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Mobile Homes Act 2013 Condensed

The latest amendment made by the government to park home legislation is the Mobile Homes Act 2013. The first parts of the act came into force on May 26th 2013 after being passed on March 26th.

While many of the changes are subtle, the government has advised all park home owners and operators of residential parks to read the new legislation thoroughly to ensure that they are still adhering to all applicable laws.

Below you will find a condensed version of the changes wrought by the introduction of the Mobile Homes Act 2013, as well as a downloadable version of the entire act.

Site Licensing

The fundamental changes to site licensing regulations are as follows:

Any site owner may now be charged an application fee when they apply for a site license. The decision as to whether a fee is applicable rests with the local authority. The local authority will also be able to charge an annual fee for the license, depending on a variety of different factors. Again, this will be assessed by the local authority in question.

A site license may be refused if the local authority believes the site owners to be “unfit” to hold a license. Regulations outlining what constitutes “fit” or “unfit” have yet to be introduced. Central government is now able to introduce a “fit and proper person” test to gauge this, but as of yet this has not been implemented.

If the conditions of the license are breached, the local authority are able to issue a Compliance Notice to the park owner outlining the breaches, explaining how and when the breaches must be corrected and explaining the appeal process. This notice is enforceable with a £5,000 fine and the possible full revocation of the license.

The park owner has 21 days following the issue of the notice to appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.

Park Home Sales and Gifts

Changes to the legislation surrounding the selling and gifting of park homes arose from concern surrounding park home “sale blocking”; the practice adopted by some unscrupulous residential park owners to prevent people selling their properties.

Under the new legislation, an owner who wants to sell their park home must notify the park owner in writing, naming the buyer in the document and advising the park owner to assign the occupation agreement to the named party, providing the agreement was signed before May 26th 2013.

The park owner must accept this request unless they have specific grounds for refusal. If this is the case, the park owner must submit a refusal to the seller in writing, while also requesting that the Residential Property Tribunal review the issue. Both of these actions must be taken within 21 days of notice of sale. The refusal notice must include all of the requisite information outlined in the act, or else it will be invalid.

Specific regulations regarding what are acceptable grounds for a refusal have not yet been published by the government. These are expected to be outlined and released in the near future. It is understood that refusals will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

If the agreement was signed following May 26th 2013 it is classed as a new agreement. In these cases, notice does not need to be submitted to the park owner. Instead, the buyer must submit notice to the park owners as soon as possible after the sale is completed.

The appropriate commission must still be paid to the park owner, and so it is still advisable to seek legal advice during the selling procedure. If the home is to be a gift, the existing owner and the new owner must be direct relatives. The onus is on the incoming owner to provide proof of this.

Pitch Fees

Pitch fees are the final area of park home legislation that has seen a major overhaul. Details of this overhaul can be found below;

Owners of properties on residential parks must be notified of any changes in pitch fees. The notification must be in accordance with the Mobile Homes Act 2013 or the notice will be invalid. If the notice is found to be invalid, the park owner will be required to pay back all excess pitch fees.

Pitch fees will increase in line with the Retail Prices Index in the same way that they do currently. However, owners of properties on residential parks who feel that this is unreasonable given the state of the park they reside on will be able to apply for a review from the Residential Properties Tribunal. The RPT will assess the park and rule on whether or not the changes in fees are justifiable or not.

We hope that the above information has been of assistance. However, we also recognise the limitations in condensing a document of this size. If you require more details on the act, please click here to download a full copy.
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