The Mobile Homes (Site Rules)(England) Regulations (“the Regulations”) came into force on 4 February 2014. Under the Regulations all existing park rules on residential parks in England will cease to apply on 3 February 2015. If a park wishes to continue to have rules after that date, it will need to follow the procedure set out in the Regulations to introduce new rules.
Stage 1 – the Proposal Notice
First, park owners will need to consult with their residents about the proposed new rules. This process of consultation is started by sending out a prescribed form (the “Proposal Notice”) to each resident and to any Qualifying Residents’ Association on the park. This notice must also be accompanied by a draft of the proposed new park rules.
Once this has been done, the residents (and any QRA) have at least 28 days from the date of receiving the Proposal Notice to consider the proposed new rules and to respond to them. The Proposal Notice must state the date by which any responses to the consultation must be submitted to the park owner.
Any resident who wishes to respond to the proposals or to make representations about them must then reply to the park owner within the period set out in the Proposal Notice. There is no set way for a resident to respond to the consultation – letters, emails, or even oral representations are allowed.
Stage 2 – the Consultation Response
Once the consultation period has ended the park owner must then send a further notice in the prescribed form (the “Consultation Response”) to all residents (and to any QRA) within 21 days of the end of the consultation period. The Consultation Response must:
- state whether the park owner intends to make any changes to the proposed rules as a result of the consultation;
- set out details of any representations received during the consultation, and the park owner’s response to those representations;
- attach a further copy of the proposed new rules, which should highlight any changes made as a result of the consultation;
- explain that the new site rules will come into effect once they have been deposited with the local authority and notice of deposit has been given to the residents; and
- explain the residents’ right to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (“FTT”).
Any resident who wishes to challenge any of the proposed rules must make an application to the FTT, and must inform the park owner, within 21 days of receiving the Consultation Response. The grounds of appealing to the Tribunal are very limited, such as where a proposed rule would be unlawful or where the park owner has failed to follow the consultation process correctly. If a challenge to the rules is made, the process is put on hold until 14 days after the Tribunal has made its ruling.
Stage 3 – Deposit with Local Authority
After the park owner has served the Consultation Response, and assuming no challenge has been made to the FTT, he/she must then deposit a copy of the proposed new rules with the local authority. This must be done not less than 28 days, and not more than 42 days, after sending the Consultation Response to the residents (although if a resident has submitted an appeal to the FTT these time limits are extended). The local authority may charge a fee for depositing the rules.
If the new rules are not deposited in time, a resident may apply to the FTT for an order requiring the park owner to deposit them
Within 7 days of depositing the rules with the local authority the park owner must then send a third prescribed notice (“Notification of Deposit”) to all residents (and to any QRA) confirming the date when the rules were deposited with the local authority, and the date on which they are to come into force – this will be 21 days after the date when the Notification of Deposit is served on the residents. A further copy of the new rules, as deposited with the local authority, must also be sent with the Notification of Deposit.
This article has been uploaded with the permission of Turbervilles Solicitors, Legal Advisers to the National Caravan Council.
If you would like Turbervilles to help you through this process, they offer park owners two alternative options to take the stress and risk out of complying with the Regulations – both for a competitively priced fixed fee.
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