Learn About Manufactured Housing Laws

Posted By: Denise Myers Education, Law, Manufactured Housing,

Last month, we featured a special 3-hour class covering Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Act led by Attorney, Cody Branstetter. Similar to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act covering the types of rental properties owned by 99% of RHAWA’s members, the MHLTA is found in the Revised Code of Washington and has its own chapter, 59.20. 

A recording of this course is now free in our OnDemand platform for MHC members. 

How it differs from Residential Landlord-Tenant Law
MHLTA and RLTA include many of the same areas such as the duties of landlords and tenants, rental agreement regulations, and the handling of security deposits. The main differences in the law relate to the tenant’s ownership of the structure as this is the distinguishing difference between these two landlord-tenant acts. Under the MHLTA, only the land is owned by the landlord – not the structure/dwelling unit. Many owners of manufactured home communities are also residential landlords because they own and rent out one or more homes in the community. Similarly, a residential landlord may venture into the MHLTA if they own a large property and rent out both an ADU and a few RV spaces with long-term tenants. In both cases, the landlord will need to be familiar with both the RLTA and the MHLTA, and use appropriate legal forms tailored for both chapters of the law. There is virtually no difference in how Fair Housing law is applied and very subtle differences in eviction law found mostly under RCW 59.12.

Recent changes to MHLTA
The newly updated course highlights the following recent changes under the law:
•    Senate Bill 5198, effective July 23, 2023 attempts to make manufactured home communities more stable by increasing the notice period for owners to change the use of the land from 12-months to 2-years; and allowing opportunities for the home owners to stay on the land through various means, including the establishment of community land trusts and resident nonprofit  cooperatives. 
•    House Bill 1329, also effective July 23, 2023, prohibits landlords from having utilities shut off due to non-payment during high-heat weather conditions.
•    Several new local laws extend the rent increase notice requirement beyond the 3-month period required under state law.
•    The 14-day pay or vacate notice period extends to 30 days for properties subject to the CARES Act.
•    Other COVID era restrictions on rent increases and evictions have now expired.

New MHC articles in the Support Center
Through the end of December, we will be converting this class content into short articles available in the Support Center found at rhawa.org/support-center.  The following topics will be included: 
•    MHLTA Definitions 
•    Rental Agreement Requirements 
•    Rent Increases and Other Changes to Terms 
•    Enforceable Rules 
•    Service of Notices 
•    Landlord Duties & Prohibited Acts
•    Maintenance Issues 
•    Tenant Duties 
•    Live-in Care Providers 
•    Tenant Repair Remedies 
•    Encouraging Compliance with Rules
•    Cause for Termination of Tenancy 
•    Notices to Pay Rent 
•    20-Day Notice to Comply 
•    Transfer of Rental Agreements 
•    Abandonment 
•    Change In Land use (park Closure) 
•    Eviction Process 
•    Post Eviction Disposition of Home 

Support for MHC Members
Since RHAWA’s MHC Membership group is very small and growing slowly, Support Center questions are usually handled by one of our member attorneys who practice MHC law, either Cody Branstetter or Bradley Drury. MHC Members can find a direct link to that service at rhawa.org/mhc-support-line.

Formal legal advice and review is recommended prior to selection and use of this information. RHAWA does not represent your selection or execution of this information as appropriate for your specific circumstance. The material contained and represented herein, although obtained from reliable sources, is not considered legal advice or to be used as a substitution for legal counsel.