking greatly along those lines.Have a prosperous New Year,-jl-