Park Homes Advice

provided by LEASE

Introduction to park homes

Park Home is the commonly used term for a mobile home (caravan) on a protected site within the meaning of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (the 1983 Act). A protected site is one that is required to be licensed by a local authority under Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 which covers most sites containing wholly residential park homes or a mixture of residential and holiday homes.

If someone has an agreement to live in a ‘park home’ as their only or main residence on a protected site then they will have the benefit of the rights and protections provided by the 1983 Act which implies a number of important terms into their agreement. These cover such matters as to how the agreement can be terminated, how the annual ‘pitch fee’ can be changed and the process that needs to be followed when buying or selling (or gifting) the home.

Changes to implied rights under the 1983 Act came into effect on 26 May 2013. These concern the buying, selling or gifting of a park home and the pitch fee review process. Further changes to the licensing of park homes came into effect on 1 April 2014, giving local authorities greater powers to enforce compliance with site licence conditions.

LEASE can advise on issues concerning park homes whether you are a park home owner, site owner or a local authority.

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Agreement – licence to park a mobile home on a site setting out the fees and other terms of the licence.

Assignment – the act of transferring property or some right (such as a contract) to another.

Beneficiary – a person or institution who receives a legacy under a will, trust or intestacy.

Buyers Information Form – a mandatory form completed by a seller.

Chattels – personal belongings such as items of furniture, art, antiques, jewellery and watches. A park home is a chattel.

Commission – a sum generally payable to the site owner on the sale of a park home

County court – the forum to decide civil matters; for park home matters it can deal with applications to terminate an agreement.

Existing agreements – an agreement acquired before 26 May 2013.

Express terms – specifically mentioned and agreed by both parties at the time the contract/agreement is made.

First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) – the forum to decide most mobile/park home disputes including disputed utility charges, enforcement of site rules, pitch fee reviews and administration charges.

Harassment – an act or words amounting to persecution causing alarm and distress. Under the Mobile Homes Act a single act of harassment by a site owner or agent is a criminal offence.

Implied terms – terms which by law are included in contracts/agreements regardless of whether they are specifically mentioned.

Intestacy – the estate of a person who dies without having made a legally valid will.

Lifetime gifts – that is gifts made by a living individual.

Local authority – including district and borough councils.

Mobile home – caravan designed or adapted for living and capable of being moved. Please see park home definition below.

Park home – the commonly used term for a mobile home (caravan) on a protected site (definition below) within the meaning of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended).

Pitch fee – the amount of money that an occupier is required to pay under their agreement to station a mobile home on a pitch and to use the communal areas. It may be paid monthly, yearly or quarterly.

Pitch fee review form – the document which must be used by the site owner if the pitch fee is to be reviewed.

Protected site – a site that must be licensed by the local authority. The licence must not have any restrictions on the times of year when the site can be occupied or be for holiday use only.

Relevant protected site – a site which will be subject to the new licensing regime. These sites include local authority sites which are excluded from the licensing regime.

Recoverable costs – the costs that may be recoverable through the pitch fee review. Can include the cost of improvements which have been carried out to the site and were the subject of a consultation process.

Relevant deductions – amounts that may be deducted from the pitch fee. They may reflect deterioration in the condition of the site or a reduction in services.

Review date – the annual date on which the site owner can review the pitch fee.

Retail Price Index – the measure of inflation published monthly by the Office of National Statistics. The figure is used to calculate the increase or decrease of the pitch fee every year.

Retail Price Index adjustment – the percentage increase/decrease that is applied when reviewing a pitch fee review.

Sale blocking – a criminal offence of intentionally or recklessly making a statement to prevent an occupier from selling a park home.

Site rule – rules applying to the site and incorporated into the Agreement. See article – The site rule making process.

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