Titles and evictions

We are new owners in need of some guidance. We have someone who was behind several months on rent when we purchased the park. We served her an eviction and she said that she couldn’t pay the balance so she just wanted time to get her stuff out.

If she says she is the owner but doesn’t have the title, how do we get the title?

Is it through the city? How long does the process take?



First of all, proceed with the customary eviction notice. In parallel, see if you can work with her for few days and get a commitment in writing that she will leave the mobile home. I would personally give her no more than 7 days. If she leaves, good, if not, proceed with an eviction attorney immediately after the 7 day or the eviction notice period ends. Whichever you feel comfortable with.

I would befriend your neighbor park and ask them to help you with the process of getting a title. This can take some time - few weeks to months. Meanwhile, you can rent the mobile home and sell it after you have the title.

If you join the local MHA, they can help you with the right procedure and notices.

Hope this helps.

Definitely proceed with the evictions process. People rarely ever get out when they say they will and there’s no need to have her living there rent free for any longer than she already has.

As far as getting a title on a tenant owned home, you will probably need to first, take possession of the home through abandoned property. Then, you can do a google search “Getting a title to a mobile home in (name of state)” to find the specific instructions for your state. For our parks in the states we are in, it’s an application that you can print out and take to the DMV.

I just read this article on the Apartment Association website by Barb Getty. She writes a lot of good stuff on tenants and evictions, and I thought this was on point…

"When You Know It’s Time To Go  

background-check-for-tenantsYour applicant sails through the screening process with flying colors, moves in, pays the rent in a timely manner and treats the rental with loving care. All is well in your world! Yes, all is well. That is, until:

His car suffers a major, expensive repair issue
He gets laid off, or loses his job
He becomes ill or has an accident that requires hospitalization
He goes through a divorce
He develops alcohol or other addiction problems
He gets into credit problems and has to file bankruptcy
All of these events have a negative effect on your tenant’s ability to earn income and pay the rent. When these things happen, the proverbial “writing is on the wall.” He may feel he can get caught up, and ask for some time to remedy the situation. So, what do you do?

I have a friend in the business whose tenant suffered an illness causing loss of work > loss of income > loss of rent for my friend. Mark agreed to give his tenant time to catch up on the rent. Three months later, he’s only seen $300 of the $1000/month rent he is supposed to be collecting on that property. (Whaaat?)

IF you’re willing to allow time for your tenant to catch up on monies owed, make a written contract signed by both of you, detailing time and amounts of payments to be made, and consequences (eviction) of missed payments. And be prepared to get them out quickly if they don’t deliver on the contract!

When eviction is imminent, I tell my tenants that if they can be out before the court date (two weeks following the day I file, here in Indianapolis) and leave the property clean and empty, I won’t pursue the case through the court system. If they don’t owe me much money — and I always file BEFORE it gets to that point! — it saves me time and money if I can get them out early. Quick exit on the tenant’s part, quick turn-around for the unit, and I’m back in the money. And in the case of a good tenant who has just had a terrible turn of rotten luck, it saves them having an eviction on their record. A win/win for all.

"So, when it’s time to go, make a written plan to make things right quickly, or make the move to get them out. Although we’re witness to a myriad of sad situations, this is an income-producing business — first and foremost — and our decisions have to focus on that priority.

1 Like

Good tenants gone bad is another major advantage of owner occupied homes as opposed to POHs. It’s difficult for home owners to simply walk away without paying or leaving a home behind that is of value to the community owner.
Tenants in POHs can rack up months of unpaid rent then do a midnight run with the owner having no recourse.
I would give a homeowner a small amount of slack if they are a excellent long term resident but a renter in a POH in my opinion should ideally go out with the trash next garbage day.

Just throwing out one thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet: very few mobile home park tenants have the money ever to pay several month’s rent in a lump sum, even the more responsible ones.

On the first park I bought the previous owner hadn’t enforced strict rent collection methods. As a result, over half of the park was several months behind on rent, with one tenant 4 years behind on rent.

These weren’t total deadbeat tenants, the previous owner had just never made it a priority that they paid their rent.

If I had required everyone to get immediately caught up on rent after years of mismanagement, I likely would have lost close to half of my tenants. Instead though, I put the tenants on payments plan with regular lot rent payments and small monthly arrears payments instead of a large lump sum. As a result, I only lost about 10% of my tenants. (and even kept the tenant who was 4 years behind who started paying like clockwork after I took over).

Based on your brief description, it might be worthwhile to see if the tenant has a source of income to start making monthly payments on and slowly repaying the balance over time. I don’t know if it will help, but it’s worth considering.

As a landlord there is always a financial risk associated with any degree of compassion.
The adage in this business is “no good deed goes unpunished”. So whatever you do keep in mind trust needs to be earned.