IfI am making payments to own a house does that make the seller a landlord?

I am buying a trailer from someone in installment payments. Before we get the title, does that make her my landlord until I pay it off? She keeps threatening to kick me out for stupid stuff like the yard has some toys in it and if I am a day or so late on the payment. Also, it says in a contract with the trailer court that you can’t sublease a house, so does that make my contract with her void?

Asked on September 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no simple or general answer to your questions, since your rights and obligations will depend on the terms of the agreement between between you and the owner of the home.  For example, you could be doing a lease-to-own, where part of the payments are rent and part is towards buying the trailer; in that case, you are a tenant (and therefore could have troulbe under the contract you mention); or alternately, you could already be the owner yourself, but simply paying on time (with the seller possibly having a security interest in the home until it is fully paid off); etc. You need to consult with an attorney, who can review the agreement with the person you're acquiring the home from, the trailer court contract, and your payment history. The short answer is likely that if title has been transferred to you and you're paying in installments, you're the owner now, not a tenant; if title is still in the other person's name (which seems to be what you indicate), you're likely a tenant--but again, you need to consult with a lawyer.

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