Guide to Mobile Homes Act Agreements
A Park Owner’s Guide to Mobile Homes Act Agreements
Our specialist solicitors have many years of experience in advising residential park owners on the standard, implied or recommended clauses for a park home occupation agreement.
Park home law can be a minefield for the unwary. What is more, most solicitors have little specialist knowledge of this important area of the law.
Occupiers who own and live in park homes on permanent residential parks in England enjoy the protection given by the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (“the Act”), as amended by the Mobile Homes Act 2013. A brief summary of residents’ rights under the Act is set out below. These include 29 “statutory implied terms”, which all park owners must be aware of and understand.
What are the “Statutory Implied Terms”?
These are contractual terms which are automatically implied into every occupation agreement to which the Act applies. It is not permitted to delete, vary or contract out of the statutory implied terms. Some of the key implied terms are set out below.
Terminating the agreement
There are only three grounds on which a resident’s agreement can lawfully be terminated, which are:-
- Where the occupier has broken a term of the agreement and has failed to remedy the breach after being served with a notice from the park owner;
- Where the occupier is not occupying the park home as his only or main place of residence; or
- Where park home is having a detrimental effect on the amenity of the park by reason of its condition.
The agreement can only be lawfully terminated by a County Court, and so if an occupier has broken a term of their agreement and failed to remedy this, you will need to apply to the Court to seek an Order to terminate the agreement and for possession of their pitch.
To succeed, you will not only need to prove to the Court that the breach has happened (and not been remedied), but also that it is reasonable in all the circumstances for the occupier to lose their home. This can be very difficult to achieve.
Selling a park home
The park owner’s role in the sale of second-hand park homes is now very limited, to avoid the problem of “sale blocking”. You may only refuse to allow a sale to go ahead if the prospective buyer would fail to meet any of the park rules relating to minimum age, vehicles, or pets. For more information, please see our Guide to the Mobile Homes Act 2013.
Moving a park home
As a park owner, you are entitled to move the occupier’s home to another pitch on the park in certain circumstances (such as carrying out essential or emergency works to the pitch), provided you move the home to a “broadly comparable” alternative pitch on the park and pay the occupier’s costs of the move. There is no definition of what a “broadly comparable” pitch is, but the alternative pitch must be at least as good as the existing one.
If the occupier does not agree to being moved, you must apply to the Tribunal for permission to move them. In certain circumstances, the occupier can insist on being moved back to their original pitch once the works have been completed.
Right of quiet enjoyment
You must not do anything to interfere with the occupier’s right to live on the park, free from undue interference or harassment.
Right to enter the pitch
You (or anyone acting on your behalf) may only go onto a resident’s pitch if you have given the occupier at least 14 clear days’ prior written notice stating the date and time of the visit and the reason for the visit, unless the occupier agrees otherwise. “Clear days” does not include the date on which the notice is posted, nor the date on which the resident receives it.
However, this notice requirement does not apply to going on to the pitch to deliver post and notices to the occupier, or to read any meter. Such visits can only take place between 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m.
You may also go onto the occupier’s pitch “to carry out essential repair or emergency works” by giving as much notice to the occupier as is reasonably practicable. This notice does not have to be in writing. In such cases, of course, it may not be possible for any notice to be given, particularly if the occupier is away from the home when an emergency occurs.
Finally, you may not enter the occupier’s home without their permission.
Pitch fee review
A park owner cannot simply impose a pitch fee increase on his residents. The pitch fee is supposed to be reviewed annually, and can only be increased either if the occupier agrees to the increase (either expressly, or by implication such as by payment without objection), or in the absence of agreement, by the First Tier Tribunal.
The statutory process for reviewing the pitch fee each year is set out in more detail here.
The implied terms impose the following legal obligations on all park home occupiers:-
- To pay the pitch fee
- To pay for gas, water, electricity, and any other services supplied by you
- To keep the park home in a sound state of repair and condition (including keeping it mobile)
- To maintain the outside of the park home and the pitch (including any fences, garden area and outbuildings on the pitch) clean and tidy
Park owner’s obligations
The implied terms require park owners to:-
- Provide accurate details to the occupier about the pitch, if requested to do so. The information must show accurate written details of (i) the size of the pitch and the base on which the park home is stationed; and (ii) the location of the pitch and the base within the site. Both details must include measurements taken between fixed points on the site and the pitch and the base. You can charge the occupier up to £30 for providing this information
- Provide upon request (free of charge) written evidence in support of any pitch fee increase, or any other charges which you are seeking to pass on to the occupiers (such as electricity, gas, water, sewerage charges, etc.). However, this does not apply if you are only seeking to increase the pitch fee by RPI
- Maintain the base on which the park home is stationed, and keep the park’s services in good repair
- Keep the common parts of the park (e.g. roadways, lighting, communal parking, etc.) in good condition
- Consult the occupiers about proposed improvements to the park, in particular those which you may wish to be taken into account when determining any new pitch fee;
- Consult with a Qualifying Residents’ Association (if there is one) about all matters which relate to the operation and management of, or improvements to, the park and which may affect the occupiers
- Not do anything to prevent an occupier from complying with his own obligations under the agreement.
The duty to “consult” with residents about proposed improvements to the site is now extremely important, as if a you fail to consult with residents or a QRA in advance you will not be able to pass on the cost of those improvements to the residents through a pitch fee increase. “Consultation” involves discussing with your proposals with the residents, giving them a reasonable opportunity to comment on them, and taking any representations into consideration before going ahead with the improvements.
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