WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A RESIDENT SELLS THEIR HOME WITHOUT NOTIFYING ME? WHAT IF I DISCOVER THAT THEY HAVE SUBLET THE HOME? WHAT IF I HAVE ACCEPTED RENT FROM A PERSON WHO IS SUBLETTING? (I.E., IT CAME IN THE MAIL AND I DID NOT REALIZE IT WAS A RENTER)?

Pursuant to RCW 59.20.073, no home may be sold in a community without fifteen days advance notice of the intended sale given to the community owner by the selling tenant. This provision of the law specifically states that failure to notify the community owner of the intended transfer (or failure of the prospective tenant to make a good faith attempt to arrange for an interview) is grounds for disapproval of the transfer.

If you do have a resident who sells a home in the community without notifying community management, advise the resident that the transfer is disapproved by virtue of RCW 59.20.073 (5). Notification may be done by delivery of a fifteen-day notice to the tenant (for violation of the rules and the law) and three-day trespass notice to the unlawful occupant. This notice is a MHCW form.

A community owner can only evict a tenant for subletting if there is a prohibition against subletting in the rental agreement. The standard MHCW rental agreement (paragraph 18) prohibits subletting or renting any part of the tenant’s manufactured home or lot.

If unlawful occupants refuse to vacate, after being served a three-day notice to quit, an unlawful detainer action should be instituted.

If rent is unwittingly accepted from an unlawful occupant, either return the rent check with a letter of explanation or, if the rent check has been deposited, return the funds by community check with explanation. The “explanation” should state that acceptance of rent was due to lack of notice of the identity of the payer and that the check is being returned as subletting is prohibited in this community. Be advised however that continuous acceptance of rent will waive the ability to negate the tenancy. The acceptance of rent checks should be a careful exercise at all times.