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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Owning a park home - your rights and obligations

If you own a park home (also known as a static caravan or mobile home), you have certain rights and obligations that come from the law. Find out what your legal rights and obligations are and get information on rules the park owner can make.

The ‘written statement’ – your agreement with the park owner

If you own a park home, your rights and obligations are set out in a written agreement between you and the park owner (also known as a site owner). This is called the ‘written statement’. The park owner must give you a written statement within three months from the date you agreed to move into your park home.

Your written statement is made up of ‘implied terms’ and ‘express terms’. Implied terms are all of your rights and obligations that come directly from the law. Express terms are rules and charges the park owner decides to put in your agreement.

Even if you do not have a written statement, you still have all the rights the law gives you. These rights come from the Mobile Homes Act of 1983.

Your rights and obligations from the law – ‘implied terms’

Implied terms are your minimum legal rights and obligations and must be in the written statement the park owner gives you. They cover things like what your rights are to keep your park home on its pitch and the rules for selling your home.

Staying in your park home and living without harassment

The law gives you security to stay in your home on the pitch you have agreed with the park owner. There are, however, circumstances where you may have to leave the land. This can happen if the park owner:

  • does not own the land
  • only has temporary planning permission
  • gets permission from a court to end your agreement for certain legal reasons

Read ‘Staying in your park home’ to find out how your agreement to live on the land could end. You can also get information on what happens if the park owner wants to:

  • move your home to a different pitch
  • sells the land
  • tries to harass you

Paying fees and making repairs and improvements

If you own a park home, you must pay your pitch fee and any other charges set out in your written statement.

If the park owner plans to increase fees and charges listed in your written statement, you can ask them for evidence explaining why. This means they must give you documents (for free) which show why they need to change any fees. For example, if it costs them more to provide a service.

Residents and park owners are also responsible for making certain repairs and keeping certain areas in good condition.

To find out what your and the park owner’s obligations are for making repairs and maintaining services, read ‘Park homes – utilities, repairs and improvements’.

Changes to your pitch fee

If the park owner wants to increase your pitch fee, they must go through a process called a ‘pitch fee review’.

To find out more about pitch fee reviews, read ‘Park homes – paying for the land you use’.

Selling or giving away your park home

You have the right to sell your park home or give it away to a family member, but there are rules you must follow. To find out more about how to sell your park home, read ‘Selling your park home’.

Setting up a qualifying residents’ association

You can set up a qualifying residents’ association to represent home owners in the mobile home park you live in. To find out what the park owner must do if you have a qualifying residents’ association, read ‘Setting up a qualifying residents’ association’.

The park owner must also give you and any qualifying residents’ association an address (in England or Wales) where you can send legal documents and letters. You can hold back your pitch fee until they give you an address.

Charges and rules made by the park owner – ‘express terms’

Express terms are the rules, charges and services that the park owner sets out in your written statement. They can’t undo any of the implied terms (which are set out by law) in your written statement.

Express terms cover things like how much your pitch fee is and when you must pay it. They also include charges for other services (like water and sewerage) and park rules (for example, where you can park your car).

Read ‘Park homes – rules and charges set by the park owner’ to find out more about what express terms cover and what to do if you disagree with them.

Settling disputes with the park owner – courts and arbitrators

If you have a dispute with the park owner that you can’t work out, you can go to court or use an arbitrator. Arbitrators are not judges but can make decisions about disputes – this is sometimes cheaper and quicker than going to court.

You and the park owner must both agree to use an arbitrator, otherwise you will need to settle your dispute through the court. If you agree to use an arbitrator, you must accept the decision they make. You will not be able to go to court later unless you believe the arbitrator is biased. For example, if they are related to the park owner.

The express terms in your written statement may say that arbitration must be used for disputes and include details for the process. You can ask for these terms to be changed within the first 6 months of getting your written statement.

Advice helplines

If you need advice on settling a dispute, you can contact Community Legal Advice, a Citizens Advice Bureau or charities such as Age UK or Shelter.

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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