Changes to Park Home Rules
The Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations (“the Regulations”) came into force on 4 February 2014.
Under the Regulations all pre-existing park rules on residential parks in England ceased to be effective after 3 February 2015.
If you are a park owner who wishes to introduce new rules, or to amend any existing rules, you must follow the procedure set out in the Regulations, which is outlined below.
What do I need to do to comply?
Stage 1 – Consultation
To start the process of introducing or amending the site rules, you must first consult with your residents about your proposed new rules. This is done by sending out a prescribed form (the “Proposal Notice”) to each of your residents and to any Qualifying Residents’ Association on your park(s). This must be accompanied by a draft of the proposed new (or amended) park rules.
The residents and any QRA then have at least 28 days within which to consider the proposals and to respond to you with any comments. The Proposal Notice must clearly state the deadline by which any responses to the consultation must be submitted to you.
Any resident who wishes to respond to the proposals or to make representations about them must reply to you within the period set out in the Proposal Notice. There is no prescribed way for a resident to respond to the consultation – letters, emails, or even oral representations are allowed.
Stage 2 – Consultation Response
Once the consultation period has ended you must then send a further prescribed notice (the “Consultation Response Document”) to all your residents (and to any QRA) within 21 days, which must:
- say whether you are still intending to introduce the proposed new rules following the consultation and, if so, whether you intend to make any changes to the rules as a result of the consultation;
- set out details of any representations received during the consultation, and your response to those representations;
- attach a further copy of the proposed rules which you wish to introduce following the consultation (including any amendments);
- explain that the new site rules will come into effect once they have been deposited with the local authority and notice has been given to the residents; and
- explain the residents’ right of appeal to theFirst Tier Tribunal (“FTT”).
Can a resident challenge the proposed rules?
Yes. Any resident who wishes to challenge any of the proposed rules may apply to the FTT within 21 days of receiving the Consultation Response Document.
There are only three grounds on which a resident may challenge a proposed rule, which are:
- that a proposed rule is unlawful;
- that you did not follow the correct legal procedure for the consultation; or
- that the proposed rule is unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case.
If an application to the FTT is made this extends the time for depositing the rules until 14 days after the date of the FTT’s decision. The FTT may uphold the rule(s) being challenged, require them to be deleted or amended, or order further consultation.
Stage 3 – Deposit and Notification
After you have served the Consultation Response on your residents, and assuming nobody has applied to the Tribunal to challenge any of the new rules, you must then deposit a copy of the proposed new rules with the local authority with responsibility for the park. You must do this not less than 28 days, and not more than 42 days, after sending the Consultation Response Document to your residents. The local authority may charge a fee for depositing the rules.
If the new rules are not deposited in time, a resident may apply to the FTT for an order requiring you to deposit them.
Within 7 days of depositing the rules with the local authority you must then send a third prescribed notice (“Notification of Deposit”) to all your residents (and to any QRA) confirming when the rules were deposited with the local authority, and the date on which they are to come into force – this will be 21 days after the date when you serve the Notification of Deposit on your residents. A further copy of the new rules must also be sent out with the Notification of Deposit.
What happens if I don’t follow these procedures?
If you fail to introduce or amend your site rules using this procedure, or if you fail to follow the correct procedure, then the rules will be of no effect and cannot be enforced.
What can I include in the park rules?
There is no “model standard” set of new park rules, as every park will have its own individual circumstances. However, the Regulations do specify certain matters which you may not include in a set of site rules. These include:
- any rule which seeks to impose conditions or restrictions on a resident selling their home;
- any rule which might assist sale blocking or interfere with sales of homes;
- any rule which might prevent them from exercising their rights, such as a rule prohibiting any improvements to a home;
- any rule which gives the park owner a discretion over whether a resident may or may not do something on the park;
- any rule which prevents visitors staying on the park for short periods;
- any rule which promotes restrictive trade practices, such as requiring a resident to buy goods or services from the park owner, or only to use tradespersons nominated by the park owner; or
- any rule which threatens an occupier with eviction for non-compliance.
However, there is nothing in the Regulations which prevents a park from imposing a minimum age limit for residence on the park.
Also bear in mind that changes to site rules are not retrospective, meaning that they will only apply from the date on which they take effect. No resident who is in occupation on that date will be in breach of the new rules by continuing to do something which they were permitted to do before the new rules came into force, and which would not have been a breach of any previous park rules.
What if I want to change the rules again in the future?
Once the new rules are in force, then you can only amend them by following the same procedure again (including the consultation process) in relation to the proposed amendment(s).
Contact our experts today
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