We are delighted to include an article about park home bases written by leading park home barrister Ibraheem Dulmeer.
As bases are owned by, and the responsibility of the site owner they are not covered by your park home insurance policy, any problems with the base should always be referred to the site owner in the first instance. However your park home insurance does cover damage to your home caused by subsidence or heave of the site on which the structures stand, this would exclude normal settlement, coastal or river bank erosion, damage arising from construction, structural alteration, repair or demolition and damage arising from the use of defective materials, defective design or faulty workmanship.
Clearly if the base is breaking up repairs should be carried out before any damage results to the home itself, sometimes however it can be very difficult to get the site owner to accept responsibility for the repairs which can be very expensive, especially if the home has to be removed to enable a new base to be laid.
We are aware of a case in Sussex where the park home owner had to take the park owner to court, the whole episode took 7 years to resolve and the court ruled fully in favour of the resident, such a shame that this could not have been accepted amicably in the beginning.
If the home is damaged as a result of subsidence there appears little point in carrying out repairs until the cause of the damage has itself been rectified. These type of claims can be very complicated and time consuming so it is important to check your base regularly and notify any issues as soon as possible to the site owner, perhaps keeping a record of correspondence, phone calls etc and photos of the damage for the record. It would also be a good idea to get legal advice if you think there could be a problem with the site owner and to engage with the Local Authority responsible for issuing the site licence.
Park Home insurance with PBIS includes park home related legal advice, includes subsidence damage to the home with no excess on the Select policy and a £100 excess on the Economy policy. The Select policy also includes legal expenses including certain disputes with site owners.
By Ibraheem Dulmeer – barrister at Normanton Chambers
You may have issues with the base or hard standing to your mobile home and not know what to do. This article aims to give you an overview of some of the relevant law and how you may wish to approach this with the site owner and local authority.
The legal position:
The implied terms are contractual terms which are implied by law (Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983) into the pitch agreement between a resident and a park owner. They are the minimum rights and obligations that all residents of park homes in England have.
The relevant term relating to the base of a park home is found at: paragraph 22(c) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to Mobile Homes Act 1983, it states that the site owner is:
“responsible for repairing the base on which the mobile home is stationed and for maintaining any gas, electricity, water, sewerage or other services supplied by the owner to the pitch or to the mobile home.”
It follows that a Tribunal would find that there is a breach of the Implied term 22(c) if the base is in a state of disrepair, for example if it is cracked. In such situation, the site owner would be responsible for repairing the base. Of course, this article can not cover every possibility, so it is worthwhile obtaining specific advice if you have problems with your base.
It is also important to look at the terms of your Written Statement or Park Home Agreement, this will outline what is the site owner and park home resident is responsible for.
Local authority involvement:
You may wish to get the local authority involved, as the site owner holds a licence with them. There may be a licence term which may have been not adhered to by the site owner. The particular site licence may make reference the bases on the site.
Therefore, it is worthwhile to get a copy of the site licence terms to understand the site owner’s responsibility.
How you may wish to approach matters with the site owner:
(a) Try to negotiate with the site owner.
As Churchill famously said, “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”. In Ibraheem’s experience he has come across many site owners who are reasonable, understanding and most helpful. You may wish to have an informal chat with the site owner to see if they can address your concerns.
(b) Complain first:
If an informal chat hasn’t worked or it has passed that stage, you may wish to engage the services of a lawyer to correspond with the site owner directly or through their agent’s complaints process before thinking of taking legal action.
(c) Consider tribunal or court action: Most park home litigation is dealt with by the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) in England and the Residential Property Tribunal in Wales. The Tribunal is the very last port of call.
Seeking the specific legal advice on your situation may put you in the best position to resolve matters.
The law provides that the site owner may be responsible for the problems with your base and the best way is to try and resolve matters amicably. If this does not work, I would suggest that specific legal advice is sought. I am able to offer you a fixed fee to advise you on this particular matter and tailor an approach for the best possible outcome.
Ibraheem Dulmeer is a barrister and mediator at Normanton Chambers, 218 Strand, London, WC2R 1AT.
Ibraheem accepts instructions directly from the public, as a public access barrister on any park home matter. This means you may instruct him directly. For a free quote, he can be contacted by telephone on: 07939 259 924 by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact him using his website: www.parkhomeslaw.com
The information provided in this article serves as a useful guidance. Please note that this is not intended to be comprehensive and should not be relied on in substitution for specific advice. If in doubt, you could seek specific advice from Ibraheem Dulmeer, who specialises in this area of law. This material should not be replicated without the author’s consent. Ibraheem Dulmeer © 2021