Here, learn more about terminating a lease before the end of the lease term. Topics discussed include the duties of the landlord when the tenant prematurely abandons the lease, how the landlord may use a writ of possession to evict a tenant and remove the manufactured home, and what notices must be sent to terminate a lease when a land use changes
Special thanks to Judon Fambrough and the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. This material is excerpted from their Landlords and Tenants Guide for Manufactured Home Communities publication.
What legal recourse does the landlord have against a tenant who prematurely abandons the leased premises?
The maximum amount of damages a landlord may recover from a tenant who prematurely abandons the leased premises is one month’s rent if the manufactured home lot is reoccupied within 21 days after the tenant surrenders it. If the lot is not reoccupied within 21 days, the landlord may recover the remaining balance of the rent due plus any other amounts owed for the remainder of the lease (Section 94.201 of the Texas Property Code).
Does the landlord have a duty to mitigate damages (relet the property and lessen the tenant’s liability) when the tenant prematurely vacates the leased space?
Yes. The landlord has a legal duty to attempt to relet the manufactured home lot and lessen the tenant’s liability when the tenant prematurely vacates. Any provision in a lease agreement that purports to exempt the landlord from this duty or liability is unenforceable (Section 94.202 of the Texas Property Code).
How may a landlord use a writ of possession against a tenant?
By obtaining a writ of possession, which is the final step in the eviction process under Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code, the landlord may:
- Prevent a tenant from entering the manufactured home lot,
- Evict a tenant
- Require removal of a manufactured home from the manufactured home lot
Must the landlord give written notice of eviction proceedings to the lien holder of the manufactured home?
Yes. The landlord must give written notice of eviction proceedings to the lienholder within three days after filing the application or petition for a judgment for possession but only if the tenant has disclosed the name of the lienholder prior to signing the lease as required by Section 94.203(b) of the Texas Property Code.
What legal restraints or limitations will the court impose on a landlord attempting to evict a tenant?
The court will not approve an eviction if it finds the eviction was retaliatory in nature. Likewise, a writ of possession will not be issued within 30 days of a judgment for possession, which is the second step in the eviction process, when the tenant has paid the full amount due under the lease for that period (Sections 94.203[c] & [d] of the Texas Property Code).
May the landlord terminate the lease when the tenant violates a lease provision?
Yes. The landlord may terminate the lease and evict the tenant for violating a lease provision, including a violation of the manufactured home community rules incorporated into the lease (Section 94.205). Section 94.008 states that any adopted manufactured home community rules that are not arbitrary or capricious are considered part of the lease agreement.
May the landlord terminate the lease and evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent?
Yes. The landlord may terminate the lease and evict the tenant, if need be, when the following three conditions are met.
• The amount of unpaid rent plus the other amounts owed according to the lease equal at least one month’s rent.
• The landlord gives written notice to the tenant that the rent and other payments are delinquent.
• The tenant does not tender the full amount due within ten days after receiving the notice (Section 94.206).
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