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2019 Changes in Washington Affecting Manufactured / Mobile Home Owners

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project - CLEAR Intake Line LSC Funded
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This is a summary of the laws affecting manufactured homeowners who rent their lot space. The eviction process changed in a major way in 2019. The changes go into effect on July 28, 2019. #6550EN

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Manufactured Homeowners and Park Owners: Read this! 

The laws affecting manufactured homeowners who rent their lot space and the eviction process changed in a major way in 2019. The changes went into effect on July 28, 2019.

What will you learn by reading it? 

  • What are the main changes to the laws
  • Where to get more information

What does the law say? 

Washington’s state laws are called the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The most important laws protecting mobile homeowners’ rights in manufactured/mobile home parks are found in RCW 59.20, which is called the Manufactured / Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Act (MHLTA). The Eviction process (Unlawful Detainer) laws are found in RCW 59.12. Both laws were changed in major ways in 2019.

  • Mobile homeowners have more time (14 Days) to catch up on rent. 

Up until now, if a mobile home owner who rented lot space fell behind on space rent and/or other charges specified in the rental agreement (even by one day), the park owner could give them a “5 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate.”  If the tenant couldn’t pay all the space rent and/or other charges within the 5 days, the park landlord could file an eviction lawsuit against them.  The park landlord did not have to accept partial payment or payment plans.

Now, if a tenant is a day late in space rent and/or other charges specified in the rental agreement, the park landlord must give them a 14 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. The tenant then has 14 days to pay the space rent and/or other charges. After that, the park landlord may file an eviction lawsuit. 

You may still be charged late fees if you do not pay the rent by the date it is due.

  • More mobile homeowners will be able to pay and stay in their home. 

Previously, once an eviction lawsuit started, most mobile homeowners could not stay—even if they could pay the park landlord all the back-space rent, late fees, and attorney fees that they owed.  Now, more mobile homeowners will be able to pay back the space rent they owe.  More mobile homeowners will be able to pay to avoid eviction and homelessness.

Mobile homeowners will have a chance to pay what they owe even after an eviction action has been filed.  Late fees, court costs, and/or attorney fees may be included.

Also, judges now have more flexibility to create payment plans that work for both mobile homeowners and park landlords. More mobile homeowners will be able to pay through payment plans, and have more time to seek help through charities and other agencies to pay park landlords (even month-to-month mobile homeowners). 

  • Landlords must give you 20 days’ notice to comply

Previously, if a landlord believed that you were violating the lease or a park rule, they could give you a “15 Day Notice to Comply or Vacate.” Now, they must give you 20 Days’ Notice.

  • Landlords changing most kinds of park rules must give you 30 days’ notice and a 3 month grace period.

If your landlord wants to change most kinds of Park Rules (that are not in your space rental agreement), the landlord must give you a 30 Days’ written notice.

After the 30 Day notice period, you still have a 3-month “grace period” to comply with the new Park Rules. If you violate the new rules within the “grace period,” the park landlord should give you a warning only (and not a 20 Day Notice to Comply or Vacate).

For changes in park rules about pets, children living with tenants, or recreational facilities, the park landlord must give a 6 month period to comply or vacate before giving a termination notice based on the new rule.

  • In most cases, park landlords can’t make you pay more for utilities without lowering rent.

If your lease says that your utilities are included in your space rental amount, and the landlord wants to separate the utilities from the space rent in the middle of your lease term, then the landlord has to lower your space rent by the amount that the utilities go up.

  • In most cases, landlords must provide 120 days to sell a manufactured home following eviction.

If you are evicted, your landlord must provide you with up to 120 days to sell your manufactured home in place as long as you continue to pay the space rent incurred after the eviction and pay any past due rent, reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs at the time you sell your manufactured home. 

  • Park landlords have to give you a 5-year space rental history.

Park landlords must now include an accurate 5-year history of space rental amounts in any written space rental agreement. You should be able to request a copy from your park landlord.

Warning!

The laws affecting park landlords and mobile homeowners can be complicated, especially right after major changes like this.

This information gives just a basic summary.  Park landlords and mobile homeowners should both know there are some important exceptions to these laws! 

 

This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities.  It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. This information is current as of July 2019.

© 2019 Northwest Justice Project — 1-888-201-1014.
(Permission for copying and distribution granted the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial purposes only.)

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Last Review and Update: Jul 30, 2019
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