By Chris Humphreys and Ibraheem Dulmeer, LEASE Legal Advisers
This article was first published in Park Home & Holiday Caravan Magazine, November 2014.
New laws have introduced a procedure for making, varying and deleting park rules. Residential park site owners will be required to consult with residents if they wish to retain existing rules or make new park home site rules.
There is no legal obligation to introduce rules about the running of a site. But if a park owner chooses to do so, a strict procedure must be followed. The procedure can be found in the Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014. Ideally, the process should be completed as soon as possible as all existing rules will only stay in force until 3 February 2015 unless action is taken before then. However, all existing rules which have been banned will cease to have effect immediately.
For example any rule which prevents the park home owner from selling or gifting the mobile home to anyone other than the site owner.
How does this process work?
The first step is for the site owner to serve a document called a Proposal Notice on all park home owners and any Qualifying Residents’ Association (the consultee). The Proposal Notice must clearly set out the proposals being made by the site owner and must state the reasons for making these proposals.
How should the Proposal Notice be sent?
It can be sent by post or by hand. If it is served by post, the deemed date of service is the second day after it was sent. Therefore, if it is posted on 1 April, the service date will be 3 April.
Should the Proposal Notice be sent to all the park home owners?
Yes, the notice has to be sent to all park home owners. This will provide each park home owner with the opportunity to accept, ask for modification or reject the proposals.
What matters can the site rules cover?
The site rule must be necessary to ensure that acceptable standards are maintained on the site for the general benefit of occupiers to promote community cohesion on the site.
What is the deadline for sending the response?
Consultees must be given 28 days to respond with the first consultation day being the deemed date of service of the Proposal Notice.
What happens when the site owner receives the park home owners’ responses?
The next stage is for the site owner to serve another document called the Consultation Response Document, after first considering all the responses. This document will be served on all consultees within 21 days of the end of the 28 day consultation period. It is important to note that even if no responses have been received during this period, the site owner must still serve the Consultation Response document.
What is in the Consultation Response Document?
In this document, the site owner must give details of the consultation including the representations received and their response to them and any modifications to be made to the proposals as a result.
What else should the site owner provide with this Consultation Response Document?
The site owner must provide a copy of the site rules that they intend to deposit with the local authority.
What happens if the park home owner objects to the site owner’s proposals?
If a consultee wishes to object to the proposals in the Consultation Response Document, they must appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (“the Tribunal”) within 21 days, from receipt of the Consultation Response Document. The park home owner must also write to the site owner to inform them of their intentions and provide the site owner with a copy of the application made, within the same period. Until the appeal has been heard, the site owner cannot deposit the site rules.
What forms do park home owners use to make an appeal to the Tribunal?
The forms can be found on our website, it would be either form PH14 or PH15. When objecting to the site owner’s site rules proposals the form PH15 should be used. Please read the notes contained in these forms carefully before completing them.
Can the park home owner appeal on any grounds?
It is necessary to show that the site owner has acted unreasonably in some way in reaching their decision, taking into account the size or character of the site. If a site owner has not allowed enough time (28 days from date of service of the Proposal Notice) for park home owners to response to their proposals; this is also a valid reason for an appeal.
What are the powers of the Tribunal?
The Tribunal can decide to accept or reject the proposals depending on whether they determine they are reasonable or order the site owner to comply with a procedural requirement that was not followed. Both the site owner and park home owner will be bound by its decision.
What will happen if the Tribunal decides that the rules are reasonable?
The site owner must then deposit the site rules with the local authority within 14 days of the Tribunal’s decision, unless the Tribunal specifies a longer time period.
What does the site owner need to do once the rules have been deposited?
The site owner must notify all consultees within seven days of the deposit of site rules by serving a document called a Notification of Deposit of Site Rules. This document provides confirmation that the site rules are effective and will become express terms of the agreement with the site owner. The site rules will then come into force 21 days after the date of service of this notice.
What should the site owner do if he decides that he wishes to delete the site rules?
The site owner is required to deposit a Deletion Notice with the local authority. It is also necessary to serve a Notice of Deposit of Deletion Notice on the consultees which will confirm that the rules are no longer effective. The park home owners will also need to be served with this document within seven days of the deposit. Such deletions will then come into effect 21 days after the date of service of this notice.
Who can view the site rules once lodged at the local authority?
Anyone. The local authority retains a register which is open to members of the public during normal working hours and they must also publish these online. The local authority may charge a fee for depositing the site rules.
Does the local authority have a duty to examine the site rules to ensure no banned rules are included?
Yes, a local authority should ensure that no banned rules are included in the site rules deposited with them.