Before you continue reading this article, if you are buying or planning to buy a mobile home in the Greater Sarasota Florida area, you must understand that mobile homes here are considered personal property, therefore, they are not taxed as real estate property. Most of the mobile homes here are sitting on leased land owned by mobile parks. So, it is important to understand that when buying a mobile home, you must obtain park approval first before you can move to a mobile home.
Lot rents are paid to the park owners and not to the seller. In this article, we will explain how difficult it will be if the lot rent of the mobile home you just purchased has not been paid on time.
What happens if the Seller of a mobile home does not pay the lot rent, and goes to sell the mobile home instead?
Are they able to just sell the home and not pay the lot rent that is owed?
Is the new Buyer responsible for the lot rent that was not been paid by the previous owner?
Does it even matter if the lot rent from the previous owner has even been paid?
This is the scenario I ran into last week when I went to sell a mobile home for one of our clients.
We utilized our marketing skills to obtain an interested Buyer, an offer was accepted, and the Buyer was excited to go to the park office, to begin the park approval process, so that they could move into their new home.
And then…… the problems began!!
You see the Seller did not tell us that they owed back lot rent on the home, which, as you can imagine, did not make the park manager very happy that they were not getting paid on time.
Now, before I go any further, I will stress to you that I am not an attorney, I do not represent any legal firm, and I’m certainly not giving any legal advice with these next comments.
We found out that the past lot rent due still needs to be paid by the Seller at the time of closing.
The park manager asked that we sell the home, for, at the very least, the lot rent that was owed on the property. When the home went to close, we were then asked by the manager to take the amount of money that was owed to the park out of the proceeds that were initially going to be paid to the Seller.
The Seller would then be issued the remaining funds for the sale of the home after the lot rent that was needing to be paid to the park was paid.
The park informed us that since the home was within a land-leased mobile home park in the state of Florida if the lot rent was then not paid the park would be able to invoke a landlord-tenant rule against the new owner.
How this was explained to me, was that if the lot rent was not paid by the seller, then the park has the right to evict the property because the owner of the home is renting the land through their monthly payment of lot rent.
Since this home that we sold was too old to obtain permits to move, the park would then try to have the home sold by the Sheriff’s department at auction, and try to then obtain what the lot rent that was owed to them, in payment, at the time of sale.
We at The Mobile Home Dealer, stress, to any mobile home Buyer that you need to make sure that you do your due diligence on any mobile home that you buy.
Always check to see if the home that you are buying is current on lot rent with the park.
If the home is not current, make sure you bring this to the Seller’s attention prior to signing any paperwork to buy the home.
If this critical step is not followed, then you could very well be in a very sticky situation!
We understand that some mobile homeowners are selling their property due to different reasons and one of these includes financial difficulties. When a homeowner is selling their mobile home because they can’t afford to pay the lot rent anymore, it is highly possible that they are behind for a month or more.
If the mobile home you are interested in buying has lot rent that is not paid it is imperative to speak to the park manager directly to get a written ledger of exactly how much money is owed and what stage of eviction the mobile home is in. Prior to purchasing the home the Buyer and Seller need to agree on who is paying what back lot rent prior to closing on the mobile home.
Although park owners have the option to repossess a mobile home through eviction many of the parks do not want to do this simply because they are not in the buying and selling business of mobile homes. All they need to get paid is the lot rent owed to them. Taking over the property is the last thing every mobile home park owner would like to do.
For sellers who are in this situation, make sure to explain everything to the buyer and cooperate with them in order to avoid problems beyond financial matters. Tell them that once they paid, you are going to pay all owed lot rent to the park managers.
If you’re selling your mobile home, one of the first things you need to do is make sure all your lot rent is paid up. If you have unpaid lot rent, it will be very difficult to sell your home. Not only will potential buyers be turned off by the unpaid rent, but the park owner may also put a lien on the property. This means that even if you do sell your home, you’ll still owe money to the park owner. So before you put your home on the market, make sure you’re current on all your lot rent payments.
This is Mark Kaiser with The Mobile Home Dealer, and we help mobile home Buyers and Sellers get to a better place in life!