The law is different for persons who are living in manufactured home communities, most of whom are buying their manufactured home and leasing the lot. If you are living in a mobile home, but not leasing in a manufactured home community, then the laws are the same as if you were renting a house or an apartment. The same laws cited throughout this website would apply to you and your landlord (most of it is contained in Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Statutes).
If you are renting a lot in a manufactured home community, Chapter 94, Property Code explains your rights.
Below are frequently asked questions about mobile home lot rental.
What rights do I have if I have rented a lot in a mobile home park where I put my mobile home?
Tenant rights in a mobile home park are listed more completely in Chapter 94 of the Texas Property Code, which it calls “manufactured home communities.” Some of the unique laws that apply to manufactured home parks are the following:
- A minimum six month initial written lease;
- Written leases with mandatory obligation on the park owner to give tenant copy of the lease and community rules after the lease has been signed;
- Minimum of sixty days’ notice of intent not to renew;
- Community rules that are neither arbitrary nor capricious;
- Ten days’ notice that rent is delinquent before giving a notice to vacate;
- Six months notice of intent not to renew the lease if the owner intends to change the land use;
- Tenant’s right to sue the landlord for actual damages, a civil penalty in an amount equal to two months’ rent and $500, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for any violations by the landlord of Chapter 94 of the Property Code;
- Mandatory written disclosure to all applicants of the right to a minimum initial lease term of six months, along with a copy of the proposed lease and the community rules
Additionally, this law says that the park manager cannot retaliate against tenants for complaining about conditions that affect the health and safety of the park residents. The law also provides specific procedures for sending certified letters to the park manager requesting that these conditions be fixed.
What rights do I have as a tenant if I keep my mobile home on private property which is not in a mobile home park?
The same rights you have as any other residential tenant as set out in Chapter 92 of the Property Code and discussed in other sections of this website.
How do I know if I’m renting a lot on private property or in a mobile home park?
You are renting in a mobile home park if at least 4 or more lots are offered for lease for installing and occupying manufactured (mobile) homes.
The landlord says he’s going to evict me or end my lease. How long do I have to respond or leave?
It depends on the situation. Before the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit, (called a “Forcible Detainer”) in a Justice of the Peace Court, they have to send you a notice:
- If the landlord is simply not renewing the lease, the landlord will have to give you a minimum of sixty days’ notice of intent not to renew.
- If the landlord claims you haven’t paid all your rent, the landlord will have to send you a written “delinquent payment” notice 10 days before giving you a 3-day notice to vacate. After this, you will still have time to respond to the landlord in JP court. You do not have to move your mobile home unless the park manager has filed an eviction lawsuit, has obtained a judgment in the lawsuit, and then has obtained another court order called a writ of possession for the lot. (These all take place after the 3-day notice to vacate.)
- If the landlord claims the tenant has committed a non-rent breach of the lease, the landlord must give the tenant at least a three-day notice to vacate, unless the lease requires a different notice period, After this, you will still have time to respond to the landlord in JP court. You do not have to move your mobile home unless the park manager has filed an eviction lawsuit and has obtained a judgment in the lawsuit and then has obtained another court order called a writ of possession for the lot.
- If the mobile home community has been bought through foreclosure and your lease is with the previous owner, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act requires that the new owner honor the remaining term of the lease and give at least a 90-day notice to vacate before filing an eviction lawsuit.
Is a park manager allowed to cut off utilities to my mobile home if I have not paid rent for the lot?
This will depend on the language of the lease. If the lease does not give the landlord this right, then the landlord absolutely may not do it. No specific provision addresses utility terminations in Chapter 94.
This situation is similar to the one addressed in Section 92.008 of the Texas Property Code which prohibits landlords from cutting off water, wastewater, or gas utilities except for emergencies, construction or repairs. Under section 92.008 a landlord may cut electricity only if the electricity is master-metered or submetered and the tenant is delinquent on the electricity payment and does not pay after appropriate notice. Similar provisions are not included in Chapter 94. If you think your utilities were unlawfully shut off, you should seek a writ of restoration from your local Justice of the Peace court.
What should I do if I get sued in an eviction proceeding?
After being given a copy of the lawsuit by a sheriff’s deputy or process server, you should read it over carefully and put the date of the hearing on your calendar. It’s really important to go to the hearing because you may be able to make an agreement with your landlord or win your case.
When you go to the hearing, take all your rent receipts, witnesses, and other documents, which you will use as evidence. At the hearing, you will appear before the judge and explain to the judge why you should not be evicted from your rented lot. The judge will then issue a judgment, saying whether the eviction is granted, the amount of rent you owe, and whether the park should get possession of the lot.
If you show that you have followed the rules listed in the lease or the landlord has not given appropriate written notice, the judge should issue a judgment in your favor. If the judge rules against you and says the eviction should still happen, you will then have 5 calendar days (count the weekend!) to appeal the judgment by either (1) paying a cash deposit as an appeal bond in the amount set by the justice of the peace or (2) filing a Statement of Inability to Pay Appeal Bond or Costs of Appeal in the JP court (check out the appeal page). If the justice court closes before 5:00 p.m. on the last day to file an appeal, then you have through all of the next day to file the appeal.
If the eviction is for nonpayment of rent and you file the Statement of Inability to Pay Appeal Bond, you must then pay one rental period’s rent into the justice court registry within five calendar days of the date you file the Statement of Inability to remain in possession during the appeal process. You will also have to pay future rent into the county court at law within five days of the date it is due under the lease as it comes due during the appeal process. If you fail to pay, the landlord can obtain a writ of possession to have the constable remove your home.
You will be sent a notice by the county court at law telling you that it has received the file from the JP court. The case may be set for trial any time eight days after the appeal is filed with the county court at law. A new trial will be held in county court and you will have to make your case again so bring your witnesses and documents and be ready to explain your case.
If I lose the eviction lawsuit, how long do I have before I have to move my mobile home?
If you do not file an appeal then on the 6th day after the judgement, the landlord can file a writ of possession. A writ of possession is the court order directing the constable to remove you from the premises. The constable will deliver you a 24-hour notice to vacate warning you of the date and time the constable will return to execute the writ of possession and remove you. There are a couple of ways to delay the writ of possession:
- If you file an appeal, you’ll have a bit more time. The actual number of days will depend on how quickly the case is set for trial in the county court at law.
- Section 94.203(d) states that a court may not issue a writ of possession for 30 days after the date of the judgment if the tenant has paid the rent amount due under the lease for that 30 day period. That would give you an additional 30 days in which to move.
If you don’t do either of these things, the judge can issue the writ of possession on the sixth calendar day after the date of the judgment (including weekend days).
If I do not have money to move the mobile home after I’ve been evicted and a writ of possession is issued, will the park pay to move the mobile home to another location?
No. After the writ of possession is served on you, Section 94.203 allows the landlord to: prevent you from entering your own home, evict you from the home, or move the mobile home from the park.
For more information on your rights, check the Landlords and Tenants Guide for Manufactured Home Communities from texaslawhelp.org.