The Leasehold Advisory Service’s Ibraheem Dulmeer examines the consultation requirements that must be complied with by a site owner who decides to undertake improvements on a residential park home site and proposes to pass the costs on to park home owners through the pitch fee
In summary, any costs spent on improvements can only be recovered through the pitch fees if a consultation process has been followed and the improvements benefit the residents. There can be confusion on the consultation requirements. This article aims to allay some of the perplexities that exist…
THE GENERAL POSITION
When a site owner is determining a new pitch fee she/he is permitted to have regard to any sums spent since the last review date on improvements to the park. There are three important aspects to this:
1. The sums spent must be for the benefit of the residents on the site.
2. The improvement costs must be subject of a consultation.
3. If a majority of residents have objected to the sums proposed to be spent on improvements being added to the pitch fee, they can only be added if the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (“FTT”) has ordered that the sums should be taken into account when determining the new pitch fee level.
WHAT CONSTITUTES AN IMPROVEMENT?
Mobile homes law does not define the word ‘improvements’. But in the context of other legislation it has been held that the word is a physical and not an economic concept, and means ‘additions or alterations which are not merely repairs or renewals’.
WHAT CONSTITUTES ‘FOR THE BENEFIT OF’ RESIDENTS?
It may be easy to establish that an improvement to the park is for the benefit of residents on the site. For example, the installation of electric gates at the entrance of the park is likely to be deemed a benefit if they enhance security on the park.
Again, mobile homes law does not define ‘benefit’, but considers a person may still benefit from an improvement even if the improvement provides something less convenient than before. It is enough if the park home resident may take advantage of the improvement once made.
WHAT TYPES OF MATTERS ARE EXCLUDED?
Any costs incurred by the site owner in connection with the expansion of the site or in relation to the conduct of proceedings under mobile homes law are excluded from consideration for the purposes of a pitch fee review.
Ibraheem Dulmeer is a Solicitor Advocate with the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE). LEASE provides free advice on residential park home matters. If you have any questions regarding the information in this article, contact LEASE on 020 7832 2525 or email: email@example.com.
The LEASE park homes website
https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/ also carries guidance and reports of Tribunal decisions, which you may find of use.
Please note that the information provided in this article serves as a useful introduction on residential park homes. Please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. If in doubt, seek specific advice from a specialist solicitor or Direct Public Access barrister. This article is accurate as at 18 June 2019.
Read the full story in the August 2019 issue of Park Home & Holiday Caravan