The Mobile Homes Act 2013 Explained
On 26 March 2013 the Government introduced the Mobile Homes Act 2013 which was designed to give greater protection to owner-occupiers of residential mobile (park) homes.
This is a short guide to highlight some of the measures of the Act that may directly affect you as a park home owner.
One of the principal reasons for this Act was to protect park home residents from “sale blocking”, where the actions of some park owners were stopping residents from selling their homes or were making it impossible to sell them to anyone except to the park owners.
The Act introduced two new procedures, depending on whether the occupation agreement for your home was started before or after 26 May 2013.
If you own a park home with an agreement before 26 May 2013, any sale or gifting of your home must be preceded by a ‘Notice of Proposed Sale’, when you have accepted an offer or decided to give your home to a family member. This informs the park owner that you intend to sell or gift your home to the person(s) named in the notice.
The park owner then has 21 days in which to respond if they wish to stop the sale or gifting going ahead. However, since the 2013 Act, they can only do this on very narrow grounds. Only if the person you want to sell or gift your home to fails to meet any of the site rules regarding three things do they have grounds for refusal.
- Minimum Age
- Number or types of vehicles the new owner wishes to park
- The keeping of pets in the park
If the park management or owner go ahead and issue what is called a ‘Refusal Notice’, they must then apply for an Order preventing the sale or gifting of your home, and they must do this within 21 days of receiving your Notice of Proposed Sale.
If none of these conditions are met, then the sale and transfer of occupation will be deemed to be approved and can go ahead. The new owner can take up residence.
You can only gift your home to a family member and you will need to prove that the proposed new owner is a family member to the park owners.
If you are the new occupier of a park home, be aware that you have seven days to send in two other prescribed forms, the assignment form and the notice of assignment form to the park management, with all the information that those forms ask for.
Where the occupation agreement being assigned commenced after 26 May 2013, or started before that date but has since been assigned, it is a “New Agreement”. You may sell or gift your mobile home, and assign the agreement, without first informing the site owners. The new occupier must notify you of the sale and assignment within 7 days after completion of the sale/gift.
Payment of Commission
It is important to note that for all sales which take place after 26 May 2013 the new buyer (rather than the seller) is responsible for paying the statutory commission on the sale. This should be deducted from the money they pay to the seller.
Annual Pitch Fee Reviews
The final major change introduced by the Mobile Homes Act 2013 was to do with the annual pitch fee review procedure. This offers more protection to residents when the usual inflation-adjusted increase in pitch fees is made each year.
Now you must be informed of any changes to the pitch fee in a “Pitch Fee Review Form”. A park owner failing to serve this notice in this form may be required to pay back any subsequent increase in pitch fees.
The 2013 Act now takes into account any deterioration of the site or adjoining land owned by the site owners or decrease in services in the park as a whole (not just to your pitch) that may have occurred since May 26 2013.
The First Tier Property Tribunal (FTT) is the body which handles and enforces the measures of the Act. It can, if it deems a pitch fee increase unreasonable in regard to the state of the site and the services on the park, require the park to repay the increased amount or never to charge it.
Other measures in the Mobile Homes Act 2013 allow the FTT and local councils to make sure that site licensing is properly granted. They can enforce fines and corrective measures where the conditions of licensing have been breached and the park owners have failed to correct the breaches themselves.
This is a marketing article from Park Home Assist, multi award-winning providers of residential park home insurance. If you would like to speak to an advisor regarding insurance for your park home, please contact our friendly team in our Northampton office on 01604 946 796.
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