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Anthony Vines reviews the regulatory changes for site owners and residents of mobile homes in Wales

The regulation of certain mobile home sites will change with effect from 1st October 2014 following the passage of the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013.  The changes do not apply to holiday sites and to various other excepted classes set out in Schedule 1 to the Act.  The regime however will effect significant and welcome change in the management and regulation of sites including by limiting the period of site licences to 5 years and requiring site managers to be passed as fit and proper.

The Welsh Government is however yet to decide on some of the requirements about the selling and gifting of mobile homes, about changing the rate of the pitch fees and how changes are made to site rules.  The dispute resolution procedure in each case is by way of an appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.  You have a chance to help decide upon the detail of these requirements by taking part in the consultation upon the 3 sets of draft regulations before the deadline of 6 May 2014.  The focus of the consultation is whether the requirements are sufficiently clear and complete and whether there are further requirements to be introduced.

 

  • The historical role of the site owner in the approval of a sale or gift is removed under the new scheme.  The draft Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (Wales) Regulations 2014 set out the detail of the new process which is to be followed when a home owner wants to sell or give away their mobile home including setting out the forms to be used and how a site owner can seek to prevent the sale by applying for a refusal order from the Tribunal.
  • The Act requires a site owner to consult with residents prior to changing the rate of the pitch fee.  It limits any change to the Consumer Price Index.  The new draft Regulations set out the form which the site owner can use to communicate proposed fee changes with site residents, how the fee is to be determined and the role and powers of appeals  to the Tribunal.
  • Finally, and probably of most importance, the regulations set out a new procedure which all site owners must follow when making or changing site rules.  Site owners are given a year from 1 October 2014 to review all existing site rules and to propose new rules.  The Regulations set out how consultation is to be handled with residents and how the rules are to be determined.  Disgruntled home owners are given an appeal to the Tribunal in order to address issues either of procedure or the proposed rules themselves.  The Regulations also include a list of rules which are not to be included.
WG20989 Consultation Document: Draft Statutory Instruments to be made under the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013
draft Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting)(Wales) Regulations 2014
draft Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees)(Prescribed Form)(Wales) Regulations 2014
draft Mobile Homes (Site Rules)(Wales) Regulations 2014