Park Homes – Review of legislation
19 November, 2018
Park Homes are increasing in popularity, especially for the over 50’s living in coastal areas of the UK. There are now over 2000 sites. However, those buying a park home do not always know what rights and responsibilities they might have.
A recent Government review of Park Homes Legislation shows that home owners lack awareness of their rights, statutory requirements and responsibilities. The Government’s proposals for more protection for park home owners have hit the headlines recently with the proposed introduction of the fit and proper person test for site owners and managers. Local Authorities will have greater powers and the idea behind its introduction is to stop some of the bad behaviour which goes on.
The Government also identified three other areas for change; greater transparency in the pitch fees which it also proposes are to be increased by the Consumer Price Index rather than the Retail Price Index, as well as a challenge to the complex structure under which some parks are owned and managed.
There is no time frame for this change in the legislation and there needs to be time on the parliamentary time table to allow it but once in force it will act as a further layer of protection for owners of these homes who can often be elderly and vulnerable.
The benefit of park home sites is that they can be a very friendly place to live with social activities and residents might want to join a Resident’s Association if there is one. These are not just social groups. If they are a Qualifying Resident’s Association (with over 50% of owners as members) then the site owner is required to consult with them in relation to changes to the way in which the site is operated and managed as well as any improvements they plan to make on the site. The Resident’s Association can also provide a powerful voice if something does go wrong.
Often some of the charges which park home owners are obliged to pay might be a little confusing, however they have the right to ask for details of water, gas and electricity charges and there are limits to what they can be asked to pay. There are also rules as to how site owners must act if they wish to increase the pitch fee, by serving a notice and providing park home owners with 28 days in which to respond.
Most home owners do not know if the park rules which they are given when they purchase their property are legal. They cannot be changed without consultation there are specific rules preventing site owners from forcing owners to sell their home through them or to them. Current legislation also implies certain terms into site rules so that owners are protected.
We always recommend that people should use a solicitor when purchasing a park home and ensure that they research the site before buying.
If you need any advice in relation to this, please do not hesitate to contact our Residential Property expert, Jane Canham at Jane.Canham@storrarcowdry.co.uk.