UK GOVERNMENT ENERGY BILLS SUPPORT SCHEME – UPDATE

Dear fellow Members,

You will no doubt be aware from earlier posts on the subject, that IPHAS is in dialogue with AGE UK, seeking clarity on how the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS), is to be delivered to your good selves, particularly those who do not have a direct supply contract with an energy supply company. This has come into sharper relief with the resignation of the Prime Minister, and the ensuing Tory Leadership elections. Those of you who have witnessed such contests in the past, will realize that we are unlikely to see a speedy outcome. What does this matter? It matters because until a new Government is in place, and new Departmental heads are appointed, the work of Government may slow down.

However, we have just been passed the following information, provided to AGE UK by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in relation to park homes and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme.

  • Having investigated park home residents missing out on the EBSS, the BEIS are proposing a local council discretionary fund using section 31 grants or using the Warm Home Discount Park home industry initiative, as a way of delivering the £400 to park home residents. BEIS are in dialogue with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who they say are already in touch with park home resident associations.
  • BEIS intend to provide charities with further guidance on the EBSS in August and September, so we should hopefully get further details by the end of the summer.
  • Less reassuring is the following statement from BEIS, who are keen to stress that despite the current disruption in government, the EBSS is very unlikely to be shelved and the minister for BEIS, Kwasi Kwarteng, remains in place. There may however be delays in turnarounds on decisions because of ongoing instability.

IPHAS will continue to work with AGE UK and BEIS, to press for a speedy resolution to the issue of fair distribution of the £400 EBSS grant to all park home residents, this autumn.

IAN PYE, Chairman                                                                                    11TH July 2022

IPHAS (2021) LTD.

UK GOVERNMENT ENERGY BILLS SUPPORT SCHEME

Dear Fellow Members,

Many of you have been in contact with our Advisory Services Team, seeking advice about how you will receive the promised £400 energy relief package, promised to be ‘delivered to every home’, by the Prime Minister.

If you purchase your energy from a supplier in the domestic market, you will be registered with one of the energy retail companies and should have no problem in receiving the £400.

However, although park home legislation affords you the right to source your own energy supplies with an energy retailer, many of you have accepted the convenience of purchasing your energy from your park owner. Unwittingly, in so doing, this has created a major obstacle to you having access to the grant. As a business owner, your park owner must purchase his energy from the non-domestic market, which is not subject to the same price capping controls as the domestic market. The site is likely to have one gas and one electricity meter registered to the park’s business. I understand that you all have meters in your homes, but as you are not registered with the energy retailers, they don’t know about you. Also, it’s unlikely that your park owner has created a record of the serial numbers of your individual meters.

We have also been asked, ‘Why can’t we receive the grant though our Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) supplier? LPG is also sold through the non-domestic market, and IPHAS understand it does not provide a platform that could be used to deliver the grant.

The lack of registration has raised other concerns, for you may well be suffering from a ‘loyalty penalty’, in that you be may paying higher unit charges than you would as an independent consumer, even though your park owner is only allowed to charge you the same unit tariff that he is charged, and he must provide you free of charge, documentary evidence in support and explanation of all his charges to you.

Another consequence of this scenario is, should you suffer an outage that leaves you without power, heat and light for a time, an event which may also have damaged electronic equipment in your home beyond repair, you are unlikely to benefit from the industry compensation scheme, as they only have a contract with your park owner. However, he will be compensated for any personal loss.

As many of you are aware, park home communities are predominately retirement communities, a lifestyle choice for many. Due to the increasing disquiet over how the EBSS can be delivered to all communities (those living in residential care settings are affected in the same way as park homeowners), IPHAS are now engaged with AGE UK to pursue an early resolution to the current impasse on payments. We also seek to establish whether there is further scope for co-operation on all issues affecting park home residents. AGE UK has kindly sanctioned IPHAS to post the following link for your information.

Ian Pye CHAIR, The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (2021) Ltd.                                08/06/2022

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/consultation-responses-and-submissions/safe-at-home/consultation-response—technical-proposals-for-the-energy-bills-support-scheme-department-for-business-energy–industrial-strategy.pdf

Important Announcement

Dear Members and Park Home Owners,

Last year the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, commissioned the University of Liverpool, assisted by Hallam University, Sheffield, to carry out research to gather data to enable an assessment to be made of impacts on the sector of a change to the maximum 10% commission paid on the sale of a mobile home. I am pleased to inform you that we have today received the final report “The impact of a change in the maximum park home sale commission”, from the Department.

A copy of the report is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-homes-the-impact-of-a-change-in-the-maximum-park-home-sale-commission

The Government will now consider the report and recommendations in more detail and set out the next steps in due course.
IPHAS would like to thank all those who participated, and contributed to this important piece of research.

IAN R PYE, CHAIR – IPHAS(2021) LTD.

Letter to members

INTRODUCTION

Dear Fellow Members,

I am delighted to introduce our new user-friendly website! We see this new, contemporary version as being YOUR website and as such, is very much a work in progress. We are keen for you to have ready access to the latest Posts, so please let us have your suggestions for the sort of information you would like us to cover. Further detail about the ongoing development of the website is posted separately.

Thank you all for your continued support of IPHAS during our period of transition.

Ian Pye, CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT PARK HOME ADVISORY SERVICE (2021) LTD.

NEW MEMBERSHIP DATABASE AND PAYMENT GATEWAY

A new, easy to access ‘PAYMENT GATEWAY’ is currently in development and once complete, will undergo a period of testing prior to being made available for members use. As a MEMBERSHIP NUMBER will be required to access the Payment Gateway, we are creating a simple SEARCH FACILITY to aid those who have forgotten their MEMBERSHIP NUMBER, which can be identified through LINKS to our new MEMBERSHIP DATABASE, which is due to be available sometime in APRIL. Members can continue to pay their subscription by STANDING ORDER, or BACS, and although we do still accept checks, we must advise you that this is an extremely time consuming and costly method of payment. We are constantly under pressure by our bank, HSBC, to dissuade members from using this method of payment, when a DEBIT CARD payment can be made by telephoning our FREEPHONE MEMBERSHIP NUMBER – 0800 612 6273.

FREE ACCESS TO INFORMATIONFOR ALL

Anyone will be able to access all our ‘Posts’ which we will endeavour to categorize in due course. To simplify the process, we have included a SEARCH facility on the HOME page, which will allow you to locate and research an item of your choice, by inputting a single word enquiry into the SEARCH FIELD. Any information we hold should then be displayed in descending date order, with the latest information being at the top.

IPHAS VOLUNTEERS

As you will be aware, IPHAS is an entirely voluntary organisation, our team members all work from home, and only receive ‘expenses’ to cover the costs of their activities. We provide support for INTERNET and LICENCE charges, TELEPHONE, and postal costs, as well as Computer and Printing Equipment and servicing, when required.

RECRUITMENT

WITH OUR NEW IT SERVICES COMING ON STREAM SOON, WE WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND THE RANGE OF ADVISORY AND SUPPORT SERVICES TO MEMBERS, AND PARK HOME DWELLERS ON MAINLAND UK. UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE VERY SHORT OF VOLUNTEERS DURING RECENT LOCKDOWNS, ALTHOUGH WE HAVE MANAGED TO CONTINUE WITH OUR DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS, THROUGHOUT THAT PERIOD.

SO, WHATEVER YOUR BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE, WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN OF THE WORK UNDERTAKEN BY OUR TEAM MEMBERS, AND THE VARIETY OF ROLES WE WOULD LIKE TO CREATE, TO ASSIST OUR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT.

Please EMAIL our INFORMATION TEAM AT info@iphas.co.uk or Telephone FREEPHONE MEMBERSHIP NUMBER – 0800 612 6273 AND LEAVE YOUR DETAILS; WE WILL CONTACT YOU AT OUR EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY.

Ian Pye, CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT PARK HOME ADVISORY SERVICE (2021) L

ENERGY STATEMENT FROM BEIS

Dear Mr Pye,

Thank you for your letter of 21st March, about the challenges facing Park Home residents in terms of their energy contracts.

The Secretary of State is grateful to you for having taken the time to write. I have been asked to respond on his behalf.

We recognise the difficult position that many households are in with the continued impact of Covid-19 and rising energy prices. How much consumers pay for their energy, as well as fairness and affordability are at the heart of the government’s commitment to driving bill savings and ensuring costs are distributed fairly.

The energy price cap was introduced through legislation to address an issue where certain groups of customers in the domestic market were found to be paying too much for their energy through a loyalty penalty. It was not designed to mitigate high global wholesale prices which is what we are currently seeing.

Park home owners purchase gas or electricity in the non-domestic market, which has a greater diversity of supply arrangements for businesses compared to the domestic sector. We are not aware that commercial contracts purchased by businesses, like mobile park owners suffer a loyalty penalty like domestic default tariffs do, and this is why the price cap legislation doesn’t cover them.

Ofgem sets the Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards that must be met by each electricity network company, which includes an entitlement to compensation if distribution companies fail to meet the service standards required.

If residents are connected to a private network that is owned and operated by the residential park owner or operator, instead of being connected directly to the local Distribution Network Operator network, the Distribution Network Operator only has one customer directly connected to their network – the private network owned by residential park owner. Under the Guaranteed Standards of Performance, Distribution Network Operators are only required to make payments for supply interruptions to customers that are directly connected to their network. Private network operators are not required to make payments to their customers under this scheme.

The current compensation rules were set in April 2015 for the duration of the current price control period, which runs from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2023, and cannot be changed. I understand that Ofgem is in the process of considering the arrangements for the next price control period, which starts on 1 April 2023, and as part of this they will review the eligibility criteria for compensation claims due to power disruptions.

The Energy Ombudsman has been approved by Ofgem to independently handle and resolve disputes between customers and energy companies. If residents feel that their energy company has not appropriately handled and resolved their complaint, they can refer this to the Energy Ombudsman. Further details and points of contact can be found at the following link. www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy.

The Government recognises this is a worrying time for consumers facing pressures due to the significant increases in global gas prices. Our priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained. The Secretary of State is in regular contact with the energy industry and Ofgem to manage the impact of high global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation incredibly closely, including the impacts for consumers supplied by commercial energy contracts.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Huish
BEIS CORRESPONDENCE UNIT

Download Original

PARK HOME OWNERS’ JUSTICE CAMPAIGN

UPDATE ON THE 10% Commission Charge and RPI to CPI increase to your pitch fee.

Many thanks for sending the letters to Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Ed Davey and your MP.  It may not seem as though anything is happening – but you are keeping up the pressure, which is all that you can do.

Many of you are emailing me copies of the letters that you have received from your MP.  Basically, I can tell you that they are all saying the same thing, and not answering the question.

There was ample opportunity for any of those MPs to bring up the RPI to CPI issue in Prime Ministers Questions after the announcement by the Chancellor.  Sadly, not one of them deemed it necessary to do so.

Sir Christopher Chope has tried on several occasions to get a second reading of his Private Members Bill – but to no avail. The next chance is Friday May 6th – but I suspect that again it will not get read.

We obviously await the outcome of the 10% Commission Charge review and the long- awaited change from RPI to CPI.

I have approached certain members of the BBC and hope to get the current plight of the park home resident broadcast.  If I am lucky, that should be in the near future.  I will do my best but we will have to wait and see. The Prime Minister’s Office has published that The State Opening of Parliament will take place on Tuesday 10th May.

I think we have all done all that we can at this point and we must now wait to see what the government has set out in the Queen’s speech for the next parliamentary session.

If there is no further news.  I will write again after May 10th.

Best wishes to all and stay safe.

Sonia.                                                                                                              29th March 2022

DEPARTMENT FOR HOUSING AND REGENERATION

WELSH GOVERNMENT

DEPARTMENT FOR HOUSING AND REGENERATION

30th March 2022

In March 2019, Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change, decided not to implement the decision to change the maximum commission rate from the sale of a residential park home, but to reconsider the matter afresh.

However, the outbreak of Covid-19 meant that resources were redeployed to enable officials to focus on the immediate challenges being faced as a consequence of Covid-19. This meant that the work to gather further evidence and engage with the sector was postponed.

It is clear that the pandemic is still having a significant impact on our lives. It has prevented us from fully engaging with the sector to seek evidence so that the Minister can consider this matter afresh.

The pandemic and our ‘no-one left out’ approach have shone a light on the extent of hidden homelessness in Wales. Welsh Government is therefore focused on preventing homelessness and transforming homelessness services for the long term. We are also focusing on supporting people facing cost of living increases, including supporting people to sustain their tenancies.

Alongside this, the war in Ukraine has caused the displacement of many tens of thousands of people from their homes and marked the onset of the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe for decades. As a nation of sanctuary, we are committed to do whatever we can to welcome and support people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

As a consequence of these unprecedented pressures, the Minister has asked officials to postpone work on gathering evidence for the remainder of this Government term.

We realise that some people will be disappointed to hear that this work will continue to be postponed. The Minister recognises the importance of the commission rate and the impact this has had on owners of park homes and site owners, and continues to believe that the best way to proceed is to ensure any decision is based on accurate, up-to-date and carefully considered evidence.

However, in order to provide the information on which the Minister can take a balanced view, she must have the strongest possible evidence base on which to base her decision. This will require significantly more work which the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other pressures have not allowed us to progress.

Yours sincerely

Amelia John

Deputy Director, Housing Policy

LATEST MESSAGE FROM SONIA McCOLL OBE – PARK HOMEOWNERS JUSTICE CAMPAIGN

The Private Members Bill sponsored by APPG Chairman, Sir Christopher Chope OBE MP, is now due to receive its second reading in the House of Commons, on 6th May 2022.

Dear Justice Campaign Supporter.

Today, Sir Christopher Chope OBE, again tried to get a second reading of his Private Members Bill that would get the promised Government change from RPI to CPI included in the parliamentary timetable.  Yet again, to no avail and it was pushed forward to 6th May (when it will no doubt get blocked again.)

Enough is enough.  I hear from many of you regarding the hardships that the extortionate levels of RPI are doing to family finances in these austere times and

I can see no point in appealing further to the present government, who are obviously determined to ignore our plea.  Therefore, I have attached a letter below – that you can send if you wish – to the leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.  I am hoping that if hundreds of you write we can shame this Government into action.  Hopefully, at Prime Minister’s Questions.

If you choose to send the letter, please insert your own name, address and date in the space provided and sign the letter.

Please send two letters.  One to Sir Keir Starmer. Leader of the Labour Party.

One to Sir Ed. Davey. Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party

The address for both is:  House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

You might also like to send a copy to your constituency MP.

This is the best that I think we can all do at this stage.

Best wishes to you all and stay safe

Sonia

The National Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign

The following letter was sent to Eddie Hughes MP, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping, by Sir Christopher Chope OBE MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Park Homes, on Wednesday, 23rd March 2022.

‘Dear Eddie

I would like to thank you again for attending the Park Homes APPG on 7th February but it is disappointing that I have not heard from you since.

It is also a great disappointment to members of the APPG for Park Homes that the Government was unwilling to support the Private Members’ Bill to implement agreed Government policy for reform in this sector. Even the modest change from RPI to CPI in the calculation of increase in pitch fees seems to be beyond the capabilities of the Government. With a new Parliamentary session in prospect, I would be grateful for your confirmation that your Department will draft a ‘hand out’ bill for a private Member successful in the ballot so that the long over-due legislative changes supported by the Government can be implemented in the forthcoming session.

With best wishes,

 Chris

ENERGY SUPPLY CRISIS AND POWER OUTAGE ISSUES

If you are a Park Home Resident without a direct supply contract with an energy supply company, or recently you have had a claim for compensation for a power outage rejected by an energy supply company.

ISSUES ARISING FROM THE SUPPLY OF ENERGY TO PARK HOMEOWNERS

In 2021, the Government announced that in April 2022, the current price capping of energy supplies to domestic consumers is to be reviewed. Shortly thereafter, certain parts of the country were subject to severe storms resulting in flooding and power outages for many park homeowners. Within days, IPHAS began to receive complaints from members, that they had suffered a total loss of energy supplies for several days, and their applications for compensation from the supply companies were being rejected. IPHAS learned that although occupiers are legally entitled to choose their own source of energy supplies, many residents have agreements in place which require them to purchase their energy supplies from the park owner, leaving them at a significant disadvantage.

This is because the park owner has a business contract with his energy supplier, and the tariffs do not qualify for UK Government price capping. This also means that energy supply companies with a single contract with the owner to supply the site are not, therefore liable to pay compensation for power outages, as they have no direct contract with individual occupiers. Furthermore, as the resident does not have a direct supply contract with the Energy Company, they do not qualify for the government protection scheme, nor can they benefit from the £200 Energy Bills Rebate.

IPHAS has made strong representations to the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, but have yet to receive a satisfactory response to address these anomalies. Meanwhile, they continue to stress the point that occupiers are legally entitled to choose their own source of energy supplies.

For further information, please refer to the following Citizens Advice Links in relation to contacting their consumer helpline if a person is not satisfied with the energy supplier’s decision, or making a complaint to the energy Ombudsman, who are responsible for settling disputes with network operators.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/problems-with-your-energy-supply/get-compensation-if-you-have-a-power-cut/

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/complain-about-an-energy-company/complain-to-the-energy-ombudsman/

Information is also available from Ofgem with the following link: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2016/12/ofg581_guarantee_standards_booklet_updated_dec16.pdf

FURTHER INFORMATION WILL BE PROVIDED AS AND WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE.

Will you be affected by the forthcoming changes to the Energy Price Cap?

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/check-if-energy-price-cap-affects-you

 

WELSH PROPOSAL TO REDUCE THE 10% COMMISSION WITHDRAWN

As a result of the consultation process on the Park Homes Commission Rate (See the above Link), the Minister in the Welsh Assembly proposed that the commission payable on the sale of a park home should be reduced from the current maximum of 10 percent by one percent each year for five years. This would bring the maximum rate of commission down to 5 percent. We in IPHAS and NAPHR pointed out that the park owners could claim an increase in pitch fees to compensate but the Minister replied that this could be settled by the tribunal system.

In practice, the tribunal would have to follow the law and implied term 18(1)(d) states that any change in the law affecting the management of the site could be considered at the pitch fee review. Therefore, we wrote to the Welsh Assembly expressing our concern at the probable increase in pitch fees resulting from their proposal. When this appeared to have no effect, we combined our letters with letters from the BH&HPA and NCC. However, we did make it known to all that our reasons were different. Our reasons were to prevent an increase in pitch fees while the BH&HPA and NCC were concerned about the park owner’s income.

The Welsh Assembly have now withdrawn their proposal, but that is only temporary, and IPHAS will continue to monitor the situation. We will explain to the Welsh Minister, that a simple amendment to the implied term could have the desired effect.

Click here to find out more

SCOTTISH STANDARDS

The Scottish Government is introducing new standards for fire and smoke alarms in all homes in Scotland from February 2022, but this will not apply to park homes. From this date, every (traditional) home must have:

  • a smoke alarm in the living room and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings
  • a heat alarm in every kitchen all alarms ceiling mounted and interlinked
  • a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances such as boilers and wood burners

The new rules mean the standard which currently applies to private rented property and new-builds is being extended to all homes in Scotland.
An enquiry by the Chair of SCOPHRA, (The Scottish Confederation of Park Home Residents Associations), to the Scottish Government on the application of the legislation to park homes brought the response below:

“The new standard will not apply to park homes. The reason is that they are not covered by the definition of house in the legislation.
Simon Roberts Policy Manager: Housing Standards and Quality”

However, SCOPHRA endorses this new level of precautions and urges park home residents, for their own safety, to ensure adequate fire safety. Please check your detectors, ensure the batteries are working, test all detectors regularly and if you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, SCOPHRA recommends you install one. These are available online or from DIY stores. 

HAVE YOU SUFFERED FLOOD DAMAGE, OR DO YOU LIVE IN A HIGH-RISK FLOOD AREA OF THE COUNTRY?

Re-insurance cover for properties at risk of flood.

Floodre is a joint initiative between the Government and Insurers to provide ‘flood cover insurance’ as an additional element to a home insurance policy (Park Homes included), that would normally not offer flood cover to a prospective customer.  It is designed to cover properties built before 2009 (qualifying criteria) that might not be considered insurable against flood and to/or make any higher premiums for those that are, more affordable, and to provide flood cover for properties that private insurers totally refuse to consider.

Not all insurance companies will offer Flood cover for new customers, especially to those with properties located near bodies of water.  The Floodre scheme is not a mandatory one for insurance companies to adopt unfortunately, and even with the clear financial benefits to them and the peace of mind a flood cover policy offers their customers, some companies don’t participate in the scheme or only for geographically specific areas.    

There remains a large number of properties throughout the UK that are considered to be too high a risk by insurance companies to be offered any Flood Cover whatsoever, leaving many with standard buildings and contents cover – with a flood exclusion.  This clearly leaves them in a very vulnerable position and because they can’t find any flood cover, this exclusion can detrimentally affect the property’s re-sale value as a result too.  

SCHEME ELIGIBILTY

Who is eligible for Flood Re?

  • Properties must be located within the UK mainland.
  • Properties must have a Council Tax band A to H.
  • Properties must be built before 1st January 2009. Note: If a property has been demolished and rebuilt before this date, then the new building is still eligible for Flood Re.
  • Properties must be used for residential purposes.
  • Properties must have an individual premium.
  • Leasehold flats with three or less fewer units are eligible.
  • The policy holder or their immediate family must live in the home for some or all of the time, or the property must be unoccupied.
  • The insurance contract must be in the name of one or more individuals, not companies.

Who is not eligible for Flood Re?

  • Bed and breakfast premises that are paying business rates.
  • Contingent buildings policies, such as those held by banks.
  • Farm outbuildings.
  • Freeholders/leaseholders deriving commercial income by insuring large numbers of properties for a portfolio.
  • Housing association’s residential properties.
  • Multi-use properties under commercial or private ownership.
  • Residential ‘buy to let’ properties that do not meet the criteria specified above.
  • Static caravan site owners when they are being used for commercial gain.
  • In the case of blocks of residential flats, company houses/flats, and social housing contents only can be covered.

Floodre website:   https://www.floodre.co.uk/

Floodre List of Insurers:            https://www.floodre.co.uk/can-flood-re-help-me/

 

FORM TO BE USED WITH PITCH FEE REVIEW NOTICE

From 26 July 2013 a pitch fee review notice must be accompanied by a form explaining the increase. The form to be used in a review is now available for download at
https://www.gov.uk/park-homes-guidance
There are two versions (one for completion on- line the other for printing and completion by hand).
It is also important to note that the form accompanies the review notice. If the form is served without a review notice the review would be invalid.
The review notice itself can simply state the new pitch fee, the amount of increase and the date the increased pitch fee is payable from. From 26 July 2013 a pitch fee review notice must be accompanied by a form explaining the increase. The form to be used in a review is now available for download at
https://www.gov.uk/park-homes-guidance
There are two versions (one for completion on- line the other for printing and completion by hand).
It is also important to note that the form accompanies the review notice. If the form is served without a review notice the review would be invalid.
The review notice itself can simply state the new pitch fee, the amount of increase and the date the increased pitch fee is payable from.

REGISTER YOUR HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES

The government has supported a home safety initiative which aims to encourage consumers to register their home appliances so that they can be contacted in case of a product safety repair or recall. An information sheet can be downloaded here

Download the PDF

AMDEA (The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances has created a website https://www.registermyappliance.org.uk to make it easier for the public to register all their appliances from one website portal. While the incidence of product recall is rare it is very important for the safety of owners in their homes – if your product isnt registered you cant be contacted.

SITE LICENCE FEE IN THE PITCH FEE

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 introduced a number of changes one of which was to give more powers to the local authorities regarding the site licence and the licence conditions. One change was that it allowed the local authority to charge an annual fee for the site licence. Under the implied terms this charge can be passed onto the residents at the following pitch fee review.

The relevant implied term is 18(1)(ba) which states:
18-(1) When determining the amount of the new pitch fee particular regard shall be had to-
(ba) any direct effect on the costs payable by the owner in relation to the maintenance or management of the site of an enactment which has come into force since the last review date:

This means that at the next pitch fee review following the imposition of the annual site licence fee by the local authority on the site owner the amount of the fee can be divided by the number of occupied homes and added to the pitch fee. It then becomes an integral part of the pitch fee which is usually increased by the RPI each year. Because this legislation came into force on 1 April 2014 the fee contribution cannot be added to the pitch fee at a review after 1 April 2015.

LIQUIFIED PETROLEUM GAS (LPG)

CHARGES

Unlike other utilities, there are no rules governing the resale of LPG and the park owner 

usually makes a profit on the resale. However, Implied Term 22(b)(ii) of the Written Statement still applies. The park owner must provide on request, documentary evidence in support and explanation of all charges for LPG he resells. Residents use LPG either in cylinders or from tanks installed on the pitch or from a common large tank on the park. Where residents use cylinders, they are free to use whatever supplier they like however, on some parks, the park owner may insist on residents purchasing cylinders through him and he may make a profit on this resale.

Where a resident has an LPG tank on his pitch he is usually billed direct from the supplier. 

On some parks, the park owner may insist on the transaction being made through him and he may make a profit on this resale.

Some parks have one large LPG tank on the park owned and operated by the park owner and the gas is piped to the individual pitches. The park owner will read the resident’s meter and will then bill the resident. 

Again, Implied Term 22(b)(ii) of the Written Statement states the park owner must provide on request, documentary evidence in support and explanation of his charges, including any LPG he resells. But, from examination of these documents the resident considers that the park owner is making an excessive profit from the resale of LPG, there is little that can be done about it.

SAFETY

The following links provide useful information and answers to your questions on the subject of LPG supplies and safety regulations.

LPG in Residential Parks
https://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/ocs/400-499/440_34.htm

Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations
https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l56.htm

Safe materials in LPG installations
https://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/lpg/servicepipework.htm

WARM HOME DISCOUNT SCHEME

Consultation:

The consultation process ended on 22 August 2021 (see above link), proposes to expand, and reform the scheme in England and Wales until 2026, in line with the commitments announced in the Energy White Paper in 2020. The objective of the reforms is to improve the fuel poverty targeting rate of the scheme and ensure more fuel poor households can receive rebates on their energy bills automatically, through data matching.

Click here to find out more

STATE PENSION AGE

The State Pension age is currently 66 and two further increases are currently set out in legislation: a gradual rise to 67 for those born on or after April 1960; and a gradual rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046 for those born on or after April 1977.

Basic State Pension

You get the basic State Pension if you’re a man born before April 6, 1951, or a woman born before April 6, 1953. Currently the full basic State Pension is £137.60 per week. That’s £555.40 a month, or £7,155.20 a year. For the year 2022/23, the full basic State Pension will rise to £141.85, that is £567.40 a month, £7376.20 a year.

New State Pension

You will get the new State Pension instead if you are a man born on or after April 6, 1951, or a woman born on or after April 6, 1953. At present, the full new State Pension is £179.60 per week. That’s £718.40 a month based on four weekly payments, or £9,339.20 a year based on 52 weekly payments. For the year 2022/23, the full basic State Pension will rise to £185.15, that is £740.60 a month, £9627.80 a year.

MHCLG SURVEY ON 10% COMMISSION

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government commissioned The University of Liverpool and Sheffield Hallam University to provide essential research on the residential park homes sector to inform their review of the maximum 10 per cent commission paid on the sale of park homes. Their report was received at the Ministry of Housing Staff on 12th January 2022 and is currently being assessed by their staff.

FIT AND PROPER PERSON TEST

The fit and proper Regulations were made on 23 September 2020 and came into force in two parts. The first part came into force on 1 July 2021 by which time local authorities were required to be ready to receive applications from site owners. The second part came into force on 1 October 2021 by which time all site owners were required to have submitted applications to be assessed.

Local authorities will be able to charge an application fee and an annual fee and to recover the costs they have incurred, or which will be incurred, in appointing a person to manage a site with the site owner’s consent. This is consistent with the approach to other licensing fees (i.e., site licence fee). The charges should be shared between all residents and should be added to the Pitch Fee Review The fit and proper Regulations were made on 23 September 2020 and came into force in two parts. The first part came into force on 1 July 2021 by which time local authorities were required to be ready to receive applications from site owners. The second part came into force on 1 October 2021 by which time all site owners were required to have submitted applications to be assessed.

Local authorities will be able to charge an application fee and an annual fee and to recover the costs they have incurred, or which will be incurred, in appointing a person to manage a site with the site owner’s consent. This is consistent with the approach to other licensing fees (i.e. site licence fee). The charges should be shared between all residents and should be added to the Pitch Fee Review under Section 4C of the PFR form – ‘Recoverable Costs’.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1034/data.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-homes-fit-and-proper-person-test-guidance-for-local-authorities/mobile-homes-a-guide-for-local-authorities-on-the-fit-and-proper-person-test