The Independent Park Home Advisory Service

info@iphas.co.uk
0800 612 8938
(Strictly 10am to 5pm Mon-Fri only)

News and Useful Information

HELP TO HEAT PROGRAMME
Government Help to Heat now includes Park Homes

New guidelines which came into effect on 1st April mean that anyone living in a park home and who is in receipt of an income related benefit eg Pension Credit or Working Tax Credit is now eligible for a boiler upgrade or heating grant.

For further information please contact :

http://happyenergy.co.uk/park-home-grants/
Telephone : 0800 0246 234

Please note : It is emphasised that members contact Happy Energy and not IPHAS.

SITE LICENCE FEE IN PITCH FEE
CAN THE ANNUAL SITE LICENCE FEE BE INCLUDED IN THE PITCH FEE REVIEW?

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 introduced a number of changes one of which was to give more powers to the local authorities regarding the site licence and the licence conditions. One change was that it allowed the local authority to charge an annual fee for the site licence. Under the implied terms this charge can be passed onto the residents at the following pitch fee review.

The relevant implied term is 18(1)(ba) which states:
18-(1) When determining the amount of the new pitch fee particular regard shall be had to-
(ba) any direct effect on the costs payable by the owner in relation to the maintenance or management of the site of an enactment which has come into force since the last review date:

This means that at the next pitch fee review following the imposition of the annual site licence fee by the local authority on the site owner the amount of the fee can be divided by the number of occupied homes and added to the pitch fee. It then becomes an integral part of the pitch fee which is usually increased by the RPI each year. Because this legislation came into force on 1 April 2014 the fee contribution cannot be added to the pitch fee at a review after 1 April 2015.

This has resulted in a few problems in that some local authorities have not produced a fee charging policy and invoiced the site owner in time for it to be considered at a pitch fee review before 1 April 2015. Some site owners have tried to add it anyway and this has caused disputes. Also some local authorities have increased the annual licence fee in the second year and some site owners have tried to pass on this increase.

To answer these problems a couple of tribunal cases has resulted in a decision that the site licence fee contribution could be treated as a separate charge separate from the pitch fee. We in IPHAS have always advised that the implied terms clearly state the licence fee contribution must be treated in accordance with implied term 18(1)(ba) and added to the pitch fee but not after 1 April 2015.

Recently there have been two appeals to the Lands Chamber (the Upper Tribunal) on this subject and the decisions have now been issued.

At a park in Stoke on Trent the local authority was slow in issuing the fee charging policy and in invoicing the site owner but the site owner wanted to add it to the pitch fee anyway. The residents applied to the First-tier Tribunal who ruled that the fee contribution could not be added to the pitch fee because it was after 1 April 2015. The park owner appealed to the Lands Chamber.

At a park in Hertfordshire the local authority increased the annual licence fee from £200 to £300 in the second year. The park owner wanted to add this increase to the pitch fee. The residents disputed this for two reasons; they relied on the implied term in that the contribution could only be added to the pitch fee in the first year and also the increase was for problems with compliance with licence conditions and therefore was a problem with site management and not the fault of the residents. The site owner applied to the First-tier Tribunal who did not allow the increase but said that the licence fee contribution could be considered separately from the pitch fee. The site owner and the residents appealed to the Lands Chamber.

The decisions of these two appeals have now been issued and the judges have spent a great deal of time in considering their decisions and both judges have conferred with each other to produce their final determinations.

First the good news. The Lands Chamber have decided that the implied term 18(1)(ba) must be interpreted literally. That is that the contribution for the annual site licence fee must be added to the pitch fee in the first year and that period ended on 1 April 2015.

Now the not-so-good news. The Lands Chamber have decided that it would be unreasonable to expect that any changes in the site licence fee could not be passed on to the residents. Similarly if a local authority was late in implementing the annual site licence fee it would be unreasonable to prevent the site owner from passing this on to the residents. Implied term 18 lists a number of factors to which regard must be had when reviewing the pitch fee. This list is not exhaustive and any other factors can be considered under implied term 20(A1).

This does not mean that a park owner can add anything to the pitch fee under term 20(A1); it must be a ‘weighty’ factor that is it must be a significant extra cost which has a direct effect on the maintenance or management of the site and it would be unreasonable to disallow it. It would be open to residents to dispute such an item if they believed it to be not a ‘weighty’ factor.

In the case of the Hertfordshire park the increase of the site licence fee was not allowed to be passed on to the residents because the Lands Chamber considered the increase to be related to the management of the site.

In the case of the Stoke on Trent park the annual licence fee was allowed to be passed on in the pitch fee because the delay in invoicing the park owner was the fault of the local authority.

The Appeal cases are:
LRX/93/2016 Mrs Toni Vyse v Wyldecrest Parks
LRX/103/2016 Wyldecrest Parks v P. Kenyon & others.

PETITION ON COMMISSION
PARK HOME OWNERS JUSTICE CAMPAIGN PETITION ON COMMISSION

PETITION ON COMMISSION

The Petition on the Commission will be handed in to No.10 Downing Street on Tuesday 21st March 2017 by Sonia McColl. You are invited to a Rally in London to witness the handing over of the Petition and afterwards to a committee room in Parliament to hear M.P.s and others discussing the subject. This Petition is not asking for removal of the commission but for a debate in the House of Commons on the subject of commission with the aim of seeking transparency in park accounts to show why the commission is required and whether the commission could be reduced without an increase in the pitch fee.

More news on the details of when and where to meet can be found on the website of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign http://www.parkhomeownersjusticecampaign.co.uk

WARM HOME DISCOUNT ANNOUNCEMENT

Last winter Charis Grants administered a government backed pilot scheme which gave park home residents the chance to apply for a £140 rebate for their electricity bill.

More than 1600 park home residents received rebates last year (including hundreds of IPHAS members).

From 5th December 2016 the scheme will be open again for applications including those people who received an award from the pilot scheme earlier in the year.

For more information about the scheme and to apply for your £140 rebate please visit www.parkhomeswhd.com or call the Charis team of dedicated agents on 0330 380 1040.

CLEARING OF ICY ROADS
SHOULD THE PARK OWNER CLEAR ICY ROADS??

It is a commonly held belief that by NOT clearing or gritting paths or roads a property owner cannot be liable for accidents because the snow and ice is an act of nature and beyond his control. But please note that this refers to public paths in front of premises. Therefore it does not apply to park owners because they own the roads and paths on the park.

There is no specific legal obligation on park owners to grit roads or footpaths. But park owners have a general duty of care under the Occupier’s Liability Act to ensure that the park is reasonably safe for residents and their visitors. If a resident is injured in a fall on an icy road he/she can sue the park owner whether he has gritted the roads or not and the park owner would have to show the court that he has taken reasonable action to reduce the danger.

The general rule is that the park owner should do something to meet his obligation to provide a duty of care to residents and their visitors either by providing grit in strategically placed bins or by displaying warning signs and/or clearing some roads and paths as far as he is able and can be reasonably expected to do so. However the effects of weather are outside his control and it would be unreasonable to expect the roads to be kept completely clear throughout the period of snow and ice conditions. In the event of a resident being injured in a fall on an icy road he/she could sue the park owner but would have to prove to the court that the park owner had negligently failed to make the roads as safe as could be reasonably expected.

MOTOR ACCIDENTS
Motor accidents on parks

In the event of a motor accident on your park you may find the following of interest.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 section 192(1) states that a *road* for the purposes of the Act means any highway and any other road to which the public have access.

Therefore unless the park has a gate which only residents and specified people can open the Act applies on the park as well.

IPHAS MEMBERSHIP
INCREASE IN ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

When IPHAS was formed some 23 years ago the annual membership subscription was agreed at £5.00 per home for individual membership and £4.00 per home for block membership.

For this annual subscription members have always had access to Consultants and Advisors who are trained in all the legislation applicable to park home living. There is also a dedicated members advice Freephone number and email address so members are able to contact an Advisor and obtain advice promptly.

We also have a website which gives comprehensive information about current and proposed legislation the RPI/CPI residents associations park home insurers publications and other useful information as well as an informative newsletter which is distributed to all members at least twice a year. Added to this we have Consultants working at Government level to ensure the rights and responsibilities of residents are properly protected.

The team are all volunteers and usually give at least 30 hours a week to IPHAS. However although the team give their time freely costs such as telephone postage stationery etc. have increased quite considerably over the years.

It has therefore become necessary to implement an increase in the annual subscription from 1st January 2017. Individual membership will be £6.00 per home per year and block membership will be £5.00 per home per year.

The excellent standard set by the IPHAS team will continue and it is hoped you will appreciate that this small increase in the annual subscriptions after 23 years still represents excellent value to our members.

WARRANTIES
DO YOU HAVE A WARRANTY ON GOODS IN YOUR HOME?

One of our members has experienced a problem after purchasing a 12 moth warranty to cover call out charges etc. on a boiler. The company providing the warranty contacted the member to say that because he was a park home resident the warranty was invalid. The company stated this was their policy and it was not open for negotiation. The makers of the boiler confirmed a contract could be offered but would not confirm in writing that it was applicable to park home residents.

Unfortunately it would appear that park home residents are still not being treated as equals to those who live in conventional homes so it is emphasised that if you decide to take out a warranty on any goods within the home you check it is applicable to park homes. Ideally you should receive this in writing.

If a warranty does not specifically exclude park homes it should be honoured.

It is a consumer problem and should be addressed through Trading Standards.

HAZEL HUTTON
IPHAS Advisor Hazel Hutton passed away in July

It is with much sadness that we learned of the death of IPHAS advisor Hazel Hutton on 16 July this year.
Hazel joined the IPHAS team in 1999 and prior to that she had helped Roy Waite (one of the founders of IPHAS) at local meetings.
Hazel’s primary role in IPHAS was to help residents both on the park where she lived and on others in the Oxfordshire area.
Never one to shirk a challenge she fought many battles on behalf of residents and achieved considerable success.
We are sure that all those residents who knew her or came into contact with her through IPHAS will want to send their condolences to Hazel’s family and friends.
A fuller obituary will appear in the December edition of the newsletter.

THE DECEMBER ADVISOR IS HERE
THE ADVISOR FOR DECEMBER 2106 IS NOW AVAILABLE

The latest Advisor for December 2016 is now available for you to read and download as a pdf file.

BACS PAYMENTS
Do you want to renew your membership via BACS?

We now have this facility available. However this is only if there are no alterations or amendments to your details.
If there are any alterations necessary then your renewal will be carried out in the usual way ie via a cheque to the address shown on the reminder letter.

Bank : HSBC
Account : 01195948
Sort Code : 40 12 18

PLEASE ALSO QUOTE YOUR REFERENCE NUMBER ie GLOS123

We have to apologise to all our members who have tried to renew their membership during September/October 2016 via BACS and found the account number shown on the reminder slip to be incorrect. This has now been rectified.

Medals for Founder Member
Ernie Aylott (93) presented with WW2 medals at Blandford Camp

In a ceremony officiated by Lord Lieutenant Angus Campbell of Dorset on 20th September 2016 Ernie Aylott co-founder of IPHAS was presented with the World War II medals he never collected.

He was joined by his wife Joan sons Rus & Glenn Nephew Mike and Russ wife Dawn along with friend from their Ashley Wood Park Home site in Dorset Margaret.

Also in attendance were senior representatives from Blandford Army Camp and representatives from SSAFA and the Blackmore Vale Magazine.

Ernie has received the campaign medals: 1939-1945 Star the France-Germany Star and also the full-time WW2 service medal. He will also be receiving the Légion d Honneur medal which is the highest decoration in France and is awarded to surviving WW2 veterans in recognition of the liberation of France.

Rus paid tribute to his father by saying that Medals do not maketh the man. Man is made through his commitment passions and love for his fellow man and added that his family could not be more proud of him medals or not.

Ernie in his usual jovial fashion joked that did not know what all the fuss was about.

IPHAS MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE

Did you know you can reprint your IPHAS membership certificate if necessary. Once you have signed into the members portal you will see the certificates button on the blue ribbon. Click on this insert the required information and hey presto!! Distributors can also use this facility for any of their members.

APPLIANCE SAFETY INITIATIVE
REGISTER YOUR HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE

The government has supported a home safety initiative which aims to encourage consumers to register their home appliances so that they can be contacted in case of a product safety repair or recall. An information sheet can be downloaded here http://www.iphas.co.uk/documents/Registermyappliance_Informationsheet.pdf
AMDEA (The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances has created a website http://www.registermyappliance.org.uk to make it easier for the public to register all their appliances from one website portal. While the incidence of product recall is rare it is very important for the safety of owners in their homes - if your product isnt registered you cant be contacted.

ADVISORS ARE VOLUNTEERS
All IPHAS Advisors are volunteers working from their homes.

They do live in various areas around the country giving their time willingly and freely to help members but as volunteers they are not office based with office hours.

Please do understand that whilst Advisors usually try to give a response to a members question as soon as possible this may not always be possible due to other commitments they may have.

However do rest assured that our Advisors are totally committed to helping our members.


PARK RULES REGULATIONS
THE PROCEDURE FOR MAKING NEW PARK RULES

From the 4th February 2014 new regulations come into force requiring park owners to register the park rules with the local authority by 4th February 2015. This will ensure that only one set of rules will apply and will be available to all. The regulations also ban certain rules considered unfair. The existing park rules made before 26 May 2013 stay in force until 5th February 2015 or 21 days after the residents have been notified that the new rules have been deposited with the local authority whichever is the sooner. If no rules are deposited with the local authority then the existing rules called “pre-commencement rules” cease to have effect on 5th February 2015. The park owner is not allowed to change add amend or delete any of the pre-commencement park rules after 26 May 2013.

Before they can be lodged with the local authority the park rules have to be agreed with the residents by a consultation process. The park owner must use the form in Schedule 1 of the S.I.2014 No.5 The Mobile Homes (Site Rules) Regulations 2014 to propose the new park rules. The Proposal Notice with rules must be sent to every home and to the Qualifying Residents Association if there is one. The proposed rules need not be amendments to the existing park rules although they would obviously contain matters which are in the existing park rules. The BH&HPA have issued guidance and model park rules to their members so these park owners will probably base their proposed park rules on these model rules.

The residents and residents association have 28 days in which to respond. They should write a letter stating which rules they object to and the reason. It would be helpful if they suggest an alternative wording of the park rule which they would accept. The response should be from each and every occupier one per home and one from the residents association. It may be tempting to write a collective letter but the disadvantage of this is that some park rules may be controversial and may be agreed by some residents and not by others for example an age limit may be considered good by some residents and unfair by others. The park owner needs to know exactly the strength of feeling either way. It is also important to show that older vulnerable residents have not been pressured into ‘going along with the majority’ and the best way would be for each occupier to write separately. Of course there is nothing against a residents association assisting by issuing a standard letter with a framework in which the resident can indicate their preference for or against each rule.

After the park owner has received the responses he has 21 days from the last consultation day in which to issue a Consultation Response Document (Schedule 2) which will contain his final version of the park rules. This document must be sent to every home and to the residents association.

If residents dispute the decisions in the document and believe them to be unreasonable or contrary to the Regulations they must apply to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber within 21 days of receipt of the Consultation Response document using Form PH15 and notify the park owner of the application.

After 28 days from receipt of the Consultation Response document but within 42 days the park owner should deposit the park rules with the local authority. He must notify the residents of the deposit within 7 days of doing so using Schedule 3. The new rules come into effect 21 days later.

When the Park Rules are finalised and deposited with the LA they become part of the Express terms of the agreement and are binding on the residents. If at a later date the park owner wants to change a rule then he must follow the procedure in the Regulations as above and when completed will lodge the park rules with the LA and notify the residents using Schedule 3.

PITCH FEE REVIEW
FORM TO BE USED WITH PITCH FEE REVIEW NOTICE

From 26 July 2013 a pitch fee review notice must be accompanied by a form explaining the increase. The form to be used in a review is now available for download at
http://www.gov.uk/park-homes-guidance
There are two versions (one for completion on- line the other for printing and completion by hand).
It is also important to note that the form accompanies the review notice. If the form is served without a review notice the review would be invalid.
The review notice itself can simply state:
"Dear Resident
This is a notice that we propose to review your pitch fee fromxxx. The new proposed pitch fee isxxx as detailed in the attached form."
Please also note that if the form (or something to like effect) is not given with the review notice the review notice will be invalid. If a resident agrees to pay an increase when the form has not been given an application can be made to a tribunal to recover any increase paid. Subject to statute there is no limitation on the period in which the resident can recover any overpayment.
The form does not have to be used if the proposal is an overall reduction in the pitch fee.

MOBILE HOMES ACT 2013 !!!
INFORMATION ON THE MOBILE HOMES ACT 2013

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 has been passed by Parliament and the parts relating to selling and
buying a home came into force from 26 May 2013.

The sections relating to site licensing came into force on 1 April 2014.

The Act can be downloaded from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/14/enacted/data.pdf See also our Publications listings.
A new leaflet "Know your rights" has been issued to explain the new legislation.
The government has issued a Statutory Instrument detailing the new procedures for selling and buying a home. This and the leaflet can be downloaded from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/981/pdfs/uksi_20130981_en.pdf
The guidance on selling procedures and the forms for selling and assignment can be downloaded from https://www.gov.uk/park-homes-guidance
If you have questions or want more information you can call the Leasehold Advisory Service - LEASE.
They provide free and unbiased advice.
Telephone number 020 7832 2525
They also have information on their website http://www.lease-advice.org

GOVERNMENT FACT SHEETS ISSUED
The Department of Communities and Local Government have a number of Factsheets on park homes.

The Fact Sheets issued in 2009 were made out of date by the new legislation which came into force in April 2011. Further legislation - the Mobile Homes Act 2013 - has introduced a number of forms for selling homes and for the pitch fee review and for changing park rules. These factsheets and forms are available for download from their website: http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/park-homes
The Fact Sheets are:
Park Homes: Know your rights
Selling a Home
Buying a home
Qualifying Residents Associations
Disputes and proceedings
Consolidated Implied Terms
The forms are for:
Selling gifting and buying a home
Pitch fee review
Park rules
These fact sheets only apply to England at this time. No paper copies will be available from the government. We suggest that you may wish to provide copies for your non computerised friends and neighbours.

IPHAS ADVISOR ON LINE
IPHAS members can choose to read the newsletter IPHAS ADVISOR on line or to receive a hard copy by post.

IPHAS ADVISOR on line

In an attempt to cut down on paper usage we want to ask our registered members if you would consider opting out of receiving the paper version of The Advisor and read it (and print it out if preferred) on your own computer. We can now offer this same online service to Block Members as well as Individual Members.

To do this you would just have to log into the Members Portal at http://www.iphas.co.uk/members and choose Update My Details from the menu.

If you would like to do this and help us to go green by saving paper ink and postage please email membership@iphas.co.uk with the following details:

Name email address membership number and park registration number.

Tribunal System for resolving disputes
The tribunal system for resolving disputes was introduced as from 30 April 2011. For more information- members can ring the freephone help line - 10.am to 5.0pm Monday to Friday.

The legislation to transfer jurisdiction on certain disputes came into force on 30 April 2011.

The First Tier Tribunal (Property) Chamber (formerly the RPTS) will be able to arbitrate on disputes between residents and park owners but will NOT be able to terminate the agreement; this will continue to be dealt with by the county court.

The FTT has produced a guidance leaflet which is available on the website www.justice.gov.uk
Note the change of website. Click on HM Courts & Tribunal Service. The application forms can also be downloaded as Word or pdf files.

WARNING - MORE COWBOY TRADERS
REPORTS OF MORE COWBOY TRADERS The cowboy traders are still out there!! Apparently in greater numbers. A lady from Wokingham tells her story. Also reports of cowboys in Yorkshire- Gloucestershire and Cornwall!!

You are advised to not use tradesmen who “cold call” for business. We are told the genuine tradesmen don’t need to cold call – the get enough work from adverts and recommendations. People who have used the cowboys have regretted it. One lady has written to us about her experience as follows.

“On the park where I live there have been several owners that have fallen foul of a particular company that claims to be specialists in park home roofing repairs but we have been duped and left with considerable stress and shoddy workmanship. This company is being investigated by the Trading Standards of Wokingham.

Both myself and my neighbours and several other residents on our park have had work done by this company. My neighbour had her soffits and fascias replaced and after having this done now has to have her complete roof looked at and repaired due to the bad workmanship. The company has a very persuasive salesman who says he is the owner and he outlines the work that will be offered and he always says that it is a special price to the resident and that their home will be used as a show home. He does not allow the seven days cancellation notice to be given; once he has quoted a price his men are on the park starting the work within hours. The work is substandard and shoddy and once the job has been done and they have been paid they cannot be contacted about any problems that arise.

The Trading Standards are investigating the case and we are waiting for their surveyor to come and assess the work before they prosecute the company.
I do hope that you are able to help stop others being caused the stress and worry that residents on our park have been caused by this company.”

WARNING BEWARE OF THE ‘COWBOY’ COLD CALLER
Copied from the Gloucester Citizen Newspaper 18 Feb 2014

Conmen who tricked almost 50 people out of more than £100 000 have been jailed. A company has also been fined £4 000 for the fraud which targeted mobile home owners across the country including two in Thanet. Trading Standards officers began to investigate Sure Seal Home Improvements Company Limited (Sure-Seal) and William King 35 who traded as Kings Park Home Improvements in October 2011.

King and his Sure-Seal employees travelled the length of the country cold calling on mobile home owners and offering to carry out repair work. The tradesmen would overcharge for shoddy work start work without permission charge for uncompleted work enter people’s homes without permission state that repairs were needed on park homes when no work was necessary and drive victims to the bank to withdraw large amounts of cash. They also issued non-compliant paperwork and used intimidation to make vulnerable people pay up.
In one park alone at Allhallows victims paid Kings Park Home Improvements £9 200 and experts valued the work at zero. The conmen insisted the victims pay them with cash in advance and have in some cases escorted their victims to the bank to withdraw the money.
After being paid they either failed to complete the work – which was not needed in the first place – or didn’t start it. In some cases they caused damage which was not repaired. The case involved eight KCC Trading Standards Officers who spent a total of 564 hours on the investigation. In Kent there were 11 victims.

In April last year King and Sure-Seal admitted a case of aggressive practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and King trading as Kings Park Home Improvements admitted one similar charge two cases of misleading actions under the same regulations and three cases of fraud by false interpretation. His sentence was delayed until last month (January 2014) as North Yorkshire were carrying out a separate criminal investigation and all parties wanted the sentencing to be carried out at one hearing. King from Newark was sentenced to six years in total – three years for the Kent offences and three more for those in North Yorkshire. Gavin Findley 30 also from Newark was sentenced to three years imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to charges of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud. Sure-Seal was fined £4 000. Todd Berridge 20 of Holbeach Lincolnshire was given 20 months detention suspended for 24 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting King and Findley.

Trading Standards Manager Mark Rolfe said: “These men targeted vulnerable elderly people and took advantage of their trusting nature. They acted with impunity across the country often targeting several in one neighbourhood. Our advice to anyone who is approached by cold callers is simply not to buy anything from them. They may appear charming and will try to talk you into agreeing to the work but please do not be taken in by them. If you need some work doing always use recommended tradesmen. Speak to trusted friends neighbours or family and ask them to help you select a company.”

KCC Trading Standards advice is to be wary when dealing with traders at the door; if you need work doing you can find reputable traders on the Buy with Confidence scheme run by KCC.

Disclaimer
PLEASE NOTE - The IPHAS team offer information on residents rights under mobile home legislation.
The advice and recommendations given in letters and publications is for information only and it is for the resident to make his/her own decision on action to be taken.
The IPHAS team members are not lawyers but volunteers who have made a study of the relevant legislation.
The advice is offered in good faith but IPHAS cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any action taken by a resident, whether or not it was based on information given.

PRESIDENT: Joan Aylott

VICE PRESIDENT: Lord Graham Of Edmonton