Tenant Lot Boundaries

I recently attended a training session where the speaker advised to use general boundary lines for lots instead of using the exact county plans.  The plans for the park we recently purchased are from when it was built in the 70s and many of the homes that were brought in by the prior owner were not placed on lots according to the plans on file with the county.  I have tenants asking for lot boundaries so they can put up fences. Any thoughts?  Use general boundary lines or have the park surveyed?Thanks

I have never seen a county that cares about the lot boundary lines (assuming the park is one platted tract). Bickering between neighbors over where their lot ends and other begins is common. The only solution is to have a meeting of the two neighbors and the manager and amiably (and fairly) pick the logical boundaries that both can live with. Your lease gives them a basic “lot” but does not specify the exact property corners – no lease does. So everyone has to act like an adult and be flexible.

There are many instances where tenants lot lines come into play. Most important in reading the code concerning the placement of houses and outbuildings. You must be very careful when stating this to tenants or to a city official. Your looking for wording like- “x foot from the rent-able lot boundary”. We actually wrote into one of our leases the tenants rent the 8’ of road in front of the home, so we could set homes farther forward onto lots, and thus get larger homes into short spaces. Many state codes require fire escape from every door- so you better make sure whoever owns the home can exit out of the mandated steps from every door, and is not fenced in by a neighbors yard and vicious dog. In general- we make sure whoever owns the home takes care of the property all around the set home, including at least 36" on the backside unless a code requires more. You might contact your insurance provider and see if they have guidance as well. 

In our community we do as Frank has suggested. Additionally we have in our community rules that no fences are allowed. A fence would indicate a township lot line not a park lot line.
Generally the yard on the side of the home having the front door extends to approximatly 4 feet of the neighbours home but the understanding is the owner maintains and uses the entire yard to the side of the adjoining home. This assumes homes are placed perpendicular to the road.

In our community we have just amended our rules to establish the lot boundaries between neighbors as half the distance between the homes. Seems to work well thus far. And we (strongly) discourage fences by requiring tenants to complete our “construction agreement” first. Chain link is an absolute NO.

The moral is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Technically, the homes never sit in the middle of the lot, they are offset typically to the right of the center, to allow for the two-car parking pad. But since it doesn’t matter anyway, if the tenants are happy with that, then who cares.Again, to show how different operators do things differently and yet there’s no impact, we actually encourage chain link, as our rules require the fence to be “see-through” and not exceed 4’ in height. The beauty of chain link is that it is MUCH harder to build than all other fence types, and discourages the tenant who wants to put up a cheap junkyard fence concept. We require a city permit on top of that, so most of them never put up a fence unless they are rich enough to hire an actual fence contractor (and banks see that as pride of ownership, so that’s great).

Thanks for all the feedback.  In WA State we are legally required to include “A written description, picture, plan, or map of the boundaries of a
mobile home space sufficient to inform the tenant of the exact location
of the tenant’s space in relation to other tenants’ spaces” with their lot rental agreement and the prior park owner/manager didn’t provide that information to tenants. I will check into county requirements.  Assuming they don’t have many strict requirements, it sounds like 1/2 way between each home sounds pretty fair and easy. I think the tenants that are asking for boundaries will be agreeable to that. I will see what I come up with from the city/county.

CCon, I’m going through the same  thing right now. I’ve got an example  from a large park in Spokane on how they fulfill that legal requirement. PM me your email and I’ll shoot it over.

Just to clarify, “one-half around the house” will not work in 80% of institutional-grade mobile home parks because of the two-car parking pad. A typical modern lot is 50’ in width. But the home is typically offset to within 10’ of the edge of the lot, to allow for the parking pad and yard. So if you used a “one-half around the house” formula, no home’s parking pad would be on their own lot, but on the lot next door. Parking pads are traditionally around 20’x20’, so from the left edge of the lot, the break down would be 4’ buffer, 20’ parking pad, 16’ home, 10’ side yard for back door and deck. See what I’m saying. One=half the distance between the homes would take out about one-half of the parkding pad!So before you run out and put that in your lease, please measure your standard lot and see what really works. Again, since we are not in WA state, we never delineate the lot boundary, and in the rare cases that it’s a problem, quietly mediate a solution with the neighbors.Just trying to keep you out of trouble.

Great point, Frank.  I’m not putting it in my lease but the 1/2 rule will work for the two instances that I have right now and will assess each unit as they are occupied.Always appreciate your knowledge and feedback.

The above discussion is one more reason some park owners stay out of the city limits. When new tenants come in have them READ your rules or guidelines and have them signed and then go to property and indicate what their lot is and end of discussion. When you are a new owner make sure you understand what the past owner did and see if you can easily change past behavior if needed. In the past two tenants went so far to have an area in the middle that neither would mow until I drop the hammer! When you buy a park OWN IT–make the rules you like to have to operate a successful property. All my parks are out of the city limits and VERY PROFITABLE.

I can seriously only remember two times in 20 years in which lot boundaries came up: both were because the tenant wanted to put a trampoline or a pool beside their house and the neighbor did not want it there. Now that our insurance company does not allow tenants to have either, I’m not sure I’ll ever get that call again.