BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — Three years ago, Alyssa Young bought her very first home, a 1972 trailer at Bonner Springs Estates.
“He just wanted us to pay him cash for what supposedly was the lien to pay it off,” said Young, referring to the trailer’s former owner who she paid about $4,000.
Young and her husband then spent another $26,000 renovating the trailer, including outfitting the kitchen with new appliances and counter tops and building a deck. Now Young would like to sell it, but there’s one big problem.
She doesn’t have the title.
Young said the former owner told her the trailer park manager had the title. She’s contacted Bonner Springs Estates repeatedly asking for the title, she said.
In fact, she showed FOX4 Problem Solvers an email she received back in 2017 from a manager promising to help her track the title down. But Young never received the title, and as the months passed, she stopped asking about it.
“We were in between selling a home, buying a home, selling this trailer, having a baby. We both worked full time,” Young said. “Honestly, it slipped our minds.”
That is until this year when she found a family member wanting to buy the trailer and knew she needed the title to complete the transaction. Selling a trailer without a title is the same as selling a car without a title. You might have proof you paid for it, but without that title, you don’t really own it.
Since the summer, Young has been trying to get the trailer park to keep its promise and give her the title. In September, she thought the problem was solved when she received a message from a park manager telling her:
“We are in the process of obtaining the title through a process called quiet title. Once we have the title in our name, it will be sent from my corporate office to me, and then I will contact you to get it to you.”
But no one ever did contact Young, and now Bonner Springs Estates and its corporate office have even stopped responding to her.
That’s why Young called FOX4 Problem Solvers.
We called the park’s corporate office, M. Shapiro Development Company in Farmington Hills, Michigan. But once we identified ourselves as a news station, the person on the other end of the line hung up.
We then filed an open records request with the Kansas Department of Revenue to find out whose name is actually on that elusive title. Is it the man who sold it to Young or someone else? But the revenue department said that information was private and wouldn’t tell us.
We then had Young, who holds a bill of sale for the trailer, ask for the information. She’s waiting to hear back. If she finds out who has the title, she can ask them to give it to her (or file for a lost title) and this problem will be solved.
If not, her only other option is to go to court. Attorney Casey Johnson of Kansas Legal Services said Young needs to file her own quiet title case, stating to a judge that she should be the rightful owner of the property.
To do that, she’ll also have to run a notice in a newspaper for several weeks letting the public know she’s laying claim. If no one else steps forward also claiming ownership, a judge can declare her the rightful owner.
Johnson said missing titles are such a common problem with mobile homes and vehicles that Kansas Legal Services’ website includes detailed information on how to file a quiet title case.
We’ll let you know what happens.