Having spoken to residents of the numerous holiday parks and residential park homes we have in our constituency I’ve become increasingly concerned about the confusion over ownership and your rights. As a result I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Wyre Borough Council seeking clarification.
Park homes are a unique form of home ownership. The park home owner owns the park home but not the ground it’s located on and the home isn’t physically attached to the ground.
There are many different types of licensed sites on which mobile homes can be located. This can lead to some confusion and, at times, problems for home owners, as different laws apply to different types of sites.
The park site owner must have planning permission and a site licence from the local authority. This site licence will state whether the site is a holiday site or fully residential. In some instances the licence may allow both permanent and holiday homes.
Many buyers have unwittingly bought homes as a permanent abode only to find out later that they can only live in it for a limited period of the year – it may state on the agreement for example that they can only live in it for ten or eleven months of the year.
Any occupation which doesn’t follow the licence conditions is a breach of contract and the repercussions can be serious. The local authority can take enforcement action against the site owner. Alternatively the site owner can seek to recover the pitch, if a home owner is occupying the site as their main residence, instead of as a holiday home.
Holiday homes are not protected by park homes legislation such as The Caravan Sites Act 1968, The Mobile Homes Act 1983 and The Mobile Homes Act 2013. As a result occupiers don’t have the same rights or recourse to the law as those on permanent residential sites. More importantly, the occupier doesn’t have the same security of tenure.
Some of my constituents have been asked to provide a family member’s address as their ‘permanent address’ to hide the reality of their living in a ‘holiday’ home and not a permanent home. I’ve also been told by residents that as they own holiday homes rather than permanent park homes, they would usually not be charged Council Tax. However, they say, the council is aware that most people are living there full time and have recently begun charging Council Tax to all permanent residents. This has resulted in many constituents being charged twice for services such as waste collection, as they pay site fees for the owners to undertake waste collection and keep the park in order.
The constituents accept that they can be charged Council Tax as permanent residents, but they feel it should be charged at a reduced rate, due to the majority of services being provided by the site owners. The site owners also receive a reduced Council Tax bill for the site based on the number of residents paying tax, leaving constituents paying twice and both the Council and the owners unfairly in profit.
If you want to purchase a fully residential park home, it’s important to ensure that the site is a ‘protected site’, which is a permanent residential site. However as there are also some sites with both types of residence you should look closely at the pitch agreement before purchase.
If you are having problems on your site then please get in touch with me and let me know how I can help. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office on 01253 490 440. I’ll update you when I’ve had a response from the council and the Government.