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Park home roadshow

Park home roadshowThis year’s Park Home Roadshows, where park home residents have the opportunity to speak to park home legal experts, kicked off with an event at Sonning Common, near Reading, on 10 April. Steve Rowe went along to see what was on people’s minds…

If you’ve not heard of them before, the Park Home Roadshows have been running for several years, giving the opportunity for park home residents all over the UK to meet a panel of park home experts. The focus is very much on the rights of park home residents, as opposed to site owners, and the roadshows are an independent forum for residents to discuss issues that are affecting them on their park home sites, as well as hearing speeches from a panel of legal experts.

WHO ORGANISES THE ROADSHOWS?

The leading light behind the inviting representatives from each park to come along to the event.

Typically these representatives will be members of the residents association on their respective parks, so are fully aware of all the issues affecting their fellow residents.

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A small price to pay

A small price to payEstimates that the charges to be passed on to residents for the issuing of site licences in future indicate amounts between £4 and £13 per annum

Kris Hopkins MP, Minister of State for Housing, addressed a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Welfare of Park Home Residents at the beginning of March. Although new to his role, he said he was not new to park homes as he had three ‘significant parks’ in his constituency (Keighley, West Yorkshire).

Speaking about the Mobile Homes Act 2013, he paid tribute to Peter Aldous MP for guiding it through, adding that it had achieved several significant benefits for residents.

Need for transparency
Firstly, he talked about transparency regarding fees charged to residents and also about the freedom that residents now enjoyed in being able to bring goods or services to the park without the park owner’s permission.

He also mentioned that residents now had the right to be consulted about site rules and that, when agreed, those rules had to be lodged with the local authority.

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Site licensing changes

Site licensing changesThe regime under which licences to operate park home estates are issued will be revised, taking effect from 1 April this year...

Towards the end of last year the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a discussion paper setting out its proposals for regulations in relation to the issue and transfer of site licences. For anyone who may not be aware, every caravan park in the country (residential, holiday or touring) must hold a site licence issued by the local authority, which attaches conditions to that licence for items like maintenance and safety of roads and paths, fire fighting equipment, safety of electrical installations, water supply, drainage and sanitation, etc. Local authorities should carry out regular inspections to ensure that conditions are complied with.

Under the current regime, an authority must grant a licence if the land is in the ownership of the applicant and has planning permission to site caravans on it.

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Selling Your Park Home - The New Laws

Legislation updateThere are some important new rules relating to the selling or gifting of your park home. Under the new Mobile Homes Act, park home owners can now sell their homes on the open market without having the new home buyer approved by their site operator.

Here’s how the new legislation - which came into force on 26 May, 2013 – now works:

THE NEW PROCESS

What should happen if you bought or were gifted your park home AFTER 26 May, 2013 in four simple steps:

1. FIND A BUYER When you have found a buyer for your home, fill in a Buyers Information Form. This provides key information about the site, its rules and your agreement with the site owner. We recommend that you speak to a professional adviser such as a solicitor. N.B. Those who bought or gifted park homes after 26 May DO NOT have to tell the park site operator they have completed the sale.

2. COMPLETE THE SALE & MOVE OUT Fill in the Assignment Form, which transfers the pitch agreement to your buyer. The buyer pays you 90 per cent of the sale price. That’s it – don’t forget to give them a forwarding address.

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Radical proposals for site rules

Legislation updateThe DCLG has issued some new proposals for ensuring that, in future, site rules are fair and transparent

The majority of park home estates have rules in place that help to ensure community cohesion, good estate management, and that residents know their rights and responsibilities.

Sadly, though, there have been instances of park owners abusing rules to deny residents some of their rights, in particular their freedom to sell their homes. Rules which could prevent or restrict a resident from selling their home on the open market were banned in May, following the introduction of the Mobile Homes Act 2013.

However, other inappropriate rules are sometimes used to secure other benefits for park owners and reduce residents’ rights, and the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) proposes to ban these and to introduce a new system for making rules which, when approved, will be part of the pitch agreement. The Department issued a Discussion Paper about

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Legislation update

Legislation updateA brief summary of the current situation regarding the new park homes legislation, including the separate changes in Scotland

Regular readers of this magazine will have received the leaflet Park Homes: Know Your Rights in our September issue. A Government publication, this sets out in an easy-to-read form the new legislation concerning the buying, selling and gifting of a park home.

Mention is also made of the changes to local authority licensing which come into effect on 1 April 2014 and which will enable local authorities to charge park owners for their site licences and to make sure that the terms of those licences are complied with.

Anyone who hasn’t received this booklet can download it from www.gov.uk/park-mobile-homes. Also available on that website are the new Government fact sheets: Park homes: residents’ rights and responsibilities; Selling a park home;  Pitch fees and other payments to site owners; Qualifying residents’ associations; and Going to a tribunal.

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