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Park Homes: Know Your Rights

Park Homes: Know Your RightsThe first changes to the park home legislation - which deal with pitch fees, buying, selling and gifting a home, and park rules - came into effect on 26 May. The Government has published a guide on this entitled Park Homes: Know Your Rights. Here’s our summary…

How has the pitch fees regime changed?

You already pay a pitch fee to the park owner for being able to station your park home on his land. The park owner can propose fee changes once a year. In future, he must give you 28 days’ notice in writing of his intention to alter the pitch fee and he must use a standard form (The Pitch Fee Review Form). This form explains the process and the rights of the resident. If a pitch fee cannot be agreed, the site owner can apply to a Residential Property Tribunal. You should continue to pay the current pitch fee until the Tribunal reaches a decision on the matter.

How will sales and gifting of homes be handled?

As a park home owner, you have a right in law to sell your home on the open market. You can also give it to a member of your family. The site owner does not have the right to approve the buyer or family member, but the buyer or family member will have to meet any site rules

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Buying a holiday home

julylegalWill the leisure lodge home have a structural warranty protecting it?

There are two holiday lodge warranties: Platinum Seal and Gold Shield. New lodges start with a manufacturer’s statutory guarantee of 12 months, but some have an extended structural warranty such as Platinum Seal or Gold Shield for up to 10 years. Always check the conditions of these extended warranties as some schemes are only available from selected parks, regardless of any manufacturer’s extended warranty. Other schemes may cover all parks.

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Plain and positive

Plain and positiveHousing Minister Mark Prisk is adamant that all park home residents will be able to find out about the new legislation in an easy-to-understand printed format

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP (pictured right) has declared that his department (DCLG) will produce a plain English guide to the new legislation and distribute it widely. Better still, he said it would be printed – the department would not be relying on internet downloading and distribution. Not only will this publication set out what the park home resident needs to know now, but also where they can go to get further help and advice.

Mr Prisk was speaking at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Welfare of Park Home Residents in mid May and he had plenty of good news to impart. As well as the promise of a plain English guide to the legislation, he said his department would also be issuing various fact sheets. Better still, independent and free advice would be available from LEASE – the Leaseholders Advisory Service.

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A new era for park home owners

Fresh StartThe Mobile Homes Bill has now been debated and had its second reading in the House of Lords. Hopes are high that it will be enacted in early summer

The new legislation which will give greatly improved rights to park home residents is well on its way to coming into force. Having completed its passage through the House of Commons, it is now with the House of Lords where it had its second reading in early February. At the time of writing, we are awaiting a date for the committee stage when it will come under minute, line-by-line scrutiny.

Speaking about that stage, Baroness Hanham, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Government, commented that she hoped that any amendments would not be pressed to a vote or supported. ‘Amendments will cause delay and very likely result in the Bill not completing its passage before the end of the session,’ she warned. ‘That would mean that it could not be enacted, which would be a huge blow to many thousands of people whose rights and health and safety would be better protected by its measures.’

However, the mood of the second reading debate was very positive and among many valuable contributions there was a very welcome one from Lord Graham of Edmonton who has worked so tirelessly for more than 30 years to improve the lot of those living in park homes. Although he has been in poor health recently, Lord Graham was determined not only to attend the second reading debate but also to participate fully in it.

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More rights for holiday home buyers

maylegal88The National Caravan Council has launched a scheme aimed at promoting best practice in the industry and raising standards of professionalism and customer service

It has long been a cause for concern that owners of holiday homes (static caravans and lodges) have few consumer rights (unlike park home residents who have legislative protection).But all that has changed with the launch, by the National Caravan Council, of its ‘Approved Holiday Park – Holiday Home Ownership’ scheme. This scheme covers the purchase and sale of new and pre-owned holiday homes and the agreement to occupy a pitch on a holiday park. The aim of the scheme is to promote best practice and raise standards of professionalism and customer service across the industry. The NCC scheme establishes an important benchmark for holiday parks offering holiday home ownership and aims to promote best practice and raise standards of professionalism and customer service across the industry. At the heart of the scheme is a Consumer Code of Practice, which is modelled on the Office of Fair Trading consumer code criteria. The code establishes the standard, which is then monitored and policed through the scheme. Before an NCC member park can achieve ‘Approved’ status it must undergo a rigorous independent assessment that reviews its operations against the code.

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Is your home properly insured?

Is your home properly insured?It’s important to have the correct type of insurance for your park home, which could even save you money on your premiums. Here are some tips to help out

With all the recent floods, many people are looking hard at their home insurance to make sure they are properly covered in the event of floods, or other weather damage. Park homes are just as vulnerable as traditional brick-built homes, so it’s important to make sure you are properly insured.

1 Do your research
For buildings insurance, it’s best to go to a broker who knows about park homes, or who specialises in them. Many of them advertise in this magazine.. Read more...