Mobile Homes Act 2013
After gaining Royal Assent on 26 March last year, sections 1-7 of the Mobile Homes Act 2013 came into force yesterday.
A Winter 2011 inquiry by the Communities and Local Government Committee revealed widespread dissatisfaction with existing mobile home legislation. Reports of unscrupulous park owners, neglected sites and ineffective powers for local authorities culminated in initial consultation proposals in Spring 2012. The proposals directly addressed a number of complaints revealed by the inquiry, many of which related to excessive pitch fees, and site owners preventing occupiers from selling or even improving their homes.
Sections 9-12 of the Act came into force on 26 May 2013 and, in addition to yesterday’s changes, a further statutory instrument will be used to bring in sections 8, 13 and 14. The Act aims to create a fairer and clearer set of rules and regulations governing mobile home sites by focusing on the following areas:
Site rules: Every site rule will now be incorporated as an express term into the pitch agreement between the site owner and the home occupier, thereby providing clarity for both parties. In addition, the Secretary of State has been granted the power to regulate the creation of new site rules and vary or delete existing rules.
Requirement of consent: On sales or gifts of mobile homes occupied under pitch agreements dated after 26 May 2013, the requirement of the site owner’s consent has been removed. For mobile homes occupied under pitch agreements made on 26 May 2013 or prior to this date, consent is still required but can only be refused if the Residential Property Tribunal agrees with the site owner’s reasons for refusal.
Pitch fees: When serving notice of increased pitch fees on an occupier, the site owner is required to detail exactly why the fees have increased. An occupier that considers this unfair can apply to the Tribunal for an order determining the correct fees.
Offences: Further protection against eviction and harassment is given to occupiers. The Act also introduces a further offence of providing misleading or false information. If a site owner does so, with the knowledge that the information in question is likely to cause an existing occupier to leave the site, or a potential occupier not to occupy the site, the owner faces a fine and/or up to two years imprisonment.
The effectiveness of the Mobile Homes Act 2013 has been somewhat, hindered by its staged introduction but the latest batch of provisions will be welcomed by many of the estimated 85,000 households living on mobile home sites in England.
For more information or any advice contact our Property team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on +44 (0)113 203 1269