Paying tenants move in and set up costs

I’m willing to pay move in and set up costs for tenants in an effort to fill vacancies. Looking for suggestions on how to lock the tenants into the park for at least five years so they don’t move the home after I’ve paid for it to be moved into my park, yet not lock myself into a fixed lot rate for the five year period.

Do you enter into a five year lease with rate escalations equal to cost of living adjustments?

Looking for ideas on how to protect my investment while not being pigeon holed into a specified rent rate.


We have them sign a 5 yr minimum lot lease agreement (with rent increase clause) and sometimes we lien their homes for the move in costs, which is great if they own the home free and clear.

Check with your attorney on the legality of what I just said because it could vary from State to State.

Rick Ewens


I do the same thing you are contemplating and it hasn’t been as successful as I had hoped. I’ll be interested to hear your experience.

Where are you located?


Wheat Hill

Thank you Rick. Do you spell out exactly what the dollar amounts are in the annual rent increases, or link it to cola?

Hi Rolf, Will let you know. Located in Louisiana.

What kind of problems did you encounter when you tried this?

No we don’t spell it out. We just mention it will be the same increase the other residents will receive. Funny thing is we haven’t raised rent for 3 years, because of the economy in the NC community and the other communities were at the top of the lot rent market when we bought them.

I like to lien homes for the guarantee even if we are in a second position.

Rick Ewens

Makes sense. Thank you.

Have you found that advertising and promoting this offer works? Do you receive a good response from this, or are there better methods to attract new tenants with homes?

We have it on our web site


I simply haven’t had people taking me up on the offer. I’ve done everything from going to neighboring parks and cherry-picking the good homes to newspaper ads to my website. No matter how much people say they hate their current park and love mine, I haven’t gotten anyone to move. Check out my website under “LOTS” and you’ll see my offer. I’ve marketed this proposal to dealers and got exactly 1 home in. Dealers have pretty much been a waste of time for me even though they say they love the idea.

The only thing I can think of is that, for these people, moving is simply more than they can handle. I have found most to be the ultimate in lazy and having to think much beyond their next Friday night case of beer and Redbox is more than they can handle.

Here’s a recent example: A guy got some money from his family, $7K, and wanted to take advantage of my offer. The home that fell into his lap was $10K. He was too lazy to figure out a way to get just $3K and wanted me to come up with the difference in addition to paying his moving costs. The deal was screaming good and got him out of a ghetto apartment but he was simply too lazy to figure out how to get another $3K. I said why not simply buy a cheaper home? Nope. This particular home or it’s too much work to find another. Go figure.

Your experience may differ.



So as you can see from the varied responses based on actual park owner experience, the answer is YMMV.  Every market and sub-market is different.  As a park owner you need to be flexible and willing to try many different types of programs. If one type of ad does not work, move on to the next. Also if one type of ad does work you STILL try another to see if its better.  

For example, one of our parks gathers almost ALL of the new residents via the local newspaper.  In other parks we get mostly drive-by interest and the large banner ads by the side of the road is key. We have filled over 12 vacant lots via big vinyl banner advertising "Move In Special".

However, we have tried all forms of marketing for each of these parks and ended up going with the ones that had the best ROI.


I have had some success with this type of incentive to keep a move-in deal together, but it never did seem to have a lot of value in advertising. Only when the homeowner has already expressed a desire to move into my MHP does the incentive seem to have value in customer’s eyes.

I offer a $1200 move-in credit, but it has been used as a payment to transporter, concrete work, pay a welder( recommend one familiar with MH) to make home roadworthy, Built steps, new skirting, new AC, Elec/ sewer/water connections, new storage building, new living room set, new kitchen appliances, washer/dryers, pre-paid lot rent.

As for Rolf approaching residents of other MHP’s – I have had some success with that approach too, but it worked out a little different than expected; basically, it has set up a situation where I sell them a MH that I have in my MHP and take their MH in as trade, and move it to my MHP and sell…this has happened on a couple of occasions. I really think this is the method of poaching other MHP’s residents that has the most upside.

Be creative, Find out the need of you prospect – then work to meet that need.

All great ideas. Another one that has worked for me is direct mail. These folks can target where & who you send offers to. Some parks with older homes are looking to trade up (which we have) some folks are looking to own instead of rent (which we have). I love direct mail it’s the best kept secret I know of.

On the lease issue our attorney simply added the term “to remain consistent with prevailing rates”