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 existing park rules on residential parks in England will cease to be effective on 3 February 2015.
If a park wishes to continue to have rules after that date, it will need to follow the procedure set out in the Regulations to introduce new rules.
What is required to comply?
Between 4 February 2014 and 3 February 2015 you need to consult with your residents about your proposed new rules. You must start the consultation 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 should be accompanied by a draft of the proposed new park rules.
Once this has been done, the residents and any QRA must be given a period of at least 28 days within which to consider the proposals and to respond to them. 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 then 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.
Once the consultation period has ended you must then send a further notice in the prescribed form (the “Consultation Response”) to all your residents (and to any QRA) within 21 days, which must:
- state whether you are 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 of your response to those representations;
- attach a copy of any proposed rules which you wish to introduce following the consultation;
- 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 the First Tier Tribunal (“FTT”).
After you have served the Consultation Response on your residents 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 to your residents (although if a resident has submitted an appeal to the FTT these time limits are extended). 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 send a third prescribed notice (“Notification of Deposit”) to all your residents (and to any QRA) confirming the date on which 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 enclosed with the Notification of Deposit.
What happens if procedures are not followed?
If you fail to introduce new rules using this procedure, or if the procedure is not followed correctly, then with effect from 4 February 2015 the park will have no enforceable rules.
Can a resident challenge proposed new rules?
Yes. Any resident who wishes to challenge any of the proposed new rules may apply to the FTT within 21 days of receiving the Consultation Response. 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 the resident(s) concerned must also send you a copy of the application notice within 21 days of receiving the Consultation Response – 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.
What can be included in new park rules?
The Government has not published a “model standard” set of new park rules. However the Regulations do specify certain matters which may not be included in park 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 restricts residents’ activities and use of the park, or which might prevent them from exercising their rights, such as a rule prohibiting improvements to a home;
- any rule which gives the park owner a discretion, such as whether or not certain types of pets are allowed on the site;
- 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.
What if I want to change the rules again in the future?
Once the new rules are in force, then they can only be amended by the park owner following the same procedure again (including the consultation process) in relation to the proposed amendment.
Contact our experts today
To speak to one of our park and residential homes solicitors please call us today on 03456 381381 or email email@example.com.