Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Act. The Manufactured/ Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Act (MHLTA) governs the legal rights, remedies, and obligations arising from any rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant regarding a lot within a manufactured/mobile home community (MHC) where the tenant has no ownership interest in the property.
Notice of Closure. Under the MHLTA, any rental agreement must include either a covenant by the landlord that the MHC will not be converted or sold for three years or a statement that the MHC may be sold, transferred, or closed at any time after the required closure notice is provided to the tenants.
A landlord may not terminate or fail to renew a tenancy except if they change the land use of the MHC including, but not limited to, closure of the MHC or conversion to a use other than for mobile homes, manufactured homes, or park models or conversion of the MHC to a mobile home park cooperative or mobile home park subdivision. In these cases, a landlord must provide each affected tenant with 12 months notice in advance of such change. This 12 month notice requirement does not apply if the:
If compensation is paid, the landlord must provide written notice of at least 90 days in which the tenant must vacate.
Notice of Sale. Under the MHLTA, a landlord must provide written notice of sale by certified mail or personal delivery to each tenant of the MHC, the officers of any known qualified tenant organization, the office of mobile/manufactured home relocation assistance, the local government and housing authority within whose jurisdiction all or part of the MHC exists, and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
Each notice of sale must include a statement that the landlord intends to sell the MHC and the contact information of the landlord or landlord's agent who is responsible for communicating with the qualified organization or eligible organizations with regard to the sale of the property.
A landlord intending to sell a MHC is encouraged to negotiate in good faith with qualified tenant organizations and eligible organizations.
A qualified tenant organization is a formal organization of tenants within an MHC, wherein the only requirement for membership is being a tenant. An eligible organization includes local governments local housing authorities, nonprofit community or neighborhood-based organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes in the state of Washington, and regional or statewide nonprofit housing assistance organizations.
The bill as referred to committee not considered.
Notice of Closure. MHC landlords must provide tenants with three years notice before closure or conversion of the MHC. The option for landlords to include a covenant not to convert land use of the MHC for a three-year period in the initial lease with the tenant is eliminated.
Any tenant who sells their home within an MHC must provide the buyer with a copy of any closure notice in effect at least 15 days before the intended sale.
The three-year closure notice requirement does not apply if:
The three-year closure notice requirement is reduced:
In both cases, if a home remains in the MHC after the tenant vacates, the landlord is responsible for its demolition or disposal.
Notice of Sale. The required notice of sale is modified to include intent to sell or lease the MHC or the property on which it sits (underlying property). The definition of "notice of sale" is also modified to include both public and private notice that an MHC or the underlying property is for sale or lease.
Notice of Opportunity to Purchase. In addition to the required notice of sale, a landlord must provide a written notice of opportunity to purchase an MHC to each tenant, the Department of Commerce, and the Housing Finance Commission within 14 days after the date on which any advertisement, listing, or public notice is first made that the MHC or the underlying property is for sale or lease.
A notice of opportunity to purchase must include:
A notice of opportunity to purchase is not required for the sale or lease of an MHC or the underlying property if:
If a qualified tenant organization or other eligible organization provides notice within 45 days to a landlord expressing an intent to consider purchasing or leasing the MHC, the landlord may not make a final unconditional acceptance of an offer to purchase or lease the MHC from anyone other than a qualified tenant organization or eligible organization for an additional 12 months.
A landlord intending to sell or lease an MHC or the underlying property and any qualified tenant organization or eligible organization that submits a notice of intent to purchase or lease an MHC or the underlying property are both required to negotiate in good faith.
The Department of Commerce is required to maintain a registry of all eligible organizations that submit written requests to receive notices of opportunity to purchase or lease an MHC. The Department of Commerce must provide registered eligible organizations with notices of opportunity to purchase once it receives such notice.
A landlord who sells or leases an MHC and willfully fails to comply with the notice of opportunity to purchase, or the notice of intent to consider purchasing or leasing offer or acceptance waiting period is liable to the state for a civil penalty of $10,000. The attorney general may bring a civil action in the name of the state against a landlord.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: Manufactured housing is accessible, affordable housing and it is important to preserve this type of affordable housing. Manufactured housing is the most accessible path to homeownership for low income households. Rent increases are destabilizing homeowners and causing displacement in addition to park closures. This bill incentivizes and provides meaningful opportunity for permanent preservation by nonprofits who would keep rent within reach of homeowners. It is in the interest of the states for nonprofits to purchase MHCs.
MHCs are a valuable but dwindling resource for affordable housing. Many MHC residents are older adults, aging in place, or on fixed incomes. Not owning the land underneath the property creates insecurity by not knowing if rents will be raised. The biggest challenge to living in an MHC is the reality of the stress if served a notice 12-month notice that they need to move. Most tenants are elderly or fixed-income. MHCs are almost completely full, if a park were to close there would be nowhere to go for most residents.
The Legislature needs to support the communities. Incentivizing eligible organizations and nonprofits to purchase an MHC is positive for tenants. Policies should allow nonprofit housing authorities to purchase and preserve communities. This bill creates a real opportunity to purchase for eligible organizations to step in, negotiate, and potentially purchase the park. Resident own purchase is useful and has been successful.
CON: The bill interferes with legal procedures around real estate transactions and it confuses selling a park with closing the park. A community sale isn't always a closure. The prolonged closure period is challenging and the 24 month or 12 month options are too costly. Sale of the land after closure would not offset rental assistance/compensation costs. The bill will cause more instability in MHCs that protections. The bill could cause many parks to go for sale or close down and could keep people from building more MHCs.
This bill is a disproportionate burden on one type of property and will discourage and disincentivize investment in more MHCs. The additional timeline restrictions will increase price of transactions because it would negate the ability for other bidders to use a 1031 exchange. Obligation of a qualified tenant organization does not exist. Sale of mobile home park should not differ from another type of real estate sale.
There are not enough housing units available in Washington. MHC owners are housing providers. Instead of creating more housing, this bill punishes existing owners. There is not an epidemic of parks closing. In 2022, only 129 sites out of 72,000 were taken down. A big issue with restricting the closure of MHCs is safety. The bill doesn't bring new inventory to the market. The Oregon bill is useful with regard to opportunity to purchase.
OTHER: The bill penalizes MHC owners rather than incentivizing the creation of more MHCs.
PRO: This is a good compromise. There are a couple of errors that can easily be corrected from the floor.
CON: This bill violates the state constitutional rights. This well-meaning bill is a lawsuit waiting to happen. The Legislature should choose a path of incentives for landlords instead of what the current bill is.
OTHER: We are in strong support of a compromise. This is a very hard worked bill including with members of the house. We still need to fix this bill going forward but the proposed substitute is a good step going forward. We think that the second substitute represents a fair balance between the owners and the tenants for getting notification who may have disruption in their lives.