IN view of the expense of park homes, and the fact that they become your home, I suggest that taking legal advice is a sensible route to follow. However, experience suggests that park home owners/residents associations often find it difficult to locate solicitors who are prepared to advise in this area. When, then, might you consider taking legal advice?
Before you commit
The first such occasion should be when you are first thinking of purchasing a park home. This might be a new park home through a site owner, or a secondhand one either from the site owner or existing occupiers.
At first glance, often this looks quite easy. There are papers to review and sign, and money to be paid. However, in view of the importance of your purchase, it is sensible to look closely at the terms and implications. You should, for instance, try to find out more about the park. Most are well run, but some have poor site owners. Therefore, it is worth making some enquiries.
More importantly, you want to be sure as to your ‘security’. In most cases, the Mobile Homes Act 1983 applies and gives owners many rights. However, this is not always so. I have come across a number of cases where, contrary to the impression given, the situation with that park has actually been such that home owners do not in fact enjoy the protection of the Act. It is advisable to check the rights and protection you will enjoy when you purchase your park home. In particular, you should ensure the site has a site licence under the relevant legislation, and planning permission for year-round residential use.
There can be occasions when it is useful to take advice after you have bought your home. If you are concerned that the site owner is not dealing with the site properly, or is acting in an unreasonable or unfair way, it may be sensible to seek advice on your rights.
Sometimes it is worth forming a residents association. If it is done so under the terms set out in the legislation, the site owners have to take note of it.
Selling/ending the agreement
I have come across a number of cases where site owners have tried to prevent assignment when a park home owner wishes to sell. Site owners may also try to end park home owner’s rights under the Mobile Homes Act. There might be good grounds to oppose those proceedings. A home owner whose agreement is terminated loses the right to live in the home, or indeed to keep it on the park. Further details of the range of services offered by Crosse & Crosse Solicitors can be found on their website.
Tim Selley is a solicitor and partner at Crosse & Crosse, 14 Southernhay West, Exeter EX1 1PL. Tel: 01392 678694. Email: email@example.com. Website: www.crosse.co.uk
Tim Selley has many years of experience advising park home owners and residents associations. He presently has cases stretching from Cornwall to Derbyshire and Essex. If you would like to consider taking advice on a current issue, please feel free to contact him for an initial assessment. When doing so, please mention this article.
This review was published in the Residential Parks Guide available with the August 2010 issue of Park & Holiday Homes. To order your copy please click here