Leasing contracts

I have just signed a contract to buy my first MHP.Iam very excited!With that said Iam learning as I go. I have talked to a few owners and one said he has never had his tenants sign a contract and hes had his park since 1978{about 100 lots}.The owner of the park Iam buying had the tenants sign one but after the year contract is up he would just go month to month without one.I was assuming it was a must to have tenants under contracts.What are the ups and downs of not havivg a contract?

Not having a contract is insanity. It makes it much more difficult to evict. You also want your rental contact to have a host of restrictions (must obey park rules, can not use mobile home for storage of hazardous chemicals, etc.). You may not want to sign a lease for as long as a year, that’s fine, you can sign a lease that is MTM. But have a lease that holds the tenants accountable for paying the rent, following park rules, etc.

You also need to do a full background check on your tenants, get copies of their IDs, etc.

Run the ship right.


Thanks Jefferson for clearing that up.Thats what I was thinking.I thought going without a contract was a little odd.

My opinion is you can own a park as a hobby or as a business.

Personally I operate a business and make sure it is operated only in the most professional manner posible.

Screening and written contracts are a must as well as enforceable park rules.

Learn your state rental codes to insure you have a legal enforceable contract and enforceable park rules.

I assume by “contract” you mean a lease.

Generally speaking, when a residential lease expires, the law provides for an automatic month-to-month renewal under the same terms as the existing lease unless either party provides notice to the other party of their intention to cancel. The amount of time for the notice will depend on state law, for example in Texas it is 60 days for a landlord. On the other hand, if the lease has not expired, you cannot change the terms of the lease without the tenant’s consent.

Therefore, unless there is something odd going on, the original “contracts” should still be enforceable but they can also be changed with notice.

Again, generally speaking, a tenant does not have to sign an amended lease as long as you give adequate (e.g. 60 days) notice. However, if push comes to shove you’ll have to prove to a judge that you gave the notice. It will be easier to convince a judge of what you did if you get the tenant to actually sign the new lease and rules. The tenant’s only options are to accept the changes or move out. (Surprisingly, judges will not always know the law. And at least in Texas, evictions are handled by a Justice of the Peace who may not be interested in following the law at all.)

You should check with your state MHA or a licensed attorney in your state to be sure, but these are generally the rules for most states. Some states (like California, and Ohio I hear) have stronger tenant protections.

In Texas, you are required to offer a 6-month lease unless both parties agree otherwise; we prefer to have our tenants on month-to-month because we want to be able to change the terms of the lease and/or rules with simple 60 days notice. So once the initial term expires we do not chase them for renewals. A longer lease only protects the tenant from us, but not us from the tenant, because there are no consequences to tenants who break longer leases (we can’t squeeze water from a stone and if they’re skipping out it’s probably because they couldn’t afford the place anyway.)

P.S. Your lease should incorporate your park rules, and we have our tenants initial every page and sign the rules as well as the lease. When we change the rules we distribute a copy to each door and put a copy in each tenant’s file with the date of delivery. The new rules go into effect 60 days after that for all the MTM tenants, and at the lease expiration for the tenants on unexpired leases.


Brandon thanks for all the information!My park is in Texas also.I will take all this info along with talking to an attorney to make sure I have a proper lease drawn up.

I definitely recommend talking to an attorney for your first park in-state, and also check out the TMHA and TDHCA websites, but in addition, check out the law for your self – Texas Property Code sections 92 and 94 (dealing with manufactured home tenancies) are available online and pretty much explain your duties as a landlord and the tenant’s duties to you.