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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Buying a park home

Park homes (also known as static caravans or mobile homes) can cost less than traditional houses, but they also come with certain obligations. Get information on looking for a park home, the costs involved and what you should check before you buy.

Finding a park home

If you are thinking about buying a park home you can contact mobile home park owners in the areas you want to live in. They will be able to tell you if they have anything for sale. To find a list of park owners you can contact the British Holiday & Home Parks Association using their UK Parks website.

Another way you can see what’s available is to check online listings of park homes for sale. You may also be able to use an estate agent.

You should check that the mobile home park where you plan to buy has the right planning permission. If it does not and you buy a home there, you could be forced to leave. You can ask the park owner to see the site licence and check that the park is licensed for residential use. You can also contact your local council to ask for information about the licence.

You should also find out whether the park owner owns the land or leases it from someone else. If they do not own it, this could affect how long you can stay on the land.

Buying a park home already on site

If you want to buy a park home already on site, you should get a survey done before you buy it. A surveyor will look at the home and tell you if it has any problems. You can talk to the seller to see if they will share the cost of the survey.

Buying a new park home

If you want to order a park home to be built to your specifications, you should talk to the park owner where you want to live. They will tell you how you can do this. You should ask what the total price will be, including any costs the park owner may charge for putting your home in the mobile home park. Fees which include moving your park home and connecting it to mains services can be high.

Costs of buying a park home

There are costs during the buying process which add to the total amount you spend on your home. The main costs are for:

  • using an estate agent
  • hiring a surveyor (for used homes) – they will tell you if there are any problems with the home
  • any charges for setting up a new home on a plot of land in the mobile home park
  • hiring a solicitor to look over any contracts before you sign

There is no Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) on park homes.

After you buy your home there are also ongoing costs like renting the land your home sits on, council tax and utility bills – eg electricity. You should check with the park owner to find out all the charges you will have to pay.

Getting a loan to buy a park home

Most banks do not offer mortgages for park homes. If you need a loan to buy your home you should contact a lender that specialises in park home financing.

Renting the land your park home sits on

If you buy a park home you have to rent the land it sits on (also known as a ‘pitch’ or ‘site’). The rent the park owner collects from you is called a ‘pitch fee’ or ‘site fee’.

Restrictions and rules for park home owners

If you buy a park home there are certain restrictions on your rights as an owner. These are:

  • you could be forced to leave if you live on an ‘unprotected site’ – this is a mobile home park without planning permission for residential use
  • before you sell your park home you will need to get the park owner to approve your buyer
  • when you sell your home the park owner gets up to 10 per cent of the selling price – this is a ‘commission’

Finding out what the rules are before you buy

A ‘written statement’ is an agreement which tells you the obligations and responsibilities (terms’) of owning a home in a mobile home park. It also tells you the rights you have from the law as the owner of a park home.

The park owner or the current resident must give you the written statement 28 days before you buy your home.

If you are unhappy about certain rules in the written statement, you can talk to the park owner to see if they will change them. Make sure that any changes they make are written into your agreement.

Getting advice on buying a park home

You should get a solicitor to look over any contracts you sign before buying a park home.

Advice helplines

If you need advice on buying a park home you can also contact a Citizens Advice Bureau in your area or a charity such as Shelter or Age UK.

Community Legal Advice helpline: 0845 345 4 345

Shelter housing advice helpline: 0808 800 4444

Age UK Advice helpline: 0800 169 6565

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