Many people find it difficult to find information on park homes and we are here to help. There are many useful magazines and booklets available to help and we have listed some of these at the end of this article.
When you meet the seller of the park home you must ask to see a copy of their agreement under the Mobiles Home Act 1983 and the Site Rules. This agreement will contain important information about the site owner and their likely interest in the land, details of the current occupier, security of tenure, information of pitch fees, other charges and details of the pitch. The agreement also contains details of the owner’s right to sell the mobile home and is extremely important. (If you are buying a new home the site owner must give the agreement to you, currently, within three months of purchase).
It is a good idea, especially if you have travelled a long way, to have a good look around the surrounding areas of the site or indeed other sites within the area. Find out where the nearest shop or bus stop is, talk to some of the residents currently living on the park and generally get a ‘feel’ for the locality. Ask if the site is a member of the BH & HPA, as if so they have undertaken to adhere to the industries Guidelines of Good Practice and are pledged to extend to home owners and prospective buyers the assurances provided by the Park Homes Charter.
Of importance is meeting the site owner and being accepted as a potential resident for that particular site. Again if you have travelled a long way it may be a good idea to see if anyone will be available on the day to meet you. The site owner cannot stop you purchasing the park home unless you do not meet the required site criteria i.e. if the site is for over 50’s and you are aged 35 or the park owner can determine some other justifiable reason. Under the provisions of the Mobile Homes Act 1983, a park owner cannot stop the seller from selling the home.
Once you have found a park home you would like to buy, you may wish to take legal advice. Although a park home is legally classed as a chattel and therefore you do not have to use a solicitor, a specialist legal advisor would be able to ensure the agreement did not have any unusual clauses or restrictions. This is particularly important right now because of many changes in the legislation and site licensing. As some of these homes are selling for large sums of money it is a worthwhile investment to avoid pitfalls in the future. One other thing to bear in mind, is that if you are selling bricks and mortar to buy a park home, some legal advisors will combine the exchange of contracts and completion of the bricks and mortar with the park home, ensuring all the money (including the 10% commission due to the site owner paid by the occupier) is distributed correctly on the same day.
Depending on the age of the home, you may wish to have a survey carried out. A thorough survey will cost approximately £300.00.
If you are not able to buy the park home outright there are companies, which specialise in the finance of park homes. Much depends on the age and condition of the home. Additionally, some site owners may be in a position to offer finance.
Many of the outgoings associated with a park home are identical to those of bricks and mortar homes. The home owner will be responsible for domestic water supply, sewage, electric and heating charges. On some parks, water and sewage charges may be included in the annual pitch fee. It is worth establishing whether the supply is metered to each individual home and you pay the individual supplier or whether you are accountable to the park owner because he is the ‘Reseller’.
You insure the park home in the same way as you would your normal bricks and mortar house. There are many specialists insurance services for park home so it is worth shopping about.
You will pay council tax in the normal way. Most park homes are currently in band ‘A’ which is the lowest banding.
The annual ‘pitch fee’ you will be responsible for paying the park owner for, probably on a monthly basis, covers the cost of him providing the pitch on which the home you are buying is sited. The pitch fee will also cover the day-to-day maintenance of the park. You can currently expect to pay roughly £20 to £25 per week for the pitch fee but you should check the actual figure with the seller of the home.
The following is a list of companies, which may be of assistance to you on our links page. These companies are totally independent of South Western Park Homes Ltd and should you take up their services, you will deal directly with them.
Books / Articles
PH & Hol Caravan Mag;
Residential Homes park Directory;
ODPM – ‘Mobile Homes a Guide for Residents and site owners’ (available free from all local authority offices and CAB);