This article summary is adapted from content written by the Austin Tenants' Council. The organization focuses on Austin but has useful information for all Texas residents. The original article is at Manufactured Home Tenancies.
Manufacture Home Tenancy Laws
Laws for tenants who lease a lot for a manufactured home or recreational vehicle that they own are found in Chapter 94 of the Texas Property Code. The laws apply to manufactured home communities where four or more lots are offered for lease. An amendment to the laws, effective Sept. 1, 2003, changed the definition of an RV so that it must be “permanently tied to, affixed, or anchored to the premises as in the case of a park model unit.” A park model unit is defined as a vehicle that is built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels, and the gross trailer area does not exceed 400 square feet when set up.
A provision in a lease agreement or a manufactured home community rule that purports to waive a right or to exempt a landlord or a tenant from a duty or from liability under Chapter 94 is void.
Lease Terms and Agreement
If the tenant’s application is approved, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written lease that is typed or printed. Before signing the lease, the tenant is obligated to disclose the name and address of any person who holds a lien on the tenant’s manufactured home. After the lease is signed, the landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the signed lease and a current copy of the manufactured home community rules.
The lease agreement must contain the following:
- The address or number of the manufactured home lot and the number and location of any accompanying parking spaces.
- The lease term (the starting and ending dates).
- The amount of the rent, how often rent is due, and the day rent must be paid.
- The amount of late fees or other charges for services or facilities.
- The amount of the security deposit, if any.
- Any other terms or conditions of occupancy not expressly included in the manufactured home community rules.
- A description of the landlord’s maintenance responsibilities and the telephone number of the person who may be contacted for emergency maintenance.
- The name and address of the person designated to accept official notices for the landlord.
- The penalty the landlord can charge the tenant for terminating the lease early as provided by 94.201.
- The grounds for eviction as described in Subchapter E of Chapter 94 of the Texas Property Code.
- A disclosure of the landlord’s right to terminate the lease if the land use changes during the lease term as provided by 94.204.
- The date the landlord’s zoning permit expires if there is a temporary zoning permit for the land use of the manufactured home community.
- A disclosure of any addendum relating to submetering of utility service.
- A prominent statement that Chapter 94 of the Texas Property Code governs the tenant's rights and the landlord's obligations.
The law says that any provision in the lease that allows a rent increase or fee increase during the lease term must be initialed by the tenant, or it is void. The law also says that any illegal or unconscionable provision in a lease is void. However, even if one provision of the lease is void, the rest of the contract will remain in force as long as it can stand on its own without the invalid provision.
Manufactured home community rules are considered part of the lease agreement. The landlord may add to or amend the rules during the lease term as long as they are not arbitrary or capricious. In other words, the rules must be reasonable and applied to everyone.
Any change to the rules cannot go into effect until 30 days after each tenant is provided with a written copy of the new or amended rules. If a change requires the tenant to spend more than $25 to comply with the new rules, the tenant has at least 90 days from the date each tenant receives the written copy of the new or amended rule to comply.
Landlord’s Right to Enter
Generally, the landlord cannot enter a tenant’s manufactured home unless the tenant allows the landlord to enter. Either the tenant must be present and gives consent, or the tenant must have previously given written consent for a specific date and time. If the tenant gives the landlord written consent to enter the manufactured home, the tenant may revoke the consent at any time by notifying the landlord in writing. However, the landlord does have the right to enter the manufactured home in a reasonable manner and at a reasonable time if an emergency exists or the tenant abandons the manufactured home.
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