Mobile homes create unique legal issues for landlords. This is because the tenant often owns the mobile home, but rents the space in the mobile home park. However, in some instances the mobile home park (or an entity of the mobile home park) also owns the mobile home.
Two Types of Mobile Home Leases
There are two common types of mobile home leases. In the first type, the tenant owns the mobile home but leases a space or lot in a mobile home park from the park owner. In the second type, the landlord owns both the mobile home and the land upon which the mobile home sits. In some states, like Utah, the law treats this type of mobile home lease the same as if an apartment was being rented.
Special Lease Provisions to Include When Renting a Mobile Home
Like with any other residential leases, the laws of most states require that leases for mobile homes be in writing. Some of the things that need to be included or covered in the lease for a mobile home are:
- Rent. The lease agreement should define whether it covers both the mobile home and lot or whether the two are leased separate.
- Security deposit. In a mobile home lease where only the lot is being rented, the lease may not require a security deposit, however, where a mobile home is also part of the lease, the agreement should require a security deposit.
- Condition of the Mobile Home. The lease (or a separate document) should detail the condition of the mobile home, i.e. the condition of the carpets, fixtures, walls, yard, etc. By documenting the condition prior to allowing the resident to occupy the mobile home you will protect yourself from claims that habitability or other conditions existed in the mobile home before the resident took occupancy.
- Park Rules. The tenant/lessee should be bound to the same park rules as a tenant that owns their own mobile home. The mobile home lease should include a provision requiring the tenant to abide by the Park Rules. Often, the Park Rules will be included as part of the lease in an addendum or incorporated by reference.
- Lease Termination. The lease should include a provision that allows the lease to be termination for violations of the Park Rules.
Lawful Reasons for Eviction
In addition to the usual reasons for eviction (such as failing to pay rent), a tenant leasing space in a mobile home park can normally be evicted for violating park rules and failing to promptly correct the violation or harming or threatening to harm someone in or near the mobile home park.
Questions for Your Attorney
- What kind of insurance should I have if I own and rent mobile homes in my mobile home park?
- How are my legal obligations to the residents different if I am renting the mobile home in addition to the lot?
- Does my current lease agreement allow me to evict my tenant for failures to comply with the Park Rules or for multiple violations of the Park Rules?
- A tenant on my property is selling his/her mobile home, does it make sense for me to buy it from him/her?
Summary of Rule 26.3 regarding Mobile Home Contracts.