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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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All about pitch fee reviews

april legalPitch fee changes can often become something of a bone of contention between park and home owners. The Leasehold Advisory Service explains when, and by how much, the charge should be applied...

A pitch agreement is an agreement that sets out a number of obligations and responsibilities between a site owner and a park home owner. The terms of this agreement include the amount of the pitch fee and the date of payment to the site owner. In some instances, the pitch fee includes utilities, but if this is the case, it should be outlined clearly in the pitch agreement.  

This article addresses some of the frequently asked questions that are raised by both park home owners and site owners concerning the review of the pitch fee.

How should a Pitch Fee Review be undertaken?
On 26 July 2013, the Government introduced a procedure that a site owner must follow in order to increase a pitch fee.

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Utility charges on residential park homes

leaseThe amount of money park home residents pay for gas, electricity and water is sometimes something of a thorny issue. KBG Chambers’ Rawdon Crozier and Ibraheem Dulmeer, a solicitor from the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), explore some of the most common problems and outline exactly what you need to know

Utility charges for gas, water or electricity can sometimes become a source of disagreement between residential occupiers of park homes and site owners. Questions can arise as to whether they can be charged as a separate item over and above the pitch fee. Or whether any charge can be made for the costs of administering the supply of utilities?

In the event of a dispute, or any uncertainty, the first port of call should be your written agreement, or written statement. You should check whether the agreement refers to a separate charge for utilities. If this is the case, it may state that any charge in respect of electricity, gas, water, telephone and other services, should be proportionate to the use by the park home owner; in other words a pro-rata calculation.

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What is a Qualifying Residents’ Association (QRA)? We find out...

legalThe Leasehold Advisory Service’s Antony Tregenna explains the correct legal procedure you should follow in order to establish a Qualifying Residents’ Association

This article describes the conditions and steps that are required to set up a Qualifying Residents’ Association (QRA).  

A QRA can operate in a number of ways including consulting with the park owner about issues which are affecting the residents on the park and arranging social activities.

HOW DO YOU FORM A QRA?
It would be advisable to arrange a meeting with other residents to obtain interest in forming a QRA.  
Once this has been established, it would be important to consider the conditions. These are set out within the Implied Terms of the Written Statement.  Implied Terms cannot be changed in law and are binding between the park owner and the resident.

● The QRA must represent the interests of residents on the park.
● The membership of the QRA must be open to all residents who own a mobile home on the park.
● The membership of the QRA must comprise of at least 50 per cent of residents who own mobile homes on the park.

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

january legalWhat 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 Antony Tregenna discuss

Home owners and park owners are sometimes unclear as to whether a unit is protected under mobile homes legislation. This protection depends upon whether the site is a residential site, a holiday site or a mixed use site. This article examines 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.

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