The Leasehold Advisory Service explains more about what the First-tier Tribunal does and how it can help you resolve park home disputes…
The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (“Tribunal”) deals with proceedings relating to park/mobile homes. Until 1 July 2013 such matters were dealt with by the Residential Property Tribunal who, in turn, had taken over jurisdiction for park home matters from the county courts on 30 April 2011.
The Tribunal can determine most applications in relation to park home matters. All of the application forms can be found on LEASE’s website at www.parkhomes.lease-advice.org/forms. We list there all the forms necessary to make an application; numbered Form PH1 to Form PH19.
Before you complete and submit an application form, it is important that you read the notes contained in these forms. The notes outline what documents need to accompany the completed application form to be sent to the appropriate regional Tribunal office. On the back page of each application form, there is a helpful list of the addresses and contact details of all the regional Tribunal offices in England.
When a Tribunal considers a case, it will usually comprise a panel of two or three members, including a chairman The Tribunal members consist of two types:
1. The chairman, who will usually be a lawyer or surveyor – they are usually responsible for the written reasons for the decision; and,
2. Other members who may be lawyers, surveyors, other professional people or lay people.
Section 4 of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 states:
“…a tribunal has jurisdiction: (a) to determine any question arising under this Act [Mobile Home Act 1983] or any agreement to which it applies; and (b) to entertain any proceedings brought under this Act or any such agreement.”
This section gives wide powers to the Tribunal when considering park home matters. For instance, applications made in the Tribunal can address the following (non-exhaustive list):
● Disputing utility charges
● Enforcement of site rules
● Pitch fee reviews
● Administration charges
● Refusal of permission for improvement of a park home
● Recognition of a residents’ association
There is a fee of £100 payable for an application to the Tribunal, and, if required, an additional hearing fee of £200. Unless you qualify for a fee waiver or reduction, this is known as the fee remission system, outlined at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fees-and-help-with-fees-forms
For Wales, the Tribunal application fees range from £155 to £515. Please carefully look at the fee structure contained in the application form you are to use – see https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/forms/T
RETENTION OF JURISDICTION OF COUNTY COURT IN PARK HOME MATTERS
It is interesting to note the County Court retains jurisdiction in cases where an application is made to terminate a park home agreement. Otherwise the Tribunal may have jurisdiction to deal with termination where there is a pre-existing arbitration agreement to refer the issue to a Tribunal. Again, it is important to read the notes very carefully in Tribunal form PH12, which deals with an Application by site owner to terminate the agreement.
For more information, please contact LEASE by telephone on 0207 832 2525 between the hours of 9am to 5pm (Monday to Friday).
This article is not meant to describe or give a full interpretation of the law; only the courts can do that. If you are in any doubt about your rights and duties, please seek specific advice. The law discussed covers matters pertaining to English law only.
Read the full story in the January 2021 issue of Park Home & Holiday Caravan