Park Homes - some important legal stuff!

The construction of a park home is unique, the lifestyle is unique and the legislation which protects park home residents is pretty unique too - it only applies to park homes on parks which are licensed for permanent residential occupation - or protected parks.

It is critically important if you are looking to purchase a park home to be your permanent residence that you check that the park benefits from a full residential licence otherwise you will not be protected by the legislation contained in the 1983 and 2013 Mobile Homes Acts. This applies to park homes in England, different legislation applies to Scotland and Wales.

The Written Agreement

All residents on protected parks will have a Written Agreement, this sets out the basis of the agreement between the park home owner and the park owner and contains what are called statutory ‘Implied Terms’ and ‘Express Terms’.

The ‘Implied terms’ are enschrined in law in the 1983 Act, these terms cannot be altered or removed by the park owner, they are contractual and even if not contained within your agreement they will apply. The ‘Express Terms’ are agreed between the park home owner and the park owner.

The main reason we recommend this is that you are investing a considerable sum of money and it is important to ensure you are getting what you think you ! Does the home have planning permission and most importantly is the site a fully licensed residential park where your security of tenure is protected by legislation?

The Implied Terms

Termination of your agreement.

Perhaps the most important term is the one which provides the resident with security of tenure. There are three grounds upon which a park owner can terminate the agreement:

1. Where the resident has breached a term of the occupation agreement and has failed to rectify that breach having been served a notice to do so by the park owner.

2. Where the resident is not occupying the home as their only or main place of residence.

3. Where the park home is having a detrimental effect on the appearance of the park due to its condition.

For the owner to be successful in terminating the agreement he must obtain a court order, the court must be satisfied that it is reasonable to terminate the agreement.

Moving your home

The Implied Terms allow the park owner to move the home subject to certain conditions. He/she must offer you a comparable pitch, one which is as good as your current pitch, and he must cover all of the costs involved in moving the home. The site owner owns and is responsible for maintaining the base, if he needs to move your home to carry out repairs he must relocate the home back to the original pitch if the home owner requests that.

Importantly, before a park owner can move a home he must obtain an order from the First-tier Tribunal.

The obligations of the park owner

These can be listed as follows :-

1. To provide accurate details about the pitch when requested to do so by the park home owner to include the size of the pitch and base, their location within the site and the measurements taken between fixed points on the site, pitch and base. A charge of £30 for this can be levied by the park owner.

2. To keep the common parts of the site in good condition.

3. Not to do anything which might prevent the home owner from complying with his obligations under the agreement.

4. To maintain the base on which the home is sited and to keep the park’s services in good repair.

5. To consult residents about improvements to the site in general, and in particular any improvements which he will wish to take into account when determining the amount of any pitch fee increase. Failure to consult with residents, or a QRA, about improvements in advance will mean he will not be able to pass on the cost of those improvements to residents through a pitch fee increase.

6. Consult with Qualifying Residents’ Associations (QRA), where there is one, about all matters relating to the operation and management of the park and about improvements to the park which may affect, directly or indirectly the residents on the park.

7. To provide upon request, and at no cost, written evidence in support of any pitch fee increase, or any charges payable by the owner which he is seeking to pass on to the residents.

8. To provide their name and address in England where the resident can write to them.

The obligations of the park home owner

These are contained in the ‘Implied Terms’ and are as follows :-

1. To pay the pitch fee.

2. To pay all sums due for gas, water, electricity and sewerage as well as charges for any other services supplied by the owner.

3. To keep your park home maintained in a sound state of repair.

4. To maintain the outside of the mobile home and keep the pitch, fences and outbuildings clean and tidy

5. To provide the park owner with evidence of any expenses that the occupier might seek to recover

When can the park owner come onto the pitch

The park owner can only go onto a resident’s pitch , without prior notice, to deliver any written communications, including post and notices or to read any meter and then only between 9am and 6 pm.

He may also go onto the pitch to carry out essential repair or emergency works by giving as much notice as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances, not necessarily in writing. In some cases it may not be possible to give any notice if for example the resident is away when the emergency occurs.

In all other cases the park owner can only go onto the pitch if he has given at least 14 days clear notice in writing stating the date and time of the visit and the reason unless the resident agrees otherwise. There is nothing in the ‘Implied Terms’ which give the park owner the right to go into the resident’s home without his or her permission.

For more information contact the park home advice team at LEASE, the Government backed Leasehold Advisory Service on 0207 832 2525 or email parkhomes@lease-advice.org