Can You Be Charged Late Fees Or Evicted In A Mobile Home Park?
Victoria Pappas Law Student, Cardozo School of Law
Real estate laws as applied to mobile homes have always been tricky, and have become even more complicated during the pandemic.
Typically, people own mobile homes, but rent the land the vehicle rests on.
We recently realized this when we came across a message on a Facebook group from a woman in Kansas who owns her mobile home but rents the land. She wrote:
“I live in a mobile home in Junction City, Kansas. I own the home, but rent the land. My landlord charges me - and everyone else - $30 late fee + $3 every day I am late. Then, if I don't pay the late fee but pay the rent I still get charged another late fee. How do I confront them that they can't add another late fee and claim the previous late fee as part of the rent?"
Here is some insight to this issue.
Court Buddy’s Chief Legal Officer, Jennifer McGlone, says, "The lease for the land should specify what late fees can be charged and how they will be handled. So the first step is to read the lease.”
Your lease is a legal contract between you and the landlord. If your landlord fails to comply with the terms of your lease, that is a breach of contract. If your landlord does not do what is promised in the lease, then you can take legal action against the landlord and potentially receive compensation.
Even if your landlord is following the terms of your lease, that does not mean you are out of luck.
McGlone says, “[I]t would be worth consulting an attorney even if the lease as written allows the landlord to do what they are doing, because if the lease as drafted runs afoul of the usury laws, or if the landlord is acting in a way that constitutes an unfair business practice (by holding payment and charging late fees), an attorney can challenge the lease."
Even if your lease allows the landlord to take certain actions, like charging extra late fees, there may be other legal reasons disallowing the landlord to do so. It is best to consult a lawyer to discuss what your options are.
Remember that at Court Buddy, our lawyers charge as little as $249 and interest-fee payment plans are available. In the long run, our fee may be less expensive than late fees.
What if I don’t have a copy of my lease?
Typically, tenants are given a copy of the lease at the beginning of their tenancy, either before or after both parties have signed it.
In most states, landlords are required to give each tenant a copy of the agreement at the beginning of the tenancy.
If you misplaced your lease or never received one, ask your landlord or management company for a copy.
It is always a good idea to ask for the lease in writing, whether it be over email or letter, versus over the phone or in person. Having a written copy of the request provides proof that you did ask for and tried to receive a copy of the lease, should there be an issue over this later.
Some state laws, like California, require a landlord to provide a copy within a certain amount of time after it was requested. Again, having your request in writing is important because it can provide clear proof that the landlord did not respond to the request in the required time frame.
Can I be evicted from a mobile home park?
Tenant-landlord law is particularly complicated during COVID-19. And it's even more complex when it comes to mobile homes and mobile home parks.
In most states, landlords can evict mobile home owners who rent space. But they must follow proper eviction procedures akin to those for apartments.
As long as your mobile home is used for residential purposes, President Trump's moratorium should protect you.
If the mobile home park operators are saying it doesn't, contact one of our lawyers.
Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.