Disputes with Residents
Unfortunately, however well you run your park, disputes will inevitably occur from time to time between a park owner and their residents.
Most of these disputes can be resolved amicably and quickly, without then need for anyone else having to be involved, However, there will inevitably be some disputes which cannot be settled through compromise, and if that happens, you need expert advice.
The First Tier Property Tribunal
Since 2011, the vast majority of disputes between residential park owners and their residents have been handles by the First Tier Property Tribunal (“FTT”), which provides a (relatively) simple, quick and effective way of resolving most problems. The types of disputes typically heard by the FTT are as follows:
- Disputes over the level of the annual pitch fee
- Disagreements over interpretation of an occupier’s Mobile Homes Act agreement
- Challenges to site rules
- Breaches of site rules by an occupier
- Minor breaches of the occupation agreement
- Refusal Orders where the park owner wishes to prevent the sale of a park home
- Applications by occupiers for a written statement
- Recognition of a Qualifying Residents’ Association
In general, most cases are heard by the Tribunal within 3-4 months of being started, and the decision is given within 6 weeks of the hearing.
What if there is a serious breach of the agreement?
However, there may be situations where it is not practical or appropriate for you to use the Tribunal procedure. This usually happens where the occupier has committed a serious breach of their agreement, for instance where there are substantial pitch fee arrears, where an occupier’s home is in serious disrepair, or where a resident is persistently behaving in an unacceptable way.
The law rightly grants residents a good deal of protection to ensure that an eviction will only be granted in appropriate cases. The first step is to serve a breach notice on the occupier, explaining the nature of the breach of the agreement and giving the occupier a reasonable period of time within which to put it right. Often a resident will comply with the notice, which will avoid the need for any further action having to be taken.
The County Court
However, if the resident still fails to remedy the issue after the end of the period specified in the breach notice, then you may apply to the County Court for an Order to terminate the resident’s occupation agreement and for possession of the pitch. The application must clearly set out why possession is being sought, and why you believe the agreement should be terminated.
Bear in mind that even if the Court is satisfied that the occupier has breached the agreement that does not automatically mean that a possession order will be made – the Court must also be satisfied that it is reasonable in all the circumstances to terminate the agreement and order possession.
Contact our experts today
At IBB, we have a wealth of experience in advising park owners about disputes with residents. We are here to can help you through the process at every stage, from advice on the merits of the case, to drafting the breach notice and (if necessary) representing you in the Tribunal or the Court.
To speak to one of our specialist park home solicitors please call us today on 03456 381381 or email email@example.com.