Go for 100% or let slide?

Here’s the situation…

Bought the park a few weeks ago. 1 tenant that owns title to the home hasn’t paid lot rent since October 2012. Attorney has already filed correct paperwork and we have a court date set. They owe about $1640 including all late fees and filing fees. Apparently, they have some medical issues… I already offered to buy the home, but they are not interested and have no other place to go. The tenants have lied multiple times to the manager about when rent would be paid. Should I:

A.) Go after all back rent even though I didn’t own the park back then and risk not collecting anything from the judgement? Aka… the judgement may not be worth the paper that it’s written on.

B.) Offer a deal for them to get current and stay current? If so, what kind of a deal?

Offer them a deal that you will write off the rent prior to you buying it, and start with a clean slate now that you own it. But tell them that you will show them no mercy if they don’t stay current going forward – that you work under a “no pay/no stay” system, so their era of non-payment is over. The old rent is really not yours anyway (unless it was stipulated in the contract) and was not in your budget when you bought the park (just their monthly rent), so you will be ahead if you can keep them paying as opposed to having to renovate the house to rent it out again. But do not ever give them another break, and don’t think that a “medical issue” gives them any right not to pay the rent. Be like the the power company – if the bill’s not paid, you turn it off no matter why. And don’t get involved in any payment plans with them or any other tenant. Stick with no pay/no stay – it’s the only system that works.

You have already started the process of evicting.

It can be a long and arduous process and you need to take a long hard look at what you are dealing with.

In my experience people very rarely change. I can guarantee that you will end up evicting this tenant in the future if you allow them to stay and either way you will not see the lost rental income. You will however incur greater losses if you do allow them to stay.

Why bother stopping the process now only to have to start it all over again down the road. Do not allow compassion or nickels and dimes to prevent you from taking advantage of this situation from a business prospective.

This is actually a win/win situation for you as a new park owner. You have the perfect opportunity to make your mark. Send the message to all tenants that you have a zero tolerance policy regarding none payment and screen a new tenant that meets your business standards.

This particular tenant means nothing to you personally, that will change over time of ownership, making it much harder to prevent compassion from influencing your decisions in the future.

Strike now when you have the opportunity with the process already in motion.


Now that you have filed eviction, this tenant might come to you seeking resolution. Or they might say ‘screw it’, and keep on rebelling. If they come to you seeking a resolution, then I would work with them and require them to pay on time, point forward - like Frank said. Otherwise, you absolutely have to follow through with the eviction. We stay on top of our collection every month and put pressure on those who seem to always have trouble paying rent. Our tenants understand that we are fair, but require they pay rent or they are gone.

Let us know how it turns out for you.


Thank you all for the advice. What a great group of people.

Here’s an update:

We had our day in court. My attorney and I offered her a deal to get current. The deal was this: She pays for March rent, April rent, late fees, filing fees, and my attorney’s fee. In return, we waive her November - February rent. Also, she must pay her May rent no later than May 5th, and June rent no later than June 5th or the whole deal is off. In other words, I could recover ALL the rent that she is behind on including late fees from the last owner that he didn’t collect. In the agreement, she authorized wage garnishments if she didn’t follow through on her end of the contract.

She countered to our offer. She asked if she could have 2 months to pay my attorney. My attorney took the deal against my advice with no recourse. I heard later on that she made a monthly payment deal with her attorney as well. She paid me on the spot though! There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll stiff both of the attorneys. I’ve got to say… some of these people that live in parks are incredibly smart at talking their way out of things.

Thanks for giving us an update Nate.

Now I wonder if she will pay next month’s rent…guess you will see. Never a dull moment right?


So true Robbie…

So far I’ve received her May rent. She got her social worker to cut us a check for June rent. (Thank You Taxpayers!) I’m hoping this will “train” her to pay rent in the future. I figured it was worth the risk to give them another chance since she owned the mobile home. I really don’t want the thing. All part of the turn-around process I guess… Heard from the manager that her husband went out and got a job! Like Greg said, this probably sent a firm message to the existing resident’s about what will happen if they choose not to pay rent…

I’m still waiting for a thank you letter from the husband’s new employer and the US Government for getting these people off their butts!

Always learning…

I would go for 100%. You probably won’t get it, but you will get the house. If the house is anything like the ones in our parks, with $2,000 in repairs you’ll be able to sell for $5,000 and get a much better quality resident (e.g. one who puts down $2,000 and pays $25/month more in lot rent) thus upgrading your park and sending the correct ‘no-pay, no-stay’ message at the same time.

Interested to hear how the next few months go for you.

Sidenote: Do not ever let an attorney prosecute a case ‘their way.’ I’ve had to fire several attorneys that did not prosecute cases ‘my way.’ I’ve found many attorneys are obsequious - they do not really like arguing before a judge, and/or have a prior relationship with the judge, or have to balance other political issues as a long-standing member of the local legal community. In short, I’ve found many attorneys to be soft on the residents. The last attorney we used settled with a tenant, despite our directing him to the contrary. We wanted to test a very specific legal issue (like yours) infront of a judge. By settling, the attorney denied us our education as to how the judge would rule and will cost us many multiples of what his time would have cost - an extra 20 minutes arguing infront of the judge. We fired him, and did not pay him, and we have not heard from him since.

Rob_Mosher Wrote:

Thanks for giving us an update Nate.

Now I wonder if she will pay next month’s

rent…guess you will see. Never a dull moment



You are so right!!! I could write a book …never a dull moment!!!