Written by attorney Jared N Hawkins

Initial Steps to Take When a Tenant Violates a Residential Lease (Mobile Home Park)

In Washington, Landlord-tenant relations for those renting lots in mobile home parks (but having no ownership interest in the lot or the association owning the park) are governed by the Manufactured/Mobile Home Residential Landlord-tenant Act (MHLTA), codified at Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 59.20. The MHLTA sets forth in specificity the obligations a landlord owes to a tenant and that a tenant owes to his/her landlord.

When a tenant violates terms of the lease or of the MHLTA, the landlord gains the ability to terminate the lease or choose not to renew a tenancy. The landlord, however, must first provide a written notice advising the tenant of the violation. The written notice must be given to the tenant specific to the circumstances . Below are some of the more common violations and their respective notice periods:

(a) Substantial, repeated, or periodic violations of the rules of the mobile home park, or violation of the tenant's statutory duties—Notice to cease the rule violation immediately; notice that failure to cease the violation, or any subsequent violation of that or any other rule, will result in termination of the tenancy, and will require that the tenant vacate the premises within 15 days. For a periodic violation the notice must also specify that repetition of the same violation shall result in termination. In the case of a violation of a "material change" in park rules with respect to pets, tenants with minor children living with them, or recreational facilities, the tenant shall be given written notice to comply within six monthsor vacate the premises; (b) Nonpayment of rent or other charges specified in the rental agreement—Notice to pay rent and/or other charges within 5 days or vacate the premises; (c) Conviction of the tenant of a crime (which threatens the health, safety, or welfare of the other mobile home park tenants)—Notice to vacate the premises in 15 days; (d) Engaging in criminal activity (that “threatens the health, safety, or welfare of the tenants")—no notice required, landlord may proceed directly to unlawful detainer action (see guide, “How to Evict Tenants Through an Unlawful Detainer Action"); (e) Receipt of three fifteen-day notices within a twelve-month period to comply or vacate for failure to comply with the material terms of the rental agreement or park rules; (f) Failure of the tenant to comply with obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of municipal, county, and state codes, statutes, ordinances, and regulations—Notice to comply immediately or vacate within 15 days; (g) Engaging in disorderly or substantially annoying conduct upon the park premises that results in the destruction of the rights of others to the peaceful enjoyment and use of the premises—Notice to comply immediately or vacate the premises within 15 days; (h) The tenant creates a nuisance that materially affects the health, safety, and welfare of other park residents—Notice to cease the conduct immediately or vacate the premises in 5 days; (i) Any other substantial just cause that materially affects the health, safety, and welfare of other park residents—Notice to comply immediately or vacate the premises within 15 days; or (j) Failure to pay rent by the due date provided for in the rental agreement three or more times in a twelve-month period—Notices to comply within5 days or vacate the premises (note: 3 or more notices required before commencing unlawful detainer action).

The notices described above should be served on behalf of the landlord by: delivering a copy personally to the tenant;orif the tenant is absent from the mobile home, by affixing a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place on the mobile homeandalso sending a copy through the mail addressed to the tenant at the tenant's last known address.

Following service of a proper notice, if the tenant has failed to comply with notice, additional notices may be requiredbefore the lease agreement can be terminated and the tenant evicted. Once sufficient notices have been provided pursuant to the statute, and if the tenant continues to refuse to vacate the premises, the next step is often proceeding with an unlawful detainer action. See Guide, “How to Evict Tenants Through Unlawful Detainer Action."

Physically removing the tenant or locking out the tenant are bothprohibited actions.

Additional resources provided by the author

Resources: RCW 59.20.040; 59.20.080; 59.20.140; 59.20.150.

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