Can My Landlord Stop Me From Selling My Mobile Home?

State laws vary widely with respect to protecting owners’ rights to sell their mobile home as against park owners' right to consent to a new tenant.

Question

I am moving out of the area, so I need to sell my mobile home. It is located in a mobile home park. A willing buyer wants to keep the mobile home in the mobile home park. The landlord, however, told me he will not approve the sale to the prospective buyer. Can he do that?

Answer

To protect mobile home owners like you, some states have laws that protect owners’ rights to sell mobile homes located in mobile home parks. Since “mobile” homes are not nearly as mobile as the name implies, without state law protection, owners looking to move may have no choice but to abandon their mobile home if their landlord refuses to let them sell.

Despite this protection, though, landlords usually have the right to approve a prospective buyer as a tenant in the mobile home park. Prospective buyers are unlikely to buy a mobile home if they cannot get approved as a tenant. As a result, landlords usually have some control over the sale, even if technically the control is indirect.

State laws vary widely in this area. For those states that protect owners’ rights to sell their mobile home, some common themes exist. First, the law often expressly states that the landlord cannot stop you from selling your mobile home. These laws, though, usually include additional provisions that allow landlords to:

  • receive notice of the owner’s intent to sell the mobile home, as well as advance notice of who the mobile home will be sold to
  • require the owner to remove trailers that do not meet reasonable state safety standards, and
  • approve the prospective buyer as a park tenant.

Even though a landlord can approve or deny a prospective buyer as a tenant in the mobile home park, a landlord usually cannot “unreasonably withhold consent.” The meaning of “unreasonably withhold consent” is determined on a case-by-case basis. Factors courts typically consider in determining whether a landlord is unreasonably withholding consent may include:

  • the prospective buyer’s (new tenant’s) ability to pay rent
  • the prospective buyer’s criminal history
  • the prospective tenant’s likely impact on other tenants in the mobile home park, and
  • the terms of the existing lease with the owner of the mobile home.

As an example, a landlord might reasonably withhold consent if the prospective buyer is unemployed and unable to pay rent. However, it is probably unreasonable for a landlord to withhold consent just to spite the seller for moving out of the park, or just because the prospective buyer has a family.

Your lease agreement may also include provisions that explain your right to sell your mobile home. Reviewing the lease to understand what you agreed to is important.

There are many different factors that will impact your landlord’s ability to “approve” the sale of your mobile home. Contact a local lawyer to help you analyze the specifics of your case.

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