The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 9: Commerce and Trade

Chapter 63: CONSUMER PROTECTION

Sub-Chapter 07: Unlicensed Loan Transactions

9 V.S.A. § 2481w. Unlicensed load transactions



§ 2608. Municipal action for sale of abandoned mobile home

(a) In the alternative to the process for foreclosure of a tax lien on a mobile home pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 133, a municipality shall have the authority to commence an action to sell at public auction an abandoned mobile home located within the municipality pursuant to this section.

(b) A municipality shall file a verified complaint in the Civil Division of the Superior Court for the county in which the municipality is located, which shall be entitled "In re: Abandoned Mobile Home of [name of owner]," and shall include the following information:

(1) The physical location and address of the mobile home.

(2) The name and last known mailing address of the owner of the mobile home.

(3) A description of the mobile home, including make, model, and serial number, if available.

(4) The names and addresses of creditors, holders of housing subsidy covenants, or others having an interest in the mobile home based on liens or notices of record in the municipality offices or the Office of the Secretary of State.

(5) The facts supporting the claim that the mobile home has been abandoned.

(6) The name of a person disinterested in the mobile home or of a municipality employee who will be responsible for the sale of the mobile home at a public auction.

(7) A statement of the amount of taxes, fees, and other charges due or which will become due to the municipality.

(8) If the mobile home is located on leased land, the name and address of the landowner.

(c) A municipality may request an order approving transfer of a mobile home which is unfit for human habitation to the municipality without a public sale by filing a verified complaint containing the information required in subsection (a) of this section and the facts supporting the claim that the mobile home is unfit for human habitation.

(d) When a verified complaint is filed under this section, the clerk of the Civil Division of the Superior Court shall set a hearing to be held at least 15 days but no later than 30 days after the filing of the complaint.

(e) Within five days after filing the verified complaint, the municipality shall post a copy of the verified complaint and order for hearing on the mobile home and send a copy of the verified complaint and order for hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the mobile home owner's last known mailing address, to the landowner if the mobile home is located on leased land, and to all lien-holders of record.

(f) The municipality shall publish the verified complaint and order for hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality where the mobile home is located. The notice shall be published no later than five calendar days before the date of hearing.

(g) If prior to or at the hearing any lien-holder certifies to the court that the lien-holder has paid to the municipality all taxes, charges, and fees due the municipality and will commence or has commenced proceedings to enforce the lien and will continue to pay municipal taxes, charges, and fees during the proceedings under this section, the court shall, upon confirmation of the representations of the lien-holder, stay the action under this section pending completion of the lien-holder's action.

(h) At the hearing, the municipality shall prove ownership of the mobile home; abandonment of the mobile home; the amount of taxes, fees, and other charges due the municipality; and the amount of attorney fees claimed. The municipality shall also prove compliance with the notice requirements of subsections (e) and (f) of this section. Whether a mobile home is abandoned shall be a question of fact determined by the court.

(i) If the court finds that the municipality has complied with subsection (h) of this section, the court shall enter an order approving the sale of the mobile home at a public auction to be held within 15 days of the date of the order. The municipality shall send the order by first-class mail to the mobile home owner, to the landowner if the mobile home is located on leased land, and to all lien-holders of record. The order shall require all the following:

(1) That the sale shall be conducted by the person identified in the verified complaint or some other person approved by the court.

(2) That notice of the sale shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality where the mobile home is located and sent by first-class mail to the mobile home owner, to the landowner if the mobile home is located on leased land, and to all lien-holders of record. The notice of sale shall be published no later than three calendar days before the date of sale.

(3) That the terms of sale provide for conveyance of the mobile home by real estate deed or by uniform mobile home bill of sale, as appropriate under this chapter, executed on behalf of the mobile home owner pursuant to the order of the court by the person authorized by the court, in "as is" condition, and free and clear of all liens and other encumbrances of record.

(4) A minimum bid established by the court sufficient to cover the total costs listed in subdivisions (7)(A)-(D) of this subsection. The mobile home shall be sold to the highest bidder over the minimum bid set by the court; provided, however, that if no bid meets or exceeds the minimum bid set by the court, the court shall order transfer of the mobile home to the municipality upon payment of costs due to the person who conducted the sale.

(5) The successful bidder, if other than the municipality:

(A) shall make full payment at the auction if the bid does not exceed $2,000.00; or

(B) if the bid exceeds $2,000.00, shall provide a nonrefundable deposit at the time of the auction of at least $2,000.00 or 25 percent of the bid, whichever is greater, and shall make full payment within three working days after the auction.

(6) A successful bidder, if other than the municipality, shall remove the mobile home from its current location within five working days after the auction unless the municipality permits the mobile home to remain on the site or permits removal of the mobile home at a later date. If the mobile home is located on leased land, the mobile home shall be removed within five days unless the landowner grants permission to the successful bidder, including the municipality, for the mobile home to remain on the leased land.

(7) The person who conducted the public sale shall report to the court the results of the sale, the proposed distribution of the proceeds of the sale, and the bank in which any excess proceeds are deposited and shall send a copy of the report to the mobile home owner, the municipality, the landowner if the mobile home is located on leased land, and all lien-holders of record by certified mail, return receipt requested, within three working days after the sale. Anyone claiming impropriety in the conduct of the sale may file an objection with the court within seven days after the sale. The filing of an objection shall not invalidate the sale or delay transfer of ownership of the abandoned mobile home. If an objection is filed and if the court finds impropriety in the conduct of the sale, the court may order distribution of the proceeds of the sale as is fair, taking into account the impropriety. If no objection is filed with the court, on the eighth day after the sale, the proceeds shall be distributed as follows:

(A) To the person conducting the sale for costs of the sale.

(B) To the municipality for court costs, publication and mailing costs, and attorney's fees incurred in connection with the action in an amount approved by the court.

(C) To the municipality for taxes, penalties, and interest owed in an amount approved by the court.

(D) To the landowner for unpaid lot rent if the mobile home is located on leased land.

(E) The balance to a bank account in the name of the mobile home municipality as trustee, for the benefit of the mobile home owner and lien-holders of record, to be distributed pursuant to further order of the court.

(j) Notwithstanding provisions of this section and 10 V.S.A. § 6249 (sale of abandoned mobile home by park owner) to the contrary, if an action is commenced by a municipality pursuant to this section and by a mobile home park owner pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 6249 for the sale of the same abandoned mobile home within 30 days of one another, the court shall consolidate the cases and shall distribute the proceeds of a sale as follows:

(1) To the person conducting the sale for costs of the sale.

(2) To the municipality and the park owner equitably in the discretion of the court:

(A) for court costs, publication and mailing costs, and attorney's fees incurred in connection with the action in an amount approved by the court;

(B) for taxes, penalties, and interest owed the municipality in an amount approved by the court; and

(C) for rent and other charges owed to the park owner in an amount approved by the court.

(3) The balance to a bank account in the name of the mobile home municipality as trustee for the benefit of the mobile home owner and lien-holders of record, to be distributed pursuant to further order of the court.

(k) If a municipality requests an order approving transfer of a mobile home to the municipality without a public sale, the court shall approve that order if it finds that the municipality has complied with subsection (h) of this section and has proved that the mobile home is unfit for human habitation. In determining whether a mobile home is unfit for human habitation, the court shall consider whether the mobile home:

(1) contains functioning appliances and plumbing fixtures;

(2) contains safe and functioning electrical fixtures and wiring;

(3) contains a safe and functioning heating system;

(4) contains a weather-tight exterior closure;

(5) is structurally sound;

(6) is reasonably free of trash, debris, filth, and pests. (Added 2011, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. May 14, 2012.)