Mobile Home Basics - Tenant Resource Center



Mobile Home Basics

Mobile Homes are not our best subject. I'm going to just start right there. We do many things well, and we are the stronger for knowing our limitations. 

However, when landlords are not following laws that regulate mobile home parks, there can be a breathtaking imbalance of power. Tenants in an eviction can end up with many thousands of dollars in moving costs, far more than an average, non-mobile home eviction. Since mobile home laws are difficult to figure out, and we like giving people good information, today I'm going over some basics, the laws that apply to different situations, and the agencies that you can talk to if you need an expert.

The most basic information to have about mobile homes is to figure out which category you are in, and the laws that apply to you:

  1. Do you own your mobile home (you have the title), but you rent the lot (the piece of land)? Then ATCP 125 and Wis. Stat. 710.15 protect you as a mobile home owner. Your rights as a tenant of the lot are protected by Wis. Stat. 704, ATCP 134, and Wis. Stat. 799, but these only apply to the lot, and not inside the mobile home, where you have sole ownership. 
  2. Do you rent both the mobile home and the lot? Then ATCP 125 does NOT apply to you. Your rights as a tenant (of both the home and the lot) are protected by Wis. Stat. 710.15, Wis. Stat. 704, ATCP 134, and Wis. Stat. 799.
  3. Do you rent-to-own the mobile home but rent the lot? Then it depends on the contract. Many rent-to-own contracts say that there is a phase where you are a tenant of the mobile home, and also a phase where you are the owner of the mobile home.* When you are a tenant of the mobile home, you fall into category #2, above. When you are the owner of the mobile home, but rent the lot, then you fall into category #1, above. If you're trying to figure out which of these you are, that might be a great time to call an attorney.

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Here are the mobile home laws:

ATCP 125 (here)

  • Some important things that this law says:
    • All leases for the rental of the lot must be in writing. ATCP 125.03(1)
    • The lease for renting the lot cannot be shorter than one year. This can only change if the person renting the lot (the tenant/owner of the mobile home) asks for a shorter lease in writing and the owner of the lot agrees. ATCP 125.03(2)
    • If the mobile home is purchased through the same folks that run the mobile home park, then the rental agreement has to be given to the person who is buying the mobile home before they sign the contract to purchase that home. ATCP 125.03(1)
    • Rules and regulations cannot be changed in the middle of a lease agreement. The law lists some things which definitely cannot be changed in the middle of a lease, including parking regulations, rules restricting guests, rules restricting pets. ATCP 125.05(2)
    • If the owner of the lot wants to change the amount of rent or fees, or make big changes to the lot rental agreement, the land owner must give the mobile home owner 28 days notice before the lease renewal. ATCP 125.05(1) 
    • If the owner of the land wants to ask the mobile home owner to leave (or to give a non-renewal), then the lot owner must give the mobile home owner a written reason. ATCP 125.08 (in the notes)
  • This law covers: People who own the mobile home, but rent the lot. Only for mobile home parks with 2 or more lots. Covers all of Wisconsin. ATCP 125.01(2)
  • If the lot owner doesn't follow these rules, then:
    • Complain to the Department of Agricultu