Family fights for title to trailer

Investigations

A family in Scott County has been fighting for more than two years to get the title to their mobile home, which is paid in full.

Without the title, they have no proof of ownership and cannot get insurance. 

They called WATE 6 On Your Side to see what could be done. 

When a mobile home is manufactured, it’s sold to a dealer and with the home, comes what’s called a “certificate of origin” – which includes the model name, serial number, date of manufacture, and the manufacturer’s name. All this information is also set on a home’s “Data Plate.” 

The dealer’s signature is also on the certificate of origin. 

Once registered with the state, the homeowner can then receive the title. 

Well, a family in Oneida hit a roadblock trying to ge their paperwork. 

Weatherly Walters’ two teenage sons have plenty of room in their home outside of Oneida. It’s a 3-bedroom doublewide. The home was manufactured by Giles. David and Lola Bowling bought the trailer for their daughter and her family.

They purchased it in Huntsville at what used to be True Value Homes, but we found the office closed when we went by last month.

“We were wanting to give it to our daughter, Weatherly. But we don’t have no title,” said Lola Bowling. 

Without the title, they cannot deed the home: “We have no proof that we even own it,” she said. 

The Bowlings paid cash for the home. A receipt shows a check for $44,505.00 dated 23rd of May, 2016.

“Keith said we would have the title in two weeks,” David Bowling said. 

The man they’re referring to is Keith Clotfelter. According to state records, he once operated True Value Homes in Huntsville. 

The Bowlings have tried calling Clotfelter several times and even went down to the lot four or five times, asking him for their title.  

“We’re very grateful for it. We just can’t get a title,” said Weatherly Walters.

The Bowlings’ daughter says she’s worried. Without proof of ownership, no insurance company will insure the structure of the home. 

“We’ve called them, we can get insurance for items inside the house, but they will not cover the actual house itself. Because there is no title,” Weatherly Walters said. 

The Bowlings then hired an attorney. He sent a “Demand” letter to Keith Clotfelter in June of 2017.
 
Clotfelter said he’d bring the title to the lawyer. He didn’t.

In December of 2017, Cissie Anderson showed us unfinished foundation work on the mobile home she bought in Huntsville and paid for in February 2017. The man who sold her the home, Keith Clotfelter.  

Despite promises from Clotfelter when we returned last March the set up to Anderson’s home had not been completed. When the Bowlings brought up the name of their salesman. We tried to reach Clotfelter based on the phone number we had 13 months ago.         

With no way to reach him, we checked the sales lot. It’s closed and there’s no forwarding information. We asked Weatherly Walters to show us information specific to mobile homes.

In a cabinet under her sink was a Data Plate which shows the home’s history, serial number and manufacturer.

Next, we visited Scott County Clerk, Felicia Bilbrey. She said the mobile home dealer apparently never sent a certificate of origin to the state. 

“So she has to have the certificate of origin along with the bill of sale in order to register it in the state of Tennessee. When the manufacturer issues that they are issuing it to the person selling it, to the dealer. The dealer’s signature still has to be on that paperwork as well, said Felicia Bilbrey, Scott County Clerk. 

Last month, we sent all of our information to Clayton Homes, Giles is a subsidiary. Within weeks a Certificate of Origin was sent to the Bowlings, along with a letter from Giles’ General Manager who said: “we were able to track down the necessary parties to complete your paper trail.”

Says Lola, “Great. This is like a Christmas gift. Because we couldn’t get anything done before.”

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