The Mobile Home industry can be broken down into two categories: Residential Park Homes and Holiday Lodges but what does this mean for you?
You have different rights as a Residential Home Owner than you do as a Holiday Home Owner but this separation has been the cause of much confusion in the past, often resulting in court cases.
Many Lodge Owners have been mislead by unscrupulous Park Owners and are actually unaware that by living in their home on a full time basis, they are breaking the law.
In recent years some Park Owners have been allowing their Residents to live in holiday dwellings for a full 365 days of a year which is in breach of the legislation surrounding the occupancy of holiday homes. The Council have wised up to this and have been cracking down on Park Owners and Home Owners alike for Council Tax evasion.
Many Local Authorities are now charging Council Tax to people living in mobile homes that have holiday home status. Unfortunately some Holiday Home Owners think that this makes their position legal but it does not and they are still liable for prosecution. There are serious penalties and even the possibility of a jail sentence if these laws are broken.
So what is the real difference between Residential and Holiday properties?
Residential Status Homes.
1) As a Residential Home Owner, your Park Home is your main address and you register this address with the Council so you are on the Electoral Role and you are then registered to pay Council Tax for this address. A Park Home falls under Band A for Council Tax and is therefore the cheapest at around £1,000 p/a. The Council Tax is paid directly from the Lodge Owner to the Council and any involvement of the Park Owner should be viewed very suspiciously. If the Park Owner of the site you live on is asking you for Council Tax then the chances are you are illegally living in a holiday home and handing over £1,000 a year for your Park Owner’s holiday fund!
2) As a registered tax payer, you are entitled to postal services directly to your door and refuse collection from your home, just are you would be when living in a house. These services should be provided by the Royal Mail and Local Authority. If the post is delivered to a mail box at the Site Office for example, or you have to take your rubbish to a refuse area on site for collection, this is not common practice for Residential Home Owners and should be investigated.
3) If the park you live on is a residential site, this will be indicated on the Site Licence and you will therefore be permitted to stay in your Park Home on site for 365 days of the year, with no obligation to leave at any point. If you are asked by the Park Owner to vacate for any length of time, this is also an indication that you are illegally living on a Holiday Park.
4) You will be protected by the Mobile Homes Act 2013 and should have been given a copy of the Written Statement which accompanies this legislation. If when you moved onto the Park you live on, you were not given a Written Statement then I would advise you to look into this because by law, all Residential Home Owners must be issued a Written Statement so that they are aware of their rights such as Right of Tenure, Private Sale of the Home and Reviews of Site Fees to name just a few. You can find a copy of the Written Statement at the end of this post and if you want to download it for your information, feel free.
Holiday Status Homes.
1) As a Holiday Home Owner, your lodge is not your main registered address. Your actual home remains the main address registered with the Council and is the property for which you pay Council Tax, the holiday home is a second dwelling and Council Tax is not due. When you buy a holiday lodge on a park, the Park Owner is legally obligated to gain proof of another registered address at which you pay Council Tax i.e. a Council Tax Bill for the property at which you live. This must be kept on record and be available for inspection should a member of the Council suspect any Resident of tax evasion.
2) Since Council Tax is not paid for this property then there is no postal service directly to your door nor is there a direct refuse collection service provided. Holiday Home Owners must (depending on how the Park operates) either collect any post from the Site Office or allocated mail boxes situated somewhere on site and they must put their refuse for collection in an allocated Refuse Collection Point on site. The Park Owner will have arranged for waste collection services for the Park and the rubbish will be collected from there.
3) If you live on a Holiday Park this will also be indicated on the Site Licence, of which there should be copies displayed throughout the Park for Residents to view, and should even be included as an Appendix in your Contract. Most Holiday Parks are not permitted to remain open for a full 365 days of a year and the amount of time a Park must close for in any twelve months is dependent on their Planning Permission. At Rowanwater, we have a mixture of both residential and holiday status homes and we do not “close” at any time throughout the year. Holiday Home Owners are permitted to occupy their homes on Rowanwater at any time during 365 of the year providing it is not their main address.
4) As a Holiday Home Owner you do not have the same rights as a Residential Home Owner and you are not issued with a Written Statement. At Rowanwater, Holiday Home Owners are issued with a 99 Year Lease and pay an annual Ground Rent of £2,300. The 99 year lease is transferable and renewable and it can be passed on to family members or Buyers, if you decide to sell the lodge. The amount of time left on the Lease if it is transferred will be 99 years, less the amount of time during which you occupied the lodge.
So to sum up, you need to be really careful when deciding on a Park! Please make sure you ask Park Owners for details of their Planning Permission, Site Licence and the Written Statement so that you do not end up getting into trouble.
Below you can find a copy of the Written Statement and a couple of useful articles about the Residential/Holiday dichotomy – beware!