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December 18, 2023

Mobile Home Rent Increases in Texas: How Much and How Often?

Texas has witnessed a significant uptrend in mobile home rent in recent years, reflecting broader shifts in the state’s housing market. This trend is not just a statistic; it profoundly affects the lives of thousands who see mobile homes as an affordable housing solution. For tenants, these increases can strain budgets and raise concerns about housing stability. For landlords, they represent a balance between fair business practices and the realities of market demand.

Understanding the nuances of these increases is crucial. In this article, we’ll dive head first into the legal frameworks governing mobile home communities, the economic forces at play, and the actual impact on the lives of Texans. 

Understanding Texas Mobile Home Market Dynamics

Texas, known for its vast landscapes and booming cities, is also home to the largest mobile home parks in the United States. With over 5,000 mobile home parks, the state provides a significant portion of the nation’s affordable housing through these communities. This prevalence is partly due to Texas’ expansive land area and historical factors, such as military bases and educational institutions, which spurred the development of mobile home parks in the mid-20th century.

The demand for affordable housing in Texas has escalated, driven by a rapidly growing population and economic factors. In recent years, Texas’ population has soared to nearly 30 million, a trend that exerts considerable pressure on the housing market. This surge in demand and limited supply has inevitably led to an increase in mobile home rents. While mobile homes traditionally represented a more affordable option than conventional housing, the rising costs are starting to challenge this notion.

The impact of these market dynamics is multifaceted. On the one hand, it reflects Texas’s economic vitality and attractiveness as a place to live and work. On the other, it underscores a growing concern: the affordability crisis in housing. As rents in mobile home parks rise, they approach those of standard apartments and houses, leaving fewer options for low to moderate-income families. This situation calls for carefully examining the market forces at play and their implications for current and prospective residents of Texas’ mobile home communities.

The legal landscape for mobile home rent increases in Texas is primarily governed by Chapter 94 of the Texas Property Code. This chapter addresses the intricacies of manufactured home tenancies, setting the groundwork for landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities. Its applicability is crucial, as it covers scenarios where a landlord leases property in a manufactured home community for the placement of a manufactured home. However, it’s important to note that this law does not apply when the landlord leases a manufactured home they own or when the tenant is an employee or agent of the landlord.

One of the key legal provisions of this chapter is the requirement for notice in the event of a rent increase. For tenants on a month-to-month rental agreement, Texas law mandates that landlords provide at least a 30-day written notice before any rent hike can take effect. This notice period is crucial as it gives tenants adequate time to adjust their budgets or consider other housing options. For those on a fixed-term lease, landlords must wait until the lease expires before implementing any rent increase unless otherwise stipulated in the lease agreement.

Texas law also outlines special conditions for rent stabilization, particularly during a disaster or pandemic. Under Section 214.902 of the Texas Property Code, municipalities can enact rent control laws during such extraordinary circumstances. This provision is designed to protect residents from sudden and potentially unaffordable rent increases during times of crisis. 

Tenant Rights and Protections

In Texas, tenants residing in mobile home parks have specific rights and protections, especially concerning rent increases. Understanding these rights is crucial for tenants to ensure illegal or excessive rent hikes do not unfairly burden them.

Firstly, tenants are entitled to receive a proper notice of any rent increase. As stipulated by law, this notice must be provided at least 30 days in advance for month-to-month leases. For fixed-term leases, rent cannot be increased until the lease period ends unless the lease agreement specifies otherwise. This advance notice is critical, allowing tenants time to make informed decisions about their housing situation.

If a tenant believes a rent increase is illegal — for instance, if it’s implemented without adequate notice or discriminates based on protected characteristics like race, gender, or disability — they have legal avenues for recourse. Tenants can challenge such increases through legal channels, including small claims court, or seek assistance from tenant advocacy groups.

The Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) plays a pivotal role in safeguarding tenant interests. TMHA provides resources and support for tenants, helping them understand their rights and the legalities of rent increases. They also advocate for fair and reasonable housing practices in the state legislature, ensuring that the voices of mobile home park residents are heard and considered in policy-making processes.

Case Studies and Real-Life Impacts

Various case studies vividly illustrate the real-life impacts of rent increases in Texas mobile home parks. For instance, in a park in Austin, tenants faced a sudden rent hike from $125 to $275 in one month, significantly straining their budgets. Many of these tenants were retirees or low-income families for whom such an increase meant choosing between rent and other essential expenses.

In some cases, landlords have responded to tenant concerns by staggering rent increases or offering extended notice periods, allowing tenants more time to adjust. Community responses have varied, with some organizing tenant associations to negotiate with park owners while others have sought assistance from local housing advocacy groups.

These examples underscore the delicate balance between the financial viability of mobile home parks and the affordability challenges tenants face. They highlight the need for empathetic and sustainable approaches to rent adjustments in these communities.

Texas Mobile Home Rent Increases: Final Thoughts

The landscape of mobile home rent increases in Texas is complex, influenced by legal frameworks, market dynamics, and the real-life circumstances of tenants and landlords. Understanding these factors is crucial for both parties. Tenants must know their rights and the protections available, while landlords should adhere to legal obligations and ethical best practices. 

One way to avoid mobile home rent increases is by purchasing a mobile home with land. Braustin has various options available, allowing you to own the land you live on. We regularly give virtual tours of these mobile homes on our Facebook page, letting you see them with your own eyes without leaving your home. We recently filmed a tour of a beautiful home in Walzem Park.
Buying mobile homes, like the Tru Delight or Triumph, at an affordable price is another way to offset mobile home park rent.