Facts: Respondent Little Mountain Estates Tenants Association filed suit against petitioner Little Mountain Estates Mobile Home Community, L.L.C. in the Superior Court for Skagit County on behalf of tenants who had assigned their leases, claiming that lease provisions converting leases’ original twenty-five year terms into one or two year terms upon assignment violated the Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord Tenant Act (Washington Revised Code §59.20), which protects mobile home tenants’ right to assign their leases. The trial court dismissed the suit, ruling that the lease terms did not violate §59.20. The Washington Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, concluding that the lease provisions constituted an unenforceable waiver of the right to assign a mobile home lease. Little Mountain Estates appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Do the lease provisions changing the duration of the lease upon assignment violate the right to assignment guaranteed by §59.20?
Conclusion: Justice Sanders’ opinion for the Court held that the contested lease provisions do not violate §59.20 insofar as they merely preclude tenants from assigning a twenty-five year lease rather than from assigning their lease entirely and thus do not constitute a waiver of the right to assignment. Thus, the provisions were ruled enforceable and the Court reversed the decision of the Washington Court of Appeals.
Petitioner: Little Mountain Estates Mobile Home Community, L.L.C.
(Counsel: Sidney Charlotte Tribe and Walter Hartvig Olsen, Jr.)
Respondent: Little Mountain Estates Tenants Association
(Counsel: Philip James Buri)
Argument: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Prevailing Party: Little Mountain Estates Mobile Home Community, L.L.C. (Petitioner)
Court: Madsen1 Court (2010-)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.