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How does the legislation relate to residential, holiday and mixed-use sites?

leaseWhat rights and protections do park home residents have on sites with residential, holiday and mixed-used licences under the current legislation? What responsibilities do park site owners have? Rawdon Crozier, a barrister from KBG Chambers, in Plymouth, Truro and Exeter, and the Leasehold Advisory Service’s Ibraheem Dulmeer discuss

Home owners and park owners are sometimes unclear as to whether a unit is protected under the mobile homes legislation. This protection depends on whether the site is a residential, holiday or mixed use site. We examine the differences between these types of sites and the rights of home owners.

Residential sites
The Mobile Homes Act 1983 gives a number of rights and protections to park home owners who occupy the home as their own or main residence if it is situated on a protected site. This is a site where there are no restrictions concerning the site licence or planning permission. In this situation, the home owner will have the protection of     the Act.

Holiday sites
Where the planning permission permits only holiday use or restricts occupation for a specified period - e.g. 11 months of the year - the occupiers will not be protected by the Mobile Homes Act 1983. This means that they do not have rights provided by the legislation. For example, the right for a home owner to receive a Written Statement. The site owner is still required to obtain a site licence by applying to the local authority (Section 3 of Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960).

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Dealing with harassment

legalThe Leasehold Advisory Service‘s Anna Tomasik and Richard Hand examine the issue of harassment and explain what you can do if you believe you are a victim

Park home owners who live on a protected site and have a residential contract with the site owner are protected against harassment by law. Harassment is defined as an action that interferes, or is likely to interfere, with the peace or comfort of the occupier. It can also be the withdrawal of services or facilities reasonably required for the occupation of a park home. In addition, the site owner must be carrying out these actions with the knowledge that they would cause the occupier to abandon the park home, remove it from the site, or to refrain from exercising any right.

In order to take action against harassment, the behaviour complained about must qualify as harassment, which means it must interfere with the rights of the park home owner. These rights are contained in the agreement with the site owner and implied by statute.

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Frequently asked questions...

auglegal

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) answers questions on a variety of topics by telephone, email or letter for park home owners, site owners and other parties with an interest in park home legislation for both England and Wales. LEASE’s Ibraheem Dulmeer and Richard Hand work through a selection of some of the most frequently asked questions

Q: I enjoy keeping abreast of the latest First-tier Tribunal (FTT) and/or Residential Property Tribunal (in Wales) (RPT) determinations. Are they binding on other sites?

Although it may be a good idea to look at Tribunal decisions over coffee on a Sunday morning, they are not binding on other tribunal cases affecting different sites, though may be cited in support of a case. However, Upper Tribunal decisions (and those of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court) are binding on the FTT/RPT.

The decisions are published online. The FTT decisions are available here:
http://www.residential-property.judiciary.gov.uk/search/decision_search.jsp ;

RPT  Welsh decisions can be found here:
http://rpt.gov.wales/decisions-index/?lang=en

Finally, Upper Tribunal decisions are available at: http://landschamber.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk//Aspx/default.aspx

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A summary of the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013

julylegal

Some important changes to the legislation relating to Welsh park home sites was introduced in 2013. The Leasehold Advisory Service’s Richard Hand and Ibraheem Dulmeer explore the main issues

LEASE provides legal advice to park home owners, site owners and local authorities on park homes law in England and Wales. This article examines some of the main features of the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 (“the Act”) and the increased protection it provides for home owners in Wales.

When did the Act come into effect?

All sections of the Act came into force on 1 October 2014 and apply to all residential parks in Wales.

Licensing

A site licence is required if the owner is using land as a regulated site. Operating without a licence is an offence and an unlimited fine may be imposed by a court.

Regulated sites

The licensing provisions apply to regulated sites. A regulated site must have at least one mobile home stationed on it for the purposes of human habitation, apart from holiday sites. Schedule 1 to the Act also lists the types of site that are not regulated. These include sites owned by the local authority.

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Case law update: Recovery of annual licence fees via the pitch fee

June LEASE

The Leasehold Advisory Services’ senior legal advisor Richard Hand and solicitor Ibraheem Dulmeer examine two important cases relating to local authorities’ licence fee charges and the implications for site owners and park residents 

From 1 April 2014, local authorities have been able to charge a site owner an Annual Site Licence Fee (ALF) if they operate a ‘relevant protected site’. This includes most fully residential or mixed use sites.

The local authority must prepare and publish a fees policy before it can impose an ALF on a site owner.

When reviewing the pitch fee, a site owner is allowed to include any increase in management or maintenance costs directly resulting from a change in the law since the last review date by virtue of paragraph 18(1)(ba) of the Consolidated Implied Terms in Chapter 2 Part 1, Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983) (the Implied Terms). This means the ALF can be recovered through the pitch fee.
Once the ALF has been added, it forms a permanent part of the pitch fee and can increase by RPI in subsequent years.

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Inheriting and gifting park homes

May legal

It is common for site owners, park home owners and those who may be entrusted with the administration of an estate after a park home owner has passed away to be unaware of the rules that apply in relation to who can rightfully inherit a Written Statement and, in turn, the right to reside in a residential park home. In addition, there also tends to be confusion surrounding the circumstances where a resident can gift their park home. This article looks at the differences between inheriting and gifting a park home and considers common examples.  

Inheritance of a park home
Inheritance depends upon who was living with the park home owner at the time of death. Section 3 of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (the Act) sets out the hierarchy of potential beneficiaries, but inheritance of a park home is subject to it being occupied by the park home owner (prior to their death) as their main or only residence.

It will explore a number of different scenarios to demonstrate these inheritance rights. By way of example, meet our fictitious pair ‘James and Joan’: they were married and lived together in a park home. Sadly, James recently died. Before his demise, he left the park home to Joan in his will.

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