Bought 1st park, now what?

I bought my first park–12 spaces.  Been to boot camp, but still a little confused.  What do I do for notices to make everyone aware that there is a new owner and new rents, rules, etc?  Here were my thoughts:1. sent letter telling them about new ownership and new rent increase in 60 days2. send copy of new lease and rules and regulationsA couple of questions:  what else do I need to do? and what happens when if they don’t send back the new leases signed?Any other ideas are appreciated.Thank you,Pat1

Hey Pat, I’ve never been to bootcamp but bought the F&D books. It’s all in the books, so I’d start there. Form examples are included with their product also. Depending on state law, they may not have to send back leases. If they have a 12 month lease for example, they have zero legal obligation to comply and you cannot legally change their rent. That does not mean you cannot hustle them into signing new leases. But if not, you need to wait until their anniversary date to expire their lease and change the terms. Learn the law in your state in detail before messing with rent and utility billback. It can get you hung if you get caught violating.

The very first thing I advise all those considering becoming a landlord is to get a copy of the state landlord and tenant regulations. You are now one step ahead of yourself in the operation of your business. Get the regulations and once you have studied and fully understand the regulations you can proceed with the operation of your business. Sending out anything without knowing your legal obligations is counter productive. Every state has different regulations so unless you are getting advice from a park owner in your state you have no idea if the advice is correct or not and from my experience the vast majority of park owner/landlords are not qualified to give advice on even there own state regulations.You now own a business and need to learn the guidelines that govern that business…asap…

Ditto on Greg’s advice.  There is enough information in each state’s manual to get you going as a landlord (or a tenant).  That was my first resource when I became a landlord for the first time about 8 years ago.  Something I also did was seek out a good attorney in my state for advice.  For me, this happened to be my father, but he definitely kept me from doing a ton of dumb stuff early on.  Back to your question though.  Assuming you are sending your new lease certified mail, your tenant doesn’t usually need to sign it (check with your attorney).  It is my understanding that by virtue of remaining on your property, they are agreeing to the new lease’s terms.

If you do not get the new leases sent back to you, send a 30 day notice, that you will non renew their lease And have them sign that if they want to stay they will respond to all notices on time. My three parks have 100 percent collections to date and compliance bc of this.

I went to my park and held an all-hands meeting, passed out copies of the new rules, had everyone sign the new leases, and assured everyone that nothing major would change and that I wasn’t going to shut the park down. Paid one of the tenants $10 to be my translator. Thought it was important to associate a face with the title “owner”. I think it helps to be on good terms with the permanent tenants, because sometimes you need their support, like when water gets shut off for repairs or other difficulties arise which can’t be fixed immediately. Instead of screaming bloody murder, they’re patient and understanding.

Some states have leases that are approved by the state and disclosures that must be used. They might also have mandatory terms that must be offered. There are also seasoning laws for rules and regulations. I have not done the bootcamp think in a good bit, but back in the day there was a document that announced the new owner. My first contact never talked about raising rents but it did state I was looking at he park and it encouraged people to tidy up. If you do not speak the language- your android phone (my android phone) has an app I speak into, and it speaks the other language out when I am finished. Then they talk, and it converts is back to English. Nifty app. I just used it to help a stewardess and passenger communicate… Russian to English. By the time I got back off the flight, every flight attendant had it loaded and was practicing with it. We also convert every document in our spanish park areas using google translate. I put on the document the english version is the one that gets signed, but the translation should help them understand it. We use a google voice number for our contact, so when the wheels come off and you know the phone is going to ring like crazy you can put a message on it concerning the problem, and then stop forwarding the calls… we tell people if they need us to leave a message, and then we will return the call. 

Hi Pat,
Congrats on your 1st park. Many good pieces of advice above. As a newbie, it is in your best interest not to wing it. It may cost you a bit more at least the 1st year but I recommend:

  • Contact your state MHI/MHA - they are the best source of laws pertaining to mobile home communities which may be different than regular rentals

  • Try to see who the MHI recommends as an eviction attorney. We try to use whomever may be the legal counsel or lead attorney for the MHI as they are most on top of the laws. Even if this is a state where you can file your own evictions, you will learn a lot for having them for the first 6-12 months

As an example for one of our parks - we sent out updated leases and rules. Many of the tenants thought that if they did not return it, then it was not binding. In fact, that was not the case. We subsequently send a letter from the attorney which stated that they are indeed bound by the rules and now on a month-month lease based on the new lease we sent.
But this may not be every state - so please check.

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You may want to start by reading the lease the tenants currently have. It may very well obligate you to follow its terms just as it does them. If they have a 12 month lease and the rent is set for that period you can’t go raising rents in the middle of the lease. But if it is month to month, well that gives you a free hand.

Most state governments publish a booklet titled something like “Tenants, Know Your Rights.” That is a good place to get a general overview of landlord-tenant laws in your state.