Southeast Texas Record

Monday, April 6, 2020

Recreational vehicle park guests could be tenants for eviction purposes, Paxton says


By Gabriel Neves | Dec 4, 2018

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RV | Pexels

AUSTIN – An agreement between an RV park and a guest staying at the park's premises may establish a landlord-tenant relationship, Attorney General Ken Paxton says.

Paxton issued a four-page opinion on the subject on Nov. 21 upon request of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Chair Sen. Charles Perry, who expressed doubts on whether guests at those parks were either licensees or tenants for eviction purposes.

As stated in the opinion, Paxton defined a tenant as someone who "has a vested interest in the property of another and obtains exclusive possession and control of the premises," whereas a licensee could be defined as somebody who possesses a license that "merely entitles a party to use the land of another for a particular purpose without conveying any interest in the land itself and is revocable at will."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

In regards to recovering the possession of the property, Paxton explained that "a tenant may file suit to recover possession of leased premises, terminating the tenancy requires proper notice, and eviction may require civil process," which is the opposite of the licensee, who "may not sue to recover possession of the premises and eviction does not require civil process."

Although Perry stated in his April letter to Paxton that under Texas law, RV parks are properties that provide lodging only for transient or temporary guests, being equivalent to places like hotels and motels, Paxton explained in the opinion that state laws "do not prohibit a recreational vehicle park from providing an individual guest with more permanent lodging."

"A blanket rule does not exist for all recreational vehicle park guests; rather, the legal relationship between a recreational vehicle park and its guest depends on the terms of the parties' agreement," Paxton wrote.

The attorney general concluded that both conditions could be valid.

"An agreement between a recreational vehicle park and a guest staying on the premises in a recreational vehicle may establish a landlord-tenant relationship, a license, or other legal relationship depending on its terms," Paxton said.

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Texas Office of the Attorney General