Evicting RTO Tenants in PA

4 Replies

We just bought a park in PA which had 20 RTO homes with several tenants that haven't paid for about a year. When we took them through the eviction process, the judge ruled that this is a RTO contractual issue (ownership % which is not an unpaid rent issue) and outside of his jurisdiction. So we are suppose to hire a lawyer to go through a length legal process to kick these delinquent RTO tenants out.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Because each RTO tenant also have a "lot rent contract" with us, can we evict them just on "lot rent owed" and ignore the back RTO payments?

Thanks!

@Amos Smith

Without seeing the actual paperwork, it is hard to say. If I understand your situation correctly, you own the mobile home park but you also entered into 20 "Rent to Own" contracts with the tenants. If so, you have multiple issues. 

First, you need to figure out what exactly you need to do to recover the mobile home itself. Typically you will need to repossess the mobile home from the tenant although there may be some exceptions. If you need to repossess it, there are very specific steps you need to take before you do so. Below is the law on this issue but you probably want to work with an attorney on this.  

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consC... 

Second, you also have the issue of whether you need to file an eviction action to kick out the tenants from your park. This is technically a distinct issue from repossessing the mobile home. To be safe, I would bring both actions at once. 

To answer your question about just doing an eviction and ignoring the repossession, you won't legally get the title back to the mobile home without a repossession action. You may want to check the title of these mobile homes with the DMV, but I would bring the lawsuit to make sure you have a clean title.  

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

Chris, we really appreciate your feedback! We actually have the title of the homes currently and the RTO contract clearly spells out that the tenant won't get the titles until the end of the term.

We are just trying to get them out of the park without spending too much on legal fee.  Once they are out, we are not concerned about the title ownership.

Originally posted by @Chris K. :

@Amos Smith

Without seeing the actual paperwork, it is hard to say. If I understand your situation correctly, you own the mobile home park but you also entered into 20 "Rent to Own" contracts with the tenants. If so, you have multiple issues. 

First, you need to figure out what exactly you need to do to recover the mobile home itself. Typically you will need to repossess the mobile home from the tenant although there may be some exceptions. If you need to repossess it, there are very specific steps you need to take before you do so. Below is the law on this issue but you probably want to work with an attorney on this.  

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consC...

Second, you also have the issue of whether you need to file an eviction action to kick out the tenants from your park. This is technically a distinct issue from repossessing the mobile home. To be safe, I would bring both actions at once. 

To answer your question about just doing an eviction and ignoring the repossession, you won't legally get the title back to the mobile home without a repossession action. You may want to check the title of these mobile homes with the DMV, but I would bring the lawsuit to make sure you have a clean title.  

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

 I strongly second Chris's advice about hiring an attorney except I would suggest doing so sooner rather than later. There are some related issues you may be unaware of that may affect how you proceed. Pennsylvania is a difficult state.

A quick update on this...

By only going after the owed lot payments (not the owed RTO payments), we were able to proceed as a simple eviction and not get tangled in an expensive RTO contract litigation (lawyer gets most of the money).

By letting go of the RTO payments, we avoided the bigger legal fees, and was able to get rid of the deadbeat tenants.

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