The Independent Park Home Advisory Service

info@iphas.co.uk
0800 612 8938
(Strictly 10:00 to 16:30 Mon-Fri only)

News and Useful Information

THE SPRING ADVISOR IS HERE
THE ADVISOR FOR MAY 2017 IS NOW AVAILABLE

The latest Advisor for Spring 2017 is now available for you to read and download as a pdf file.
Please be sure to read the article on Government Review. This is your chance to tell the government what you think of the latest legislation.

CAN YOU SPARE ANY TIMETO HELP OTHERS?
If so- and you live in a park home- why not consider becoming an IPHAS Advisor.

IPHAS is run by volunteers based all over the country who work from their own homes. The team offer advice and information to anyone contemplating park home living or is already a resident. Team members have studied and are totally familiar with park home legislation and work alongside Government and DCLG officials to promote and review changes in legislation.

Anyone volunteering to be an Advisor will find the work interesting. IPHAS would want you to be computer literate and have an interest in all aspects of the legislation relating to park home living.

If this sounds like something you could tackle you could be sure of receiving comprehensive training to familiarise yourself with the legislation and as a trainee you would be mentored by an IPHAS Consultant.

To register your interest or for more information please contact Sheila Aldous on 0800 612 6273 or email sheila@iphas.co.uk

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.

PARK HOME INSURANCE

Just a reminder to all potential purchasers of a park home that although it is not a legal requirement to use a solicitor when buying a park home IPHAS strongly recommends that one is used.

WYLDECREST PARKS
APPEAL ON SITE LICENCE FEE IN PITCH FEE REVIEW

In the Spring 2017 edition of the Wyldecrest Parks magazine is an article on the Legal Issues page which has the headline ‘Clarity given to pitch fee reviews’. It states that the site licence charge can be part of the pitch fee review and this may give a misleading impression that the charge can be automatically added to the pitch fee. The article refers to the two recent appeals to the Lands Chamber and the judges in both cases decided that the implied term 18(1)(ba) must be interpreted literally that is that the site licence fee cannot be added to the pitch fee after 1 April 2015 but it can be considered under implied term 20(A1) which allows for other factors as well as inflation to be considered at the pitch fee review.

The normal running costs of running a park can be recouped from within the pitch fee but any significant management cost incurred during the preceding year may be considered under implied term 20(A1). The point is that it must be a significant extra cost over and above the routine maintenance and management costs and that it would be unreasonable not to take it into consideration. If a local authority introduced the site licence fee which would present such a cost to the park owner then this cost could be considered at the next pitch fee review. It is known that a number of local authorities have been slow in introducing the annual site licence fee with the consequence that it cannot be introduced under implied term 18(1)(ba).

The article also stated that Alan Savory of IPHAS stated that the council had made a dog’s breakfast of the site licence fee policy. In fact he explained to the judge that the council had not followed the correct site licence fee procedure in that they had issued the invoices to park owners before publishing the fees policy contrary to the requirements of the Mobile Homes Act 2013. Also contrary to the article in the magazine Alan Savory did not say that there were many anomalies already in the pitch fee review process and another would make little difference. On the contrary the pitch fee review process has been significantly improved by changes in the implied terms over the last few years.
See also the item below on site licence fee in the pitch fee.

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 was handed in to No.10 Downing Street on Tuesday 21st March 2017 by Sonia McColl. 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 details 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

COWBOY TRADERS
The cowboy traders are still out there!!

You are advised not to use tradesmen who “cold call” for business. We are told the genuine tradesmen do not need to cold call – they get enough work from adverts and recommendations. People who have used the cowboys have regretted it.

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