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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XL
REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
Chapter 713
LIENS, GENERALLY
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F.S. 713.785
713.785 Liens for recovering, towing, or storing mobile homes.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Mobile home transport company” means a person regularly engaged in the business of transporting mobile homes.
(b) “Store” means a mobile home transport company has legal possession of a mobile home either on the mobile home transport company’s property or on any other property.
(c) “Unpaid lot rental amount” or “rent” means any unpaid financial obligations of the mobile home owner or tenant to the mobile home park owner defined as “lot rental amount” in s. 723.003 or “rent” in part II of chapter 83 and includes any amounts defined as storage charges in s. 723.084.
(2) If the mobile home transport company recovers, removes, or stores a mobile home upon instructions from:
(a) The owner of the mobile home;
(b) Any law enforcement agency; or
(c) A mobile home park owner as defined in s. 723.003 who has a current writ of possession for a mobile home lot under s. 723.062 or s. 83.62,

the mobile home transport company has a lien on the mobile home for a reasonable towing fee and for a reasonable storage fee.

(3)(a) A mobile home transport company that comes into possession of a mobile home under subsection (2) and that claims a lien for recovery, towing, or storage services must give notice to the registered owner and to all persons claiming a lien on the mobile home, as disclosed by the records in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or of a corresponding agency in any other state.
(b) Notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, shall be sent within 7 business days after the date of storage of the mobile home to the registered owner at the owner’s last known address, and all persons of record claiming a lien against the mobile home. The notice shall state the fact of possession of the mobile home, that a lien as provided in subsection (2) is claimed, that charges have accrued and the amount thereof, that the lien is subject to enforcement under law and that the owner or lienholder, if any, has the right to a hearing as set forth in subsection (4), and that any mobile home which remains unclaimed, or for which charges remain unpaid, may be sold free of all prior liens after 35 days following the eviction proceeding that resulted in the issuance of the writ of possession, provided that any lienholder entitled to notice pursuant to s. 723.084 has received such notice and has failed to act pursuant to s. 723.084 to pay storage charges, take possession of the home, or take legal action to foreclose its interest prior to issuance of the writ of possession.
(4)(a) The owner of a mobile home stored under subsection (2), or any person claiming a lien of record, other than the mobile home transport company, within 10 days after the time she or he has knowledge of the location of the mobile home, may file a complaint in the court of the county in which the mobile home is stored, to determine if her or his property was wrongfully taken or withheld from her or him.
(b) Upon filing of a complaint, an owner or lienholder may have the mobile home released upon posting with the court a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal to the amount of the charges for towing or storage and lot rental amount due and owing at that time to ensure the payment of the charges in the event she or he does not prevail. Upon the posting of the bond and the payment of the applicable fee set forth in s. 28.24, the clerk of the court shall issue a certificate notifying the mobile home transport company of the posting of the bond and directing the mobile home transport company to release the mobile home. At the time of the release, after reasonable inspection, she or he shall give a receipt to the mobile home transport company citing any claims she or he has for loss or damage to the mobile home or the contents thereof.
(c) Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the court may award damages and costs in favor of the prevailing party. The final order shall provide for immediate payment in full of any lien for recovery, towing, and storage fees and any unpaid lot rental amount accruing until the time the home is removed from the property, by the mobile home owner or lienholder, or the owner, lessee, or agent thereof of the property from which the mobile home was removed.
(5) A mobile home that is stored under subsection (2) and which remains unclaimed, or for which reasonable charges for recovery, towing, or storing remain unpaid or for which a lot rental amount is due and owing to the mobile home park owner as evidenced by a judgment for unpaid rent and any contents of the mobile home not released under subsection (9), may be sold by the mobile home transport company for the towing or storage charge and any unpaid lot rental amount 35 days after the mobile home is stored by a mobile home transport company. The sale shall be at public auction for cash. If the date of the sale was not included in the notice required by subsection (3), notice of the sale must be given to the person in whose name the mobile home is registered at her or his last known address, to the mobile home park owner, and to all persons claiming a lien on the mobile home as shown on the records of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or of the corresponding agency in any other state. Notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least 15 days before the date of the sale. After diligent search and inquiry, if the name and address of the registered owner or the owner of the recorded lien cannot be ascertained, the requirements of notice by mail may be dispensed with. In addition to the notice by mail, public notice of the time and place of sale must be made by publishing a notice of the sale one time, at least 10 days before the date of the sale, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the sale is to be held. The proceeds of the sale, after payment of reasonable towing and storage charges, costs of the sale, and the unpaid lot rental amount as evidenced by the judgment for unpaid lot rental and an affidavit executed by the mobile home park owner or the owner’s agent establishing the amount of unpaid lot rental amount through the date of the sale, in that order of priority, must be deposited with the clerk of the circuit court for the county if the owner is absent, and the clerk shall hold the proceeds subject to the claim of the person legally entitled to those proceeds. The clerk is entitled to receive 5 percent of the proceeds for the care and disbursement of the proceeds. The certificate of title issued under this section shall be discharged of all liens unless otherwise provided by court order.
(6) The mobile home transport company, the landlord or his or her agent, or any subsequent purchaser for value is not responsible to the tenant or any other party for loss, destruction, or damage to the mobile home or other personal property after coming into possession of the mobile home under this section, provided the mobile home transport company, the landlord, or their agents use reasonable care in storing the mobile home. As used in this subsection, the term “reasonable care” means securing the mobile home by changing door locks, or any similar methods for securing the mobile home, in place in the mobile home park or in a separate storage area.
(7)(a) A mobile home transport company that comes into possession of a mobile home under subsection (2) and that complies with subsection (3), if the mobile home is to be sold for purposes of being dismantled, destroyed, or changed so that it is not the mobile home described in the certificate of title, must apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of destruction. A certificate of destruction, which authorizes the dismantling or destruction of the mobile home described in the certificate, is reassignable no more than twice before dismantling or destruction of the mobile home, and the certificate must accompany the mobile home for which it is issued when the mobile home is sold for that purpose, in lieu of a certificate of title. The application for a certificate of destruction must include an affidavit from the applicant that it has complied with all applicable requirements of this section; must, if the mobile home is not registered in this state, include a statement from a law enforcement officer that the mobile home is not reported stolen; and shall be accompanied by any other documentation as may be required by the department.
(b) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $3 for each certificate of destruction. The tax collector who processes the application shall collect and retain a service charge of $4.25.
(c) Employees of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and law enforcement officers may inspect the records of each mobile home transport company in this state to ensure compliance with this section.
(8)(a) Upon receipt by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of written notice from a mobile home transport company that claims a lien under paragraph (2)(b) or paragraph (2)(c) for recovery, towing, or storage of a mobile home for which a certificate of destruction has been issued under subsection (7), the department shall place the name of the registered owner of that mobile home on the list of those persons who may not be issued a revalidation sticker under s. 320.03. If the mobile home is owned jointly by more than one person, the name of each registered owner must be placed on the list. The notice of a mobile home transport company’s lien must be submitted on forms provided by the department, which must include:
1. The name, address, and telephone number of the mobile home transport company.
2. The name of the registered owner of the mobile home and the address to which the mobile home transport company provided notice of the lien to the registered owner under subsection (3).
3. A general description of the mobile home, including its color, make, model, body style, and year.
4. The mobile home sticker number, state, and year or other identification number, as applicable.
5. The name of the person or the corresponding law enforcement agency that requested that the mobile home be recovered, towed, or stored.
6. The amount of the lien, not to exceed the amount allowed by paragraph (b).
(b) For purposes of this subsection, the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien for which the department will prevent issuance of a revalidation sticker may not exceed the amount of the charges for recovery, towing, and storage of the mobile home for 7 days. These charges may not exceed the maximum rates imposed by the ordinances of the respective county or municipality under ss. 125.0103(1)(c) and 166.043(1)(c). This paragraph does not limit the amount of a mobile home transport company’s lien claimed under subsection (2) or prevent a mobile home transport company from seeking civil remedies for enforcement of the entire amount of the lien, but limits only that portion of the lien for which the department will prevent issuance of a revalidation sticker.
(c)1. The registered owner of the mobile home may dispute the mobile home transport company’s lien by notifying the department of the dispute in writing on forms provided by the department, if at least one of the following applies:
a. The registered owner presents a notarized bill of sale proving that the mobile home was sold in a private or casual sale before the mobile home was recovered, towed, or stored.
b. The registered owner presents proof that the Florida certificate of title of the mobile home was sold to a licensed dealer as defined in s. 319.001 before the mobile home was recovered, towed, or stored.
c. The records of the department were marked to indicate that the mobile home was sold before the issuance of the certificate of destruction under subsection (7).

If the registered owner’s dispute of a mobile home transport company’s lien complies with one of these criteria, the department shall immediately remove the registered owner’s name from the list of those persons who may not be issued a revalidation sticker under s. 320.03. If the mobile home is owned jointly by more than one person, each registered owner must dispute the mobile home transport company’s lien in order to be removed from the list. However, the department shall deny any dispute and maintain the registered owner’s name on the list of those persons who may not be issued a revalidation sticker if the mobile home transport company has provided the department with a certified copy of the judgment of a court which orders the registered owner to pay the mobile home transport company’s lien claimed under this section. In such a case, the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien allowed by paragraph (b) may be increased to include no more than $500 of the reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred in obtaining the judgment. The department’s action under this subparagraph is ministerial in nature, is not final agency action, and is appealable only to the county court for the county in which the mobile home was ordered removed.

2. A person against whom a mobile home transport company’s lien has been imposed may alternatively obtain a discharge of the lien by filing a complaint, challenging the validity of the lien or the amount thereof, in the county court of the county in which the mobile home was ordered removed. Upon filing of the complaint, the person may have her or his name removed from the list of those persons who may not be issued a revalidation sticker for any mobile home under s. 320.03 upon posting with the court a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal to the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien to ensure the payment of the lien in the event she or he does not prevail. Upon the posting of the bond and the payment of the applicable fee set forth in s. 28.24, the clerk of the court shall issue a certificate notifying the department of the posting of the bond and directing the department to release the mobile home transport company’s lien. Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the court may award damages and costs in favor of the prevailing party.
3. If a person against whom a mobile home transport company’s lien has been imposed does not object to the lien, but cannot discharge the lien by payment because the mobile home transport company has moved or gone out of business, the person may have her or his name removed from the list of those persons who may not be issued a revalidation sticker under s. 320.03, upon posting with the clerk of court in the county in which the mobile home was ordered removed a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal to the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien. Upon the posting of the bond and the payment of the application fee set forth in s. 28.24, the clerk of the court shall issue a certificate notifying the department of the posting of the bond and directing the department to release the mobile home transport company’s lien. The department shall mail to the mobile home transport company, at the address upon the lien form, notice that the mobile home transport company must claim the security within 60 days or the security will be released to the person who posted it. At the conclusion of the 60 days, the department shall direct the clerk as to which party is entitled to payment of the security, less applicable fees of the clerk.
4. A mobile home transport company’s lien expires 5 years after filing.
(d) Upon discharge of the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien allowed under paragraph (b), the mobile home transport company must issue a certificate of discharged lien on a form provided by the department to each registered owner of the mobile home attesting that the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien allowed under paragraph (b) has been discharged. Upon presentation of the certificate of discharged lien by the registered owner, the department shall immediately remove the registered owner’s name from the list of those persons who may not be issued a revalidation sticker under s. 320.03. Issuance of a certificate of discharged lien under this paragraph does not discharge the entire amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien claimed under subsection (2), but certifies to the department only that the amount of the mobile home transport company’s lien allowed by paragraph (b), for which the department will prevent issuance of a revalidation sticker, has been discharged.
(e) When a mobile home transport company files a notice of lien under this subsection, the department shall charge the mobile home transport company a fee of $2, which must be deposited into the General Revenue Fund. The tax collector who processes a notice of lien shall collect and retain a service charge of $2.50.
(9) Persons who provide services under this section shall permit a mobile home owner or her or his agent, whose agency is evidenced by a writing acknowledged by the owner before a notary public or other person empowered by law to administer oaths, to inspect the mobile home and shall release to the owner or agent all personal property not affixed to the mobile home, provided there exists no landlord’s lien for rent under s. 713.691 or s. 713.77.
(10) Any person who violates subsection (3), subsection (5), subsection (6), subsection (7), or subsection (9) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 4, ch. 2005-137; s. 106, ch. 2013-18.