Advisor Newsletter

DECEMBER NEWSLETTER

Dear Fellow Members,

We at IPHAS (The Independent Park Home Advisory Service) wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the very best for the future.

During the last few months, we’ve all been busy getting new colleagues trained up to help members with the many varied park home issues that may occur over time. A new computer system was introduced, helping not only the IPHAS team but our valued members as well. This system is far more user friendly and has certainly assisted us when, for example, we communicate with government officials on your behalf.

The telephone of course, will always be available to those who are not computer literate so there will be someone to speak to. Details are in this letter.

Just a few points to remind you,

  • Please ensure you keep your written agreements in a very safe place and your next of kin know where they are and what they are about. Should your Park change hands, on no account, sign any new agreements. The new Park owner takes over your existing agreement with no changes. Should they wish to change anything, they cannot do this without prior agreement with you the residents unless you have agreed to the change. If in doubt seek advice.
  • The Park Owner / Manager may only enter your pitch, having given you 14 days notice in writing, stating the reason why. He / She may of course enter to post letters or to read meters between the hours of 09.00am – 18.00pm or in an emergency.

Please note the IPHAS Help lines will be closed for our team members to have a well-earned break from 16.00pm on the 20th of December 2023 until 10.00am on the 8th of January 2024

Do not agree to any loss of your pitch size, if the Park Owner request`s this to site another home and you agree to it, then you should receive a reduced pitch fee.

The work we at IPHAS do, will continue in helping our members as much as we are able, and we are always working on your behalf both in the team and with the government. Please remember the IPHAS team are volunteers, so sometimes we do have hospital, dental, and doctors’ appointments to keep us going! We do not have an office; we all work from home.

Sometimes it may look as though nothing is happening but, like the duck, not much is happening on the top but plenty going on underneath! Some members donate extra to their membership fee, and we would like to thank you for this as it helps keep the membership fee down, and we are very grateful. We would also like to thank those who pay your fee via Standing Order as this does save us a fee levied on cashing cheques. There is no objection though if you do wish to use cheques.

Our chairman, Ian Pye decided to resign on the 22nd of October 2023 after serving with us for some six years and completing some excellent changes, for which we thank him greatly.

Please remember that RPI has been replaced by CPI from the 2nd July 2023 and the new Pitch Fee Review Form (this can be obtained on www.iphas.live) must be used by your Park owner when notifying you of a Pitch Fee Review. The latest published CPI figure is for October 2023 – 4.6%

Park homes are not equivalent to bricks and mortar, and the procedure for buying and selling a park home is not subject to the usual conveyancing protocols.

The Government fact sheets “Buying a Park Home” and “Selling a Park Home” give some basic guidance to the process involved, Links are shown on our website www.iphas.live to obtain printable copies of these documents and forms.

We have had a few calls from members where their Park owner is threatening to evict them, for whatever reason. Please be assured that this cannot happen without firstly taking the case to the First Tier Tribunal and then it would have to go to Court, so do not worry, but please get advice from IPHAS or a solicitor, should you find yourself in this position.

The Park Homes Warm Home Discount scheme 2023/2024 is NOW OPEN.

Charis`s Park Homes Warm Home Discount scheme enables residents living in a Park Home in England and Wales to apply for a £150 payment to help towards the cost of their energy bills. Use the link shown here to obtain more details. This is on a first come, first serve basis, you may still be able to apply.

https://charisgrants.com/partners/park-homes/

Contacting IPHAS — Important changes – Please note that IPHAS will be changing their telephone contact numbers in 2024. Continue to visit our website at www.iphas.live for up-to-date information.

We are currently on the lookout for more volunteer team members, we require people to work in our Membership and Advice Teams. The roles are varied and interesting. No knowledge of legislation or legal matters are required but it would be helpful if you have some basic skills in the use of computers. IPHAS which was formed in 1993, is held in high regard at Government level. Joining us, you will be playing a significant role in maintaining our large database or providing advice to our members nationwide. There are no set hours, training will be given, you can choose how much of your time you are prepared to give. Please note that whilst these are voluntary roles with no payment, expenses will be met. Any postal communication to should be sent to IPHAS, 19 College Close, Probus, Truro, Cornwall, TR2 4LW. This is the only address for postal communication.

Membership Fee Receipts

We have almost 100 Members with the surname SMITH, 31 BROWN, 53 JONES and 31 WILLIAMS. Please remember to use your membership reference when making payments.These are common errors made when making payments,

People shown on our Bank statement as: Mr. A xxxxxx who paid E6.OO as an annual membership fee (no reference )

Ms. C ABCDEF Grandmas Insurance (no reference)

You each have a Membership number, when you speak to us, we can help find the relevant reference numbers. If you pay by Standing Order your reference will be IND- the abbreviation for your County and 3 numbers (IND-LOND123 for example). If you have paid and not received a membership certificate, one of these could be you. Please contact us to sort things out.

Please use the following Telephone numbers to contact us;

Membership 0800 612 6273

Advice 0800 612 6399

 PLEASE NOTE: The IPHAS team offer information on residents’ rights under mobile home legislation, including buying and selling a home on a residential park. The advice and recommendations given in correspondence or through our telephone services are for information only, and it is for the resident to make his/her own decision on action to be taken. IPHAS team members are not lawyers, they are all volunteers who have PLEASE NOTE: The IPHAS team offer information on residents’ rights under mobile home legislation, including buying and selling a home on a residential park. The advice and recommendations given in correspondence or through our telephone services are for information only, and it is for the resident to make his/her own decision on action to be taken. IPHAS team members are not lawyers, they are all volunteers who have studied the relevant legislation. Team members advice is offered in good faith, but IPHAS cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any action taken by a resident, whether or not it was based on information given by IPHAS. studied the relevant legislation. Team members advice is offered in good faith, but IPHAS cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any action taken by a resident, whether or not it was based on information given by I

17th December 2023

Research Report

Park Homes Research Report: The impact of a change in the Maximum Park Home Sale Commission

Discussion document

September 2023

Submission date closed 17th November 2023

Everyone is invited to create their own personal response form and submit it if they wish, use the link herewith, complete the form and send it to; 

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities,3rd Floor (NE). Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.

https://www.iphas.live/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Disscusion-Response-Form-template.docx

  1. The purpose of this document is to aide participants in discussions about the

recommendations in the park homes research report – “The impact of a change in

the maximum park home sale commission (2022).”

  1. Park (mobile) homes provide accommodation to approximately 160,000 people in

England. Approximately 80% of residents are over 65 years. When a person

purchases a mobile home on a site, they do not purchase an interest in the land.

They will instead have a licence to occupy the pitch on which their home will sit.

When they sell their home, the site owner will be legally entitled to a commission

of up to 10% of the sale price. The exact rate a resident must pay the site owner

should be set out in the written agreement given to them when they first move

onto the site.

  1. Site owners and residents have different views about the commission and what it

is for. Residents have been calling for the commission to be abolished or reduced

while site owners have argued for it to be maintained. In 2002 research into the

economics of the industry, and other reviews and consultations since then, all

concluded that the commission rate should be maintained.

  1. To ensure ongoing discussions about the commission are based on facts and

accurate data, the Government commissioned research in 2021 to collect data

about the sector. This was to enable an assessment to be made of any impacts

on both residents and site owners of a change to the rate of commission.

  1. The final research report published in June 2022, concluded that there is a high

level of dissatisfaction with some site owners’ behaviour in managing parks. It also

highlighted the complex relationship between the mobility of residents and the

profitability of parks. To address those issues, the report made four

recommendations;

  1. To strengthen the professionalism of park operators;
  2. To consider whether a national enforcement body could ensure a more

consistent and higher quality of park operation;

  1. To explore and clarify the rationale of the commission; and that,
  2. There should be no reduction to the commission rate without financial support,

which should be independent of residents, for smaller parks in particular.

  1. The report’s recommendations have direct implications for residents, site owners

and local authorities. Before publishing the government’s response to the report,

we want to discuss those recommendations with and seek the views of those

directly affected.

  1. To have a structured and focussed discussion, the approach we are taking is for

the recommendations with the strongest links to be considered together. Part 1 of

this document therefore focusses on recommendations (a) and (b) as they are

about professionalising the sector and enforcement. Part 2 focusses on

recommendations (c) and (d) which both relate to the commission payment.

  1. In each part, we have briefly summarised the main issues and asked a series of

questions. Also attached are summaries of residents’ rights (Annex A) and local

authority licensing and enforcement powers (Annex B), as a reminder of what

already exists in legislation.

  1. Each stakeholder group can respond to all the questions or to as many as they

are able to. While the questions are included under the relevant topics in the

document, these have also been collated in the Response Form (Annex C) for you

to complete. We want you to discuss the issues with your members, collate all

their responses and send one combined return for your stakeholder group. The

deadline for responses to be submitted is 17 November 2023.

10.Later this year, we will organise a roundtable meeting for stakeholders to share

and discuss their responses. The final responses will then feed into the

Government’s response to the report.

PART 1: RECOMMENDATIONS ON PROFESSIONALISM AND

ENFORCEMENT

Section 1: Summary of residents’ concerns and the researchers’ recommendations

11.The experiences of living in park homes varied among residents. While some

were satisfied with the social and community aspects of living in a park home,

they expressed disenchantment that their financial obligations to the site owner,

such as the payment of pitch fees, failed to translate into improved site

conditions or amenities.

12.Residents’ dissatisfaction with the experience of living on a park home site was

often framed in relation to the relationships they held with site owners and park

managers and day-to-day maintenance of sites. Residents complained of poor

site maintenance, often with reference to the same large-scale park owner and

regular pitch fee increases were often unjustified given the lack of investment

into site amenities and management.

13.Many residents considered that their site was managed by a “rogue owner” and

many site owners were perceived to have poor visibility to and communication

with residents. Some residents who were previously satisfied with the

management and maintenance of their site, found things changed when the

ownership of the park changed hands. Recent experiences were causing

significant distress and leading them to reconsider their housing arrangements.

14.In summary, there was a high level of dissatisfaction among residents with some

site operators’ behaviour in managing parks. While recent legislative changes

were considered a positive step towards an appropriately regulated sector,

residents felt further improvements were needed to ensure that the sector

worked fairly for both operators and residents. The report recommended

strengthening the professionalism of park operators to help improve their

behaviour.

  1. Residents also had some concerns about the effectiveness of the current

enforcement regime. They felt that the enforcement of breaches of site licence

conditions by individual local authorities was not effective. The report

recommended that further consideration should be given to whether a national

enforcement body could ensure a more consistent and higher quality of park

operation.

  1. In addition to concerns raised during the research about the management of

parks, other concerns about bullying, harassment and intimidation by some site

owners are often raised directly with this Department. They include instances of

site owners speaking harshly to residents, threatening to claim costs against

residents if they exercise their rights at the tribunal and making written demands

for payment of monies not owed. Other concerns raised with this Department are

about the sale of homes on land with no planning permission.

17.These issues appear to be causing great concern among a growing number of

residents. Stakeholders may want to bear them in mind and consider them as

part of this discussion about rights and enforcement.

Section 2: Background to existing legislation

18.To give some context, we will briefly set out what the problems in the sector

have generally been since the 1960s and what legislation was initially introduced

to address them. This will be followed by a brief outline of reforms that have

since taken place to improve residents’ rights and local authorities’ enforcement

powers respectively.

Problems in the sector

19.Weak enforcement legislation – In 1960 the government introduced the Caravan

Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (1960 Act) to tackle the problem of

caravan sites being set up in the wrong places and with poor site conditions. The

1960 Act required a site to have planning permission (to determine the use of the

land) and a site licence (to ensure the site was maintained). The 1960 Act did

not provide local authorities with strong enforcement powers which meant they

were unable to carry out effective enforcement in most cases. This contributed to

the increase in unprofessional site owners in the sector. Where enforcement

action was taken, the fines imposed by the courts were so low that the site

owners preferred to pay the fine than carry out the required repairs to the site.

20.The Caravan Sites Act 1968 was later introduced to address increasing

problems around harassment and illegal eviction. The fines that could be

imposed by the Courts were however very low and did not act as much of a

deterrent to unprofessional site owners.

21.The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (1983 Act) gave residents a wide range of rights

and implied certain terms into every agreement between a site owner and

resident. It later became clear that the 1983 Act did not offer effective protection

for residents in certain aspects. Unprofessional site operators took unfair

advantage of this to financially exploit residents through practices such as

blocking sales and forcing residents to sell their home to the site owner for a

fraction of the price they could otherwise have achieved. There was also a lack

of transparency with how site rules were made which enabled some site owners

to impose rules which gave them an unfair financial advantage. The process for

reviewing pitch fees also lacked transparency which enabled some site owners

to include ineligible costs in the proposed new pitch fee.

22.Lack of advice for residents – The sector has increasingly been marketed by site

owners as idyllic, suitable for retirement purposes and that legal advice was not

required when buying a home. Most purchasers bought their homes without

seeking any form of advice to understand their rights and obligations. One

reason for not doing so was the lack of an independent organisation offering that

service. Some site owners also used bullying and threating behaviour and when

disputes arose, the cases could only be determined by the courts. With quite

significant court costs, being older and living in remote areas, most residents

understandably chose to have a quiet life and avoid any further confrontation

with the site owner.

Reforms

23.In 1998 the Government set up a Working Party to consider the operation of

existing controls and make recommendations on what changes, if any, were felt

to be desirable to achieve a fair and workable balance between the needs and

interests of park owners and home owners. The Working Party’s report ,

published in 2000, made several recommendations many of which were

accepted by the Government and started a series of major reforms to the sector.

24.These included the 2002 research into the economics of the industry and the

commission paid on the sale of a home; amendments to the implied terms in

2006; the transfer of dispute resolution from the courts to the tribunals in 2011;

the introduction of the Mobile Homes Act 2013; and giving the Leasehold

Advisory Service (LEASE) the additional role of providing residents with free

independent advice.

25.In 2017, a review of the effectiveness of the 2013 Act concluded that the

changes introduced in 2013 had been effective in bringing about improvements

in the sector. There was evidence however that some site owners were still

abusing and exploiting residents. In its response to the review, the Government

made further commitments to improve the rights of residents and give local

authorities additional powers. Most of those commitments, including carrying out

research in 2021 in relation to the 10% commission, have now been

implemented.

Section 3: Research Recommendations

Professionalism of park operators

26.During the 2021 research, residents raised concerns about some site owners.

While recent legislative changes were considered a positive step towards an

appropriately regulated sector, many residents felt further improvements were

needed to ensure that the sector worked fairly for both operators and residents.

The report recommended strengthening the professionalism of park operators to

help improve their behaviour.

27.Professionalising the sector could have a variety of meanings but for the

purposes of this discussion, we will consider it to broadly encompass ‘all site

owners understanding their obligations, carrying them out to an expected

standard and which results in minimal enforcement by local authorities and

improved relationships with residents’. We have focussed on four different ways

in which this could be achieved.

28.First, if residents know and understand their rights, they can challenge site

owners effectively when issues arise. Without being challenged, some site

owners may continue with their unprofessional behaviour which then becomes

the norm.

Questions:

Q1. To what extent are residents aware of their rights and obligations?

Q2. Are there any barriers to accessing advice about their rights from all

the existing advisory services for residents or understanding those

rights? Please provide a reason(s) for your answer.

Q3. If there are any barriers, what could be done to improve access and

understanding of those rights?

29.Second, through more residents asserting their rights through the First Tier

Tribunal. Determinations made by a tribunal will clarify the legal requirements

and help site owners understand their obligations and what is required of them.

Determinations could also act as a deterrent to other site owners.

Questions:

Q4. What barriers do residents face in asserting their rights through the

tribunals?

Q5. How could these be addressed and by whom?

30.Third, through learning and development opportunities for site owners and their

organisation. Professional site owners will do this in a variety of ways including

through membership of a trade or a professional body and by undertaking

regular training or courses as part of their work.

Questions:

Q6. Should unprofessional site owners be encouraged to take

responsibility for their own learning and development or mandated to

do so? Please give reasons for your answer.

Q7. For the option you have chosen, how could it be implemented and

monitored effectively?

Q8. Are there existing learning and development opportunities available

to all site owners? If yes, please give examples. If no, how could those

opportunities be made available to those currently exempted?

31.Fourth, through more robust local authority enforcement. Enforcement allows the

local authority to set out what is required and give a site owner the opportunity to

comply. In some cases, it will be necessary for either party to seek a

determination from the tribunal. If used consistently and effectively, both

methods could act as a deterrent to other site owners and also assist other local

authorities in their enforcement.

Questions:

Q9. Do local authorities routinely share good practice with other

authorities either directly or seek primary authority advice?

Q10. If yes, please provide an example(s). What benefits have authorities or

other stakeholders derived from this practice?

Q11. If no, what do you think are the barriers to doing so?

Q12. Do you have any additional suggestions on how the sector could be

further professionalised? Please provide reasons for your answer.

A national body

  1. Residents also raised concerns during the research about the effectiveness of

the current local authority site licensing enforcement regime. Many felt that the

enforcement of breaches of site licence conditions by individual local authorities

was not effective. The report recommended that further consideration should be

given to whether a national enforcement body could ensure a more consistent

and higher quality of park operation.

33.The 1960 Act introduced the existing local authority site licensing system. It

gives local authorities the power to first licence sites in their area and second to

take enforcement action where necessary. A summary of local authority

licensing and enforcement powers is at Annex B.

34.The way the existing site licensing system operates mirrors that in place for other

local authority functions such as housing, planning and environmental health.

For all those functions, the local authority’s role and powers are set out in

legislation which also provides them with the necessary enforcement tools.

Those roles and powers are then applied to each local authority’s area as

necessary.

Questions:

Q13. What role, if any, do you think a national body could play to improve

local authority site licensing and enforcement?

Q14. What challenges and opportunities do you foresee from a change to

the current system?

  1. Residents sometimes say that they do not receive any assistance when they

approach their local authority for site licensing services. Some of the reasons

that we know have been given for local authorities not being able to assist

residents include a lack of staff resources or the site licensing team having

responsibilities for other functions such as private rented sector housing. While

these are important reasons that should be addressed, they are outside the

scope of these discussions. This is because how local authorities structure their

departments and allocate resources to carry out their statutory duties is a matter

for each authority. What we want to focus on in this discussion is how residents

can seek redress where a local authority does not carry out its duties or meet

expected standards.

Questions:

Q15. Do you know what a local authority’s site licensing role is and if so,

what would you say it is? If no, what do you think or suggest their role

should be?

Q16. Have you ever been dissatisfied with the service you received from

your local authority’s site licensing team and if so on what aspect(s)

of their role?

Q17. If you have been dissatisfied with a service you received from your

local authority, did you raise your concerns with the local authority

and if so, how, and what was the outcome?

Q18. Should local authorities engage more with their service users and if

so how and what about? If no, why not?

Q19. Do you have any examples of good practice by your local authority

site licensing team? If so, please provide an example(s).

Other considerations

  1. Residents, site owners and local authorities continue to play important roles to

bring much needed change to the sector. In carrying out those roles, each will

have their own objectives and ways of working. While it is right for them to do so,

any differences could result in those groups working against instead of with each

other to help professionalise the sector.

Questions:

Q20. Are there ways in which stakeholders could work together to develop

and share good practice which would benefit their members equally

and the sector as a whole?

PART 2: RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE RATIONALE AND

PAYMENT OF COMMISSION

Section 5 – Summary of the recommendations

37.The issue of commission has been discussed for decades. There have also

been reviews in that time which considered what the commission was for and

whether it should continue to be paid. From the 2021 research, it is clear that

residents and site owners continue to have different views about the

commission.

38.Briefly, many residents perceive that the charging of a 10% commission is

inequitable to their interests. The commission rate appears to be arbitrary,

and the payment is unfair because operators do not provide any service for

this source of income. If the commission rate is changed, there should be no

increases in pitch fees to compensate for any loss of revenue to operators.

39.Park owners on the other hand tend to see the commission as a vital part of

their income. A substantial reduction in the commission rate would reduce

total income, without actually reducing expenditure, thus threatening the

financial viability of parks. The commission allows them to reinvest in the

parks and maintain higher standards without additional costs for homeowners.

Improving standards in the sector should therefore not include steps to make

park businesses unprofitable.

40.We do not intend to revisit those views and arguments during these

discussions. The purpose of this discussion document is to consider the

report’s recommendations and agree a way forward that will work for all those

involved.

41.To recap, the report recommended that;

  • Work is needed to explore the rationale of the commission and to clarify

this rationale for park owners and home owners. The current lack of a

shared understanding in the purpose of the maximum commission leads to

highly subjective arguments about the commission’s role and impact. A

change to the commission would therefore currently be predicated upon the

impacts of the commission rather than the commission’s justified role in the

park home sector.

  • No reduction to the maximum commission on park home re-sales without

financial support for smaller parks. Whilst a reduction in the maximum

commission would support residents’ mobility, it would need to be

significant to effect a major change (i.e. a maximum commission of 5 per

cent or less). Such a reduction in the commission would result in an

increase in the proportion of parks that make a loss in any year; this will

disproportionally have a negative impact on smaller parks. As the majority

of park home owners do not intend to move, it is not in their interest to

increase regular costs (such as pitch fees) in order to compensate park

owners for a reduction in the commission. As such, a reduction in the

commission remains desirable for park home owners, but only if park

owners (in particular smaller site owners) are supported financially through

mechanisms independent of the home owner to retain the viability of parks.

Section 6 – Rationale of the sales commission

42.In considering the commission payment, previous reviews placed more

emphasis on how the level of site owners’ income could be maintained. While

this is an important consideration, our view is that a more important question to

understand is what the commission is for. We agree with the 2022 report that

without clarity on what the commission is for, a change to the commission rate

would currently be predicated upon the impacts of the commission rather than

the commission’s justified role in the park home sector.

  1. The rate of the commission was about 20% in the 1960s until it was reduced to

15% by the Mobile Homes Act 1975. It is unclear what the precise reasoning

was behind the original decision to introduce a 15% cap. The rate was later

reduced to 10% by the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Some of the reasons that have

been put forward over the years to justify what the payment of commission

represents are that;

  • The value of the home sold is an amalgam of the value of the park home and

the value of the site on which it is placed. Without the pitch/site location, the

park home in isolation would be valued at a lower price for re-sale.

  • The commission payment is payable on the sale of the home, and therefore

site owners are able to offer lower on-going pitch fees to residents, with a

one-off payment being made to match an inflow of income for those

residents at the point of sale. This particularly suits older residents who are

often on a fixed low income on an ongoing basis.

  • A compensation payment to the park owner for the continued loss of the use

of the land on which the home sits. In other words, it is the price for security

of tenure given to the park home resident.

44.From table 5.1 in the report, 98% of site operators are a type of business entity.

In our view it is fair to assume that their reasonable aim is to make a profit. When

a site owner therefore decides to go into the business of operating a park home

site, it could further be assumed that they would be fully aware they would be

giving up the use of their land and would take this into account when setting the

price of the pitch or the home they are offering, to make a profit. Also, the pricing

model that most businesses generally adopt would be to set a price for the good

or service they are offering and if a customer then wished to pay for other

additional services, they would make that decision and pay for them either

separately or in addition to the price. The additional services they will have a

choice to pay for, would normally be made clear to them before or after they

have purchased the good or service.

  1. As a hypothetical example, when a site owner first sets up a site they would sell

mobile homes to the purchasers at a one off price but then charge all residents

an additional monthly fee (which could be increased each year) for the ongoing

repair and maintenance of the pitch, common parts and for utilities (may or may

not be included in the pitch fee). If a resident at a later date, wanted the site

owner to provide them only with an additional service for example another

garage in addition to the one every resident was allocated as part of the initial

price, they would negotiate a separate price with the site owner for that extra

garage.

Questions:

Q21. What in your view is the rationale for charging a commission? Please

provide your reason(s) for your response.

Q22. If, in your view, there is a clear rationale(s) for the commission, how

would you define it in a short sentence or paragraph that could be

acceptable to others?

Section 7 –The commission rate

46.The question of what the commission payment is for, will determine whether it is

justified and if so, what the appropriate commission rate should be. In other

words, if there is no justification for the commission then the logical conclusion

would be to abolish it. If it is justified, then the question would be whether the

existing rate is appropriate. For this part of the discussion, we will assume that

the commission payment is justified in order to explore the recommendations

about supporting park owners financially to retain the viability of parks.

Financial incentives

47.If commission is justified and the current maximum rate is determined to be right,

there will be no need to discuss financial incentives for site owners. If the

commission rate was to however change, it would imply that site owners will see

a reduction in their income. The research report concluded that ‘a reduction in

the commission remains desirable for park home owners, but only if park owners

(in particular smaller site owners) are supported financially through mechanisms

independent of the home owner to retain the viability of parks’.

Questions:

Q23. The report does not specify what financial assistance should be

provided if the commission was to be reduced. What form do you

think these could take and how would they be implemented?

Q24. How would you define a ‘small park’?

Q25. Should the financial support be given only to those ‘small parks’ or

also to other park types and if so which other types? Please give

reasons for your answers.

Changing the commission rate – options

48.Previous reviews considered a number of options in the event that changes had

to be made to the commission rate. Some of these were;

  • Including commission payments in the initial purchase price – for new

agreements, one option would be for the commission payment to be

‘incorporated’ into the cost of the purchase of a new or existing park home.

This could, therefore, allow a new resident to have the choice of paying the

market price of the home and then agreeing to pay a commission upon sale or

of paying a commuted amount at the time of purchase and avoiding a future

commission payment.

  • Sliding Rate – the commission rate could be linked to the length of time the

resident had spent on their respective park.

  • Altered base – the commission rate would be applied to other bases other

than the sales price of the park home, but again maintaining the same total

revenue for the park operator. Those bases could include the land component

reflected in the value of the home, the increase in the value of the land

component, or the calculation on the value of the home excluding the fixture

and fittings and improvements made by the resident.

49.The Government considered these options but rejected them ahead of its 2007

consultation on the commission rate. In developing the consultation paper, the

Government consulted with residents and trade bodies on its reasons for

rejecting those options and the alternative options it intended to consult on.

Questions:

Q26. Do you agree that including commission in the initial purchase price,

a sliding rate or an altered base should still be rejected as options? If

not, why?

Pitch fee increase

50.Other options that have been discussed or put forward previously is for pitch

fees to increase if changes are made to the commission rate, in order to

compensate park owners for a reduction in the commission.

51.The 2022 report however recommends that site owners should be assisted

‘through mechanisms independent of the home owner ‘. If so, any increases in

pitch fees to compensate site owners would be excluded as an option.

Questions:

Q27. Apart from increasing pitch fees or receiving financial incentives

(paragraph 47), are there other ways site owners could generate

additional revenues within the existing framework, to enable them to

maintain and improve parks? If yes, what are they? If no, why not?

Q28. If any loss of income resulting from a change in the rate of

commission payable was relatively small in comparison to total

income over a period of time, should the industry be able to

accommodate such an outcome without seeking compensation?

Please give reasons for your answer.

Other considerations

52.As mentioned in para 46, this part of the discussion assumes that the

commission payment is justified. The debate around the payment of commission

has been going on for decades and all sides have during that time maintained

the same views/positions. It is possible that the debates could go on for much

longer or in order to find a resolution, one side may have to accept a decision

they have previously argued against.

Questions:

Q29. Is there a compromise position around the rate or indeed the amount

of commission paid, that you would accept and if so, what would that

be? If no, please provide your reason(s).

53.If changes to the commission result in a fall in site owners’ incomes, they may

not be able to adequately maintain their sites. This could have an impact on

residents’ health and wellbeing and lead to increased complaints to the local

authority and increased enforcement action. The site owner may however be

unable to comply with compliance notices issued if they still did not have the

resources to do so.

Questions:

Q30. In those circumstances and taking into account any answers you

have given in Section One, what further action(s) if any, could the

parties involved take to resolve any ongoing site maintenance and

repair issues?

  1. An existing resident’s pitch agreement reflects what they were willing to pay to

site the home on the pitch together with future pitch fee payments and a

maximum 10% commission. As the price was determined without coercion, it

follows that the removal or reduction of the commission rate would be a

retrospective change that will disadvantage the site operator.

Questions:

Q31. Is there any justification for applying any change to the commission

payment to existing agreements? If so, what are your reasons?

Annex A – Summary of residents’ rights

The written statement

  • A site owner must give a resident a written statement which sets out the terms implied by

law (‘implied terms’) and any other terms agreed between the resident and the site

owner (’express terms’).

  • The written statement must be given to the buyer 28 days before they sign the

agreement unless they agree otherwise. If the written statement is not given the resident

can apply to the First Tier tribunal for an order making the site owner to do so. The site

owner cannot enforce any express terms in the agreement (including charging the pitch

fee) until the resident has had the written statement.

  • If a purchaser buys a second-hand home from a resident, the seller is required to

provide the documents set out in the Buyers Information form (including the agreement

and written statement) at least 28 days before the completion of the sale and

assignment of the agreement. This is to allow the purchaser time to read and

understand the agreement they are entering into. The site owner cannot give the

purchaser a new agreement or make any changes to the express terms such as

increasing the pitch fee.

Security of tenure and length of the agreement

  • A site owner cannot give a resident a time-limited agreement unless the site owner has

a limited interest in the land (for example, a short-term lease) or unless the planning

permission to use the site for stationing homes is for a limited period.

  • A resident’s agreement will be time limited if the site owner’s interest in the land is

limited. If the site owner’s interest in the land is limited but is later extended or made

indefinite, the resident’s agreement must be extended in the same way.

Ending the agreement

  • A resident may end their agreement at any time, by giving the site owner at least 28

days’ notice in writing. A site owner can only bring an agreement to an end if they get

permission from a county court and only if the resident has broken the terms of the

agreement; is not living in the home as their main home or the condition of the home is

having a detrimental effect on the amenity of the site.

Eviction and harassment

  • A resident cannot be evicted from their home or their home removed from the site by the

site owner, without an order from the court. It is a criminal offence for anyone to evict a

resident or remove their home without a court order or to try to make a resident leave by

threats, violence, withholding services (such as water, gas or electricity) or any other

sort of harassment.

  • It is an offence for the site owner to knowingly or recklessly provide a resident with false

or misleading information if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that doing

so is likely to make the resident leave the site or refrain from exercising your rights.

Resident’s general responsibilities under the implied terms

  • A resident must pay their pitch fee and any other charges due under the agreement;

keep their home in a good state of repair; and keep the outside of their home and the

pitch in a clean and tidy condition. Residents also have a right to quiet enjoyment of

their home.

Site owner’s general responsibilities

  • The site owner must repair the base for the home when necessary; maintain any

services which they supply to a home and pitch; and maintain, in a clean and tidy

condition, parts of the site which are not the resident’s responsibility.

  • The site owner must give a resident and any qualifying residents’ association their name

and address. If they do not give this information, a resident can refuse to pay the pitch

fee until they do so. Any demand for a resident to pay the pitch fee (or any other

charges) must also include an address in England or Wales. If not, the resident does not

have to make the payment until they are given the address.

Site owner’s duty to consult about certain matters

  • A site owner must consult a resident and any qualifying residents’ association on

improvements to the site, particularly if the improvements will affect the pitch fee.

Moving a mobile home

  • A site owner can move a resident’s home for essential repairs to the base on which the

home is placed or for emergency work or repairs following a flood, landslide or other

natural disaster. The site owner must return the home to its original pitch when the

repairs are finished. If they don’t, the resident can apply to the tribunal for an order

making them return the home to its original pitch.

  • If a site owner wants to move a home for any other reason (whether temporarily or

permanently), they can only do so with authorisation from a tribunal. In all cases, the

new pitch must be broadly similar to the current pitch and the site owner will have to pay

any costs and expenses that the resident has to pay in connection with the move to and

from the pitch.

Site owner’s right to enter a pitch

  • The site owner (or their employees or agent) may enter a resident’s pitch without notice

between 9am and 6pm to deliver post or other written communications or to read meters

for which they are responsible.

  • The site owner (or their employees and agents) may also enter a resident’s pitch to

carry out essential repairs or emergency work. Before doing so, they must give the

resident as much notice as reasonably possible in the circumstances. For any other

reason, they must give the resident at least 14 days’ notice in writing. A site owner has

no right to enter a resident’s home unless the resident invites them.

Selling a home

  • A resident has a right to sell their home with the benefit of the pitch. A resident can also

give their home and pass on the agreement (gifting), to a member of their family.

Pitch fee reviews

  • The site owner can review the pitch fee from time to time. They must follow the statutory

procedure including the use of a statutory form otherwise the pitch fee review will be

invalid. If a resident is unwilling to agree to a proposed increase, the site owner cannot

unilaterally impose the increase. The site owner must apply to the First Tier Tribunal to

seek a determination (a resident can also make an application but they don’t have to).

  • Where a pitch fee review is invalid but residents are made to pay the proposed increase,

the resident can apply to the tribunal and if it is determined that the review is invalid, the

tribunal may order the site owner to pay back the overpayment.

Site rules

  • Site rules can only be made, varied or deleted if the site owner follows a specific

procedure which includes depositing the rules with the local authority. The site rules

then become part of the express terms of the agreement. Certain site rules such as

those preventing residents from selling or gifting their home to anyone but the site

owner, those requiring residents to use tradespeople appointed by the site owner or only

purchase goods and services supplied by them, are banned and cannot be enforced.

Gas, electricity and water resale

  • For gas and electricity, the maximum amount a site owner can charge a resident (the

Maximum Resale Price) is the amount the site owner paid for the energy, plus VAT at

the appropriate rate. The site owner can recover the supplier’s standing charge.

  • Anyone reselling water or sewerage services should charge no more than the amount

they are charged by the water company plus a reasonable administration fee.

Maintenance costs for water or sewerage pipe work are not included in the resale price.

These costs are usually recovered through the pitch fee or by separate agreement.

Annex B – Summary of local authority site licensing powers

  • All caravan sites unless exempted, require the appropriate planning permission.
  • A site licence will be granted to the site owner once planning permission has been

granted. The purpose of licensing is to ensure the site and amenities are safe and

healthy for residents and other users of the site.

Site licence applications

  • Local authorities have discretion as to whether or not to grant or approve a transfer of a

licence. They have a duty to exercise the discretion and cannot grant or approve a

transfer without making relevant enquiries into the proposed licence holder’s suitability

to hold the licence. It must also take into account the conduct of the existing licence

holder (if any) when making its decision.

  • If the local authority decides to approve the transfer or grant the licence it may do so

subject to undertakings, given by either the existing or proposed licence holder.

Although the local authority can ask for undertakings to be given and must consider any

offered, it is not bound to accept any undertaking.

  • Local authorities can refuse an application to grant a new licence or transfer an existing

licence if the proposal would reduce the amenity of the site, its access or the quality of

any site services. It can also refuse to grant an application, if doing so would mean the

local authority was unable to ensure the site as a whole is adequately maintained or

managed, through the licence or otherwise.

Site licensing conditions

  • Local authorities can attach conditions to a site licence in respect of the amenities on

the site. Site licence conditions can govern matters such as the permitted number of

caravans on the site, provision of roads, utilities, sewerage, fire equipment and spacing

distances between homes.

  • Local authorities cannot enforce (or impose) site licence conditions in respect of the

fabric of the mobile home itself.

  • A local authority has the power to change licence conditions at any time. The local

authority does not require the “agreement” of a site operator to change the conditions

but the local authority must consult on the proposed changes.

  • If a site owner fails to comply with a site licence condition, the local authority can serve a

compliance notice on the site owner listing the steps that need to be taken, within a

specified time period, to comply with the requirements of the site licence.

  • If the site owner fails to comply within the period specified in the notice, the local

authority can prosecute them and if convicted they will face an unlimited fine. The local

authority may then enter the site and do the necessary works.

  • The authority will be able to recover all its enforcement costs including court costs (and

charge interest on the expenses claimed) from the site owner.

  • Authorities have a suite of powers to recover their costs and expenses, including

through a local land charge and if the debt is extensive and remains unpaid by forcing

the sale of the site.

  • Local authorities can charge site owners an annual fee for administering and monitoring

licences. They can also charge fees for considering applications for the grant or transfer

of a licence.

  • They can charge fees for the monitoring and administration of existing site licences

through levying an annual fee.

Fines

  • Not complying with a compliance notice is subject to a level 5 fine (unlimited)
  • Operating a site without a licence now attracts a level 5 fine.
  • Obstructing an officer attracts a level 4 maximum fine of £5000.
  • Directors, secretaries and other relevant officers of a company which is found guilty of a

licence offence will be liable to be punished as well as the company, if it is convicted.

Fit and proper person test

  • In addition to granting a site licence, local authorities must be satisfied that the owner or

manager of a site is a fit and proper person to manage the site.

  • In assessing an application, a local authority must consider a number of matters

including whether the person has a sufficient level of competence to manage the site

and the management structure and funding arrangements for the site.

  • The local authority may have regard to the conduct of any person associated or formerly

associated with the relevant person (whether on a personal, work or other basis) if it

appears to the authority that that person’s conduct is relevant to the question of whether

the relevant person is a fit and proper person to manage the site or proposed site.

  • The local authority can decide whether to place the relevant person on the register with

or without conditions, or not to place them on the register.

  • Where a relevant person fails an assessment and the site owner is unable to identify

and appoint a suitable alternative manager who must also undergo the fit and proper

assessment, the local authority could appoint a person to manage the site, with the

consent of the site owner.

  • It is an offence for a site owner to:

(a) cause or permit land to be operated as a relevant protected site unless they or the

person appointed to manage the site is a fit and proper person to manage the site

(b) provide false or misleading information or fail to provide information in an

application; or

(c) fail to comply with a requirement set as a condition of the local authority’s decision

to include a person on the register.

  • If convicted for any of these offences, the site owner will face a potentially unlimited fine.

Harassment

  • Local authorities have powers to prosecute for offences under Section 3 of the Caravan

Sites Act 1968. Under that section it is a criminal offence for site owners (or persons

acting on their behalf) to evict, attempt to evict or through harassment cause the

resident to give up their mobile home (without a court order), or prevent them from

exercising a lawful right (for example to sell their home) or seeking a remedy.

  • Harassment includes interfering with their peace and comfort or by withdrawing services

or facilities.

  • The maximum penalty for a first offence is an unlimited fine. For the second or

subsequent offence the penalty is an unlimited fine or imprisonment not exceeding 6

months.

17th November 2023.

Membership Renewal

Membership Fee Receipts

We have almost 100 Members with the similar surnames,

SMITH     BROWN     JONES    WILLIAMS

However, some people with these AND OTHER names do not help the Membership Team as they do not use the reference given when making payments.

If we cannot identify you your membership could be terminated.

Who are the people shown on our bank statement as

Mr A XXXXXXX who paid £6.00 as an annual membership (No reference)

MR B XYXYXY  no reference at all

Ms C ABCDEF  Grandmas Insurance no reference

Miss D QWERTY-GLOS

MR AB   CDEFG  Fees

If you are one of the above, please call us and we can then identify you and update your records?. You each have a Membership number when we speak to you we can help find the relevant numbers. If you pay by Standing Order your reference will be IND-the abbreviation for your County and 3 numbers  (IND-LOND123 for example).

 If you have paid and have not received a membership certificate these people could include you.  Please contact us on 0800 612 6273 to sort things out.

22nd September 2023.

GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS

GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS OF RELEVANCE TO PARK HOMES

DEAR FELLOW MEMBERS,

This week, the Department for Energy and Net Zero (DESNZ), published a call for evidence from domestic consumers with non-domestic energy supply contracts.

The call for evidence aims to increase their understanding of domestic consumers who receive their energy via a non-domestic contract (usually the park owner), the reasons for those arrangements, and what prices they face.

Please see the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/domestic-consumers-with-non-domestic-energy-supply-contracts-call-for-evidence

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1173132/domestic-consumers-on-non-domestic-energy-contracts-call-for-evidence.pdf

Members will be aware that IPHAS raised this subject with the then Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the non-ministerial Government energy regulator Ofgem during a virtual meeting arranged for the purpose on 8TH November 2023.

This call for evidence is your opportunity to submit a written summary of your personal experience or concerns arising from purchasing your energy from your park owner.

Whilst the purpose of this call for evidence is NOT A REVIEW about the delivery of the Governments energy support grants.

However if your application for either or both the EBSS – AF and AFP – AF payments was rejected, as a domestic consumer with a non-domestic energy supplier, that may well have been of significance in that rejection.

IPHAS consider this to be highly relevant to the DESNZ evidence gathering as currently, you are disadvantaged as an energy consumer.

Kind regards and best wishes,

IAN R PYE CHAIR

The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (2021) Ltd.

26th July 2023.

NEW PITCH FEE

A NEW PITCH FEE REVIEW FORM (SI 2023/620) SHOWING CPI IN SECTION 4(B) MUST BE USED FOR ALL PITCH FEE REVIEWS STARTING 2 JULY 2023. IF YOUR PFR DATE IS 1 JULY 2023, THE OLD FORM (SI 2013/1505) SHOWING RPI IS VALID. CHECK YOURS!

Use  the link below to obtain the review form.

Pitch_fee_review_form-print_version

PLEASE NOTE : The team members of IPHAS offer information about residents’ rights under the Mobile Home Legislation. The advice and recommendations given in our letters and publications are for consideration only and it is for the resident to make his/her own decision on action to be taken using the information given. The IPHAS team members are not lawyers but volunteers who have made a study of the relevant legislation. The advice is offered in good faith but IPHAS cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any action taken by a resident whether or not it was based on the information given.

4th July 2023.

Cooker Safety in Caravan based units

The UK’s product regulator has served Suspension Notices on eight businesses to stop the supply of certain models of gas hobs. This is a result of an ongoing investigation by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) following a series of gas safety incidents, including an explosion at a caravan park in April this year, where a person suffered serious burns.

OPSS is investigating the elbow joints on specific gas hobs supplied by these businesses that have the potential to cause a gas leak. OPSS is also seeking assurance from those businesses of the actions they are taking to inform consumers and address the risks from any affected hobs they have already supplied.

The companies who have received notices are: Kingfisher International Products Ltd, Buy It Direct Ltd, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, Apelson Appliances UK Ltd, Lancaster Holdings Ltd, Maurice Lay Distributors Ltd, The Wright Buy Ltd, and Product Care Trading Ltd.

The affected models are listed on the OPSS Product Recalls and Alerts pages.

Read the Product Safety Reports:

Anyone who smells gas should contact the National Gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999 in England, Wales and Scotland, and 0800 002 001 in Northern Ireland.

EBSS Announcement

EBSS Announcement


As per our previous communication on 30 May, the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) had a limited extension for corporate appointees with business bank accounts applying on behalf of eligible applicants, until 16 June.

Eligible corporate appointees have been able to make an application calling our contact centre helpline on 0808 175 3287. The contact centre helpline will not accept any new applications from corporate appointees using business bank accounts after 6pm on 16 June.

The contact centre helplines for the EBSS AF will remain open to assist applicants who still have applications being processed or who need assistance with a cancelled or rejected application.

Local authorities will continue to process applications after the scheme has closed to new applications and we expect final payments to all eligible applicants to be completed in the summer.

Any review cases that have been raised by an applicant will also continue to be processed after the schemes closes to new applications. Any application that has been incorrectly rejected will be reconsidered by local authorities who will process the claim and, if the application is deemed eligible, will deliver the support into their bank account.

If you have any queries regarding the closure of the EBSS AF, please contact energy.bills.rebate@beis.gov.uk.

Thank you for your continued support throughout the duration of the EBSS AF and the AFP AF.

Kind Regards

The EBSS AF

17th June 2023

EBSS-AF and AFP-AF Schemes

THE EBSS-AF AND AFP-AF ENERGY RELIEF SCHEMES CLOSED ON THE 31st MAY 2023. FROM THAT DATE THE CONTACT CENTRE HELPLINES WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY NEW APPLICATIONS FOR EITHER SCHEME.


However, applications from corporate appointees using business bank accounts can still apply for the EBSS AF until 16 June, by calling the EBSS AF contact centre helpline on 0808 175 3287. This is the only way for corporate appointees using business bank accounts to apply for the scheme after 31 May.


The contact centre helplines for both schemes will remain open to assist applicants who still have applications being processed or who need assistance with a cancelled or rejected application.

Local authorities will continue to process applications after the schemes have closed to new applications and we expect final payments to all eligible applicants to be completed in the summer.

Any review cases that have been raised by an applicant will also continue to be processed after the schemes close to new applications. Any application that has been incorrectly rejected will be reconsidered by local authorities who will process the claim and, if the application is deemed eligible, will deliver the support into their bank account.

If you have any queries regarding the closure of the EBSS AF, please contact energy.bills.rebate@beis.gov.uk.

If you have any queries regarding the closure of the AFP AF, please contact: Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment domesticAFP@beis.gov.uk

8TH June 2023

Alternative Fuel Payment

IF YOU ARE YET TO REGISTER A SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION FOR THE £200 ALTERNATIVE FUEL PAYMENT GRANT, PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING LINK TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN MAKE OR PROGRESS YOUR APPLICATIONS – THE SCHEME CLOSES ON THE 31st MAY 2023

TELEPHONE 0808 175 3443

https://www.gov.uk/apply-alternative-fuel-bill-support-if-not-automatic

 

Dear all,

As you are aware the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) launched on 27 February, allowing eligible households who do not have a domestic electricity supply to apply for their £400 support.

The Alternative Fuel Payment Alternative Fund (AFP AF) launched on 6 March, allowing eligible households who use alternative fuels to apply for the £200 support, where this has not already been received directly through their electricity supplier.

Both schemes are closing for new applications on Wednesday 31 May. The application portals will close at 11:59pm 31 May and after 6pm 31 May the contact centre helplines will not accept any new applications for both schemes.

However, applications from corporate appointees using business bank accounts can still apply for the EBSS AF until 16 June, by calling the EBSS AF contact centre helpline on 0808 175 3287. This is the only way for corporate appointees using business bank accounts to apply for the scheme after 31 May.

We are aware that corporate appointees who have attempted to apply for the EBSS AF on behalf of eligible applicants, using a business bank account, have been unable to do so until now as business bank accounts were not accepted. Officials have now resolved this matter, and corporate appointees are now able to apply for the scheme on behalf of eligible individuals via the contact centre helpline.

This limited extension period has therefore been agreed for corporate appointees using business bank accounts as they have been unable to apply throughout the duration of the scheme to date, and so an additional 2 weeks have been provided so that eligible applicants with corporate appointees using business bank accounts are able to apply for their support.

The AFP AF scheme will close on 31 May with no extension period provided. As the use of corporate appointees with business bank accounts is a matter which primarily relates to those in residential care, the AFP AF does not require any extension period as these individuals are not eligible for the AFP AF scheme.

The contact centre helplines for both schemes will remain open to assist applicants who still have applications being processed or who need assistance with a cancelled or rejected application.

Local authorities will continue to process applications after the schemes have closed to new applications and we expect final payments to all eligible applicants to be completed in the summer.

Any review cases that have been raised by an applicant will also continue to be processed after the schemes close to new applications. Any application that has been incorrectly rejected will be reconsidered by local authorities who will process the claim and, if the application is deemed eligible, will deliver the support into their bank account.

If you have any queries regarding the closure of the EBSS AF, please contact energy.bills.rebate@beis.gov.uk.

If you have any queries regarding the closure of the AFP AF, please contact: Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment domesticAFP@beis.gov.uk

Thank you for your continued support throughout the duration of the EBSS AF and the AFP AF.

Kind Regards

The EBSS AF and AFP AF Teams

FURTHER INFORMATION

 NB: For those who have already applied but have had their applications rejected the helplines will REMAIN open to assist them. Also, any review cases that have been raised by an applicant will also continue to be processed after the schemes close to new applications.

 If you are affected by any of these circumstances, please the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero using the relevant email address below.

  If anyone has any queries regarding the closure of the EBSS AF, they should contact energy.bills.rebate@beis.gov.uk.

 If anyone has any queries regarding the closure of the AFP AF, they should contact domesticAFP@beis.gov.uk

 31st May 2023.

RPI change to CPI

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
3rd Floor (NE) Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
www.gov.uk/dluhc

Date: 17 May 2023

Dear park home resident,

The Government committed to introduce legislation to change the inflationary index used in pitch fee reviews from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI).

I am writing to inform you that the change will be introduced by the Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees) Act 2023, when it comes into force on 2 July 2023.

 What this means for you as a park home resident is that on and from 2 July 2023;

  • the inflationary index to be used by site owners in all pitch fee reviews will be the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • Residents should check the pitch fee review form to ensure that CPI has been used in the calculation of the proposed pitch fee.
  • If a site owner uses RPI in the calculation of the pitch fee from that day, the pitch fee review will be invalid and the resident does not have to pay the proposed increase. They must however continue to pay the old fee until the First Tier Tribunal makes a determination.
  • A site owner cannot also pass on to residents through the pitch fee, any amount to compensate them for any financial loss arising from the change.

 What happens next

  • Pitch fee reviews will continue as normal. This means that in any review which is started between now and 2 July 2023, the site owner can use RPI in the calculation of the proposed pitch fee.
  • Regulations will shortly be made to change all references in the current pitch fee review form, from RPI to CPI. The consolidated implied terms will also be updated to reflect those changes. The revised pitch fee review form and the consolidated implied terms will be published on GOV.UK website on 2 July 2023.

Attached to this letter are questions and answers regarding the changes which I hope you will find helpful. If you require further advice on the proposed changes or your rights, you can contact LEASE, the free independent service on telephone 020 7832 2525 or through their website at https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/.

Yours sincerely

William Tandoh

Park Homes Policy Team

 

Q & As – Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees) Act 2013

Q: What changes will the Act introduce?

  • The Act will:
  • change the inflationary index used in pitch fee reviews from the RPI to CPI;
  • prevent the difference between RPI and CPI from being passed on to residents

Q: When will the changes come into effect?

  • The Act will come into force on 2 July 2023. On or after that date, CPI must be used in all pitch fee reviews.

 Q: Will site owners be permitted to pass on any loss of income as a result of the changes, to residents through the pitch fee?

  • Site owners cannot pass on any loss of income as a result of the changes, to residents.

Q: How can residents be sure the site owner has not passed on any lost income through the pitch fee?

  • To conduct a pitch fee review, a site owner is required to use a pitch fee review form which must show how the pitch fee has been calculated.
  • Before agreeing to the proposed pitch fee, residents should check the form carefully and read the notes attached to the form, to ensure that only matters that can be taken into account in a pitch fee review have been used in the calculation.

Q: What should I do if such an amount has been included in the calculation of the pitch fee?

  • If an amount representing a loss of income to the site owner as a result of the changes is included in the calculation, the resident does not have to pay it. The resident must however continue to pay the old pitch fee.
  • The site owner can then apply to the First Tier Tribunal to seek its determination of the pitch fee.
  • If the First-tier Tribunal determines that a site owner has included an amount in the pitch fee to compensate them for the financial loss arising from the RPI/CPI change, it will deem the amount to be unreasonable and remove the relevant amount from the pitch fee.

Q: If a pitch fee review notice is issued before the Act comes into force, will the site owner have to issue another notice to take account of the change?

  • No, the site owner will not have to issue another pitch fee review notice if they issue one before the Act comes into force.
  • Pitch fee reviews which started before 2 July, will use RPI in the calculation of the proposed pitch fee. At the next pitch fee review, the site owner will have to use CPI.

 Q: When must a site owner start using CPI in a pitch fee review?

  • If a pitch fee review notice is issued before 2 July, the site owner will calculate the proposed pitch fee using RPI.
  • If the pitch fee review notice is issued on or after 2 July 2023, the site owner must use CPI to calculate the proposed pitch fee.
  • They must also use the updated pitch fee review form which refers to CPI instead of RPI. The form will be published on GOV.UK on 2 July 2023.
  • If a site owner uses the old form, the pitch fee review will be invalid and the resident does not have to pay the proposed pitch fee.

Q: What changes will be made to the pitch fee review form?

  • First, all references to RPI in the form will change to CPI. 
  • Second, the form will be 6 pages instead of the previous 8 pages.
  • Third, in the notes on page 5 under the section titled ‘Matters that cannot be included in a pitch fee review’, there will be an additional bullet point which makes clear that any costs relating to any financial loss arising from the change from RPI to CPI, cannot be included in a pitch fee review.

 Q: Does my site owner have to give me a copy of the updated consolidated implied terms?

  • No, your site owner does not have to give you a copy of the updated implied terms. 
  • The implied terms will be published on 2 July 2023 on GOV.UK and will automatically apply to all written agreements.

 Should my site owner give me a new written agreement as a result of the changes from RPI to CPI?

  • No, your site owner does not have to give you a new agreement.
  • If your site owner gives or offers you a new written agreement, do not sign or accept it.

If you need any advice about your rights you can contact LEASE on telephone 020 7832 2525 or through their website at https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/

17th May 2023.

STOP PRESS

URGENT APPEAL TO MEMBERS

Is your name Brown, Morris, Ring, Reid, Turner or Tagliareni?

Have you changed your address or email address?

Some members with these names have forwarded payment to IPHAS without a reference or contact details and we do not know who you are.

Please note that failure to use YOUR MEMBERSHIP NUMBER OR OTHER CONTACT DETAILS when making a payment could mean that in some circumstances your payment could be credited to another account and your membership suspended for non-payment.

We can only help you if we know who you are, so if you think this may be you.

Could you please contact IPHAS Membership as soon as possible, using the message board on the homepage of our website.

Thank you.

May 2023.

 

STOP PRESS

Energy Bills – Government Support for park home residents

*****ENDING 31st MAY2023******

Last Day Tomorrow for eligible groups to apply for

the EBSS AF and AFP AF support, Act today it`s your money.

We want all households who meet the relevant criteria to claim the support that they are entitled to.

Here is the application process for the £400 EBSS AF

and the £200 AFP AF support payments

    1) Go to GOV.UK

2) Search Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically,
on GOV.UK or an internet search engine.

3) Scroll to the relevant application process for each application

4) Follow the screen prompts to apply.

     You will need your bank account details,

     Registered for council tax you will NOT need to provide proof of address or D.O.B.

If you are not applying online, you can do so by using

the telephone numbers shown here.

Tel EBSS AF 0808 175 3287 or AFP AF 0808 175 3943

Open Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.

Evidence required for EBSS AF:

Utility bill – Must be dated no earlier than 3 months before application date

Benefits entitlement letter must be from within the last 6 months.

Evidence required for AFP AF:

Government has extended the period of time that AFP AF applicants can evidence purchase of alternative fuel by three months to June 2022, instead of September 2022. This means the period for which receipts can be accepted now runs from June 2022 to the end of the application window on 31 May 2023.

This change recognises that some households have stocked up on fuel ahead of winter price rises, and it is right that these households will be able to receive the £200 energy bill support they are entitled to.

Please note that to combat fraud and phishing attempts, Government will never provide any links to the application portal or directly ask individuals to apply for their support.

Remember, the Government will never contact you directly to ask for Bank Details.

Beware of scams.

May 2023

STOP PRESS – LATEST ADVISOR NEWSLETTER

STOP PRESS – LATEST ADVISOR NEWSLETTER

PLEASE SHARE THE CONTENT WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS

WE WELCOME YOUR FEEDBACK SO PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO advice@iphas.co.uk

WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN THE IPHAS TEAM?

IPHAS ARE LOOKING TO EXPAND AND IMPROVE OUR SERVICES TO MEMBERS. WE HAVE AT LEAST THREE VACANCIES FOR PEOPLE WITH A FRIENDLY DISPOSITION, SO IF YOU LIKE TO CHAT ON THE TELEPHONE, AND YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH SENDING AND RECEIVING EMAILS, THEN WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN THE IPHAS TEAM.

NO SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE OR TRAINING IS INVOLVED, SO IF YOU WOULD LIKE FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE EMAIL YOUR DETAILS TO advice@iphas.co.uk

IAN PYE, CHAIRMAN                                                                                                               15TH MARCH 2023

APPLYING FOR ENERGY BILL SUPPORT IF YOU DO NOT GET IT AUTOMATICALLY

IPHAS has now received further information from the Government about the application process for the long-awaited EBSS – AF £400 grant, for those residents who do not already receive this automatically.

Whilst an earlier announcement was made that the application process is now live, it is confirmed that the formal roll-out date for applications remains Monday 27th February 2023. However, we have been advised that any applications made between now and the formal roll-out next Monday, will be accepted by the Department.

It has also been confirmed today that the ALTERNATIVE FUEL PAYMENT – ALTERNATIVE FUNDING grant of £200 (available to those residents using LPG, and without a direct energy supply contract), will be subject to a different application process, the details of which will be announced shortly.

PLEASE NOTE, THE APPLICATION PORTAL CAN ONLY BE ACCESSED BY ENTERING THE FOLLOWING PHRASE INTO YOUR BROWSER BAR –

Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically.

THIS IS FOR SECURITY PURPOSES – NO GOVERNMENT LINKS WILL BE PROVIDED OFFERING DIRECT ACCESS TO THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ANY TEXTS, EMAILS OR OTHER COMMUNICATIONS YOU MAY RECEIVE INVITING YOU TO APPLY, WILL NOT COME FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

ONCE YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN ACCEPTED, YOU SHOULD RECEIVE A COMMUNICATION FROM YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY (WITHIN FOUR WEEKS), TO TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR PAYMENT

If a resident cannot apply online or needs help with their application, they should contact the helpline team on –
Telephone: 0808 175 3287 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm OR
Email: alternativefunding@ebss.beis.gov.uk

IAN PYE IPHAS (2021) LTD 23rd February 2023

Age UK

The AGE UK’s public policy report on energy A social tariff for off grid and off domestic supply customers”, addresses in Chapter seven what has become known as the ‘commercial supply trap’. This describes the position of many Park Homeowners who do not benefit from having a direct contract with an Energy supply company.

IPHAS first raised this topic in February 2022, and with AGE UK support, we put our concerns to the Energy Regulator, Ofgem, and the Departments for Energy Security and Net-Zero (DESNZ), and Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). This lobbying is described in more detail in the latest edition of the IPHAS NEWSLETTER – THE ADVISOR, which is currently on distribution, and also available on this website.

If you have any questions or comments on the content of any of the documents referred to, please forward them to advice@iphas.co.uk

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/safe-at-home/age-uk-energy-public-policy-report-march-2023.pdf

NEW BENEFIT PAYMENT RATES FROM APRIL 2023

NEW BENEFIT PAYMENT RATES FROM APRIL 2023

Millions of people across the country will see their benefit payments and State Pension go up by 10.1% from next month. The Chancellor has confirmed that State Pension, disability, and most working age benefits will increase from April, in line with the rate of inflation in September. This means that on average, a family on Universal Credit will benefit by around £600 this year.

The benefit cap will also rise in line with inflation, increasing from £23,000 to £25,323 for families in Greater London and from £20,000 to £22,020 for families nationally – lower caps for single households without children will rise from £15,410 to £16,967 in Greater London and from £13,400 to £14,753 nationally.

Here’s the full list of payments from the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs – and how much they will increase next month.

Weekly rates are shown, unless otherwise stated and have been rounded as per the UK Government policy.

Attendance Allowance

Higher rate: £101.75 (from £92.40)

Lower rate: £68.10 (from £61.85)

Carer’s Allowance

April 2023 rate: £76.75 (from £69.70)

Disability Living Allowance / Child Disability Payment

Care Component

Highest: £101.75 (from £92.40)

Middle: £68.10 (from £61.85)

Lowest: £26.90 (from £24.45)

Mobility component

Higher: £71.00 (from £64.50)

Lower: £26.90 (from £24.45)

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Under 25: £67.20 (from £61.05)

25 or over: £84.80 (from £77.00)

Incapacity Benefit (long-term)

April 2023 rate: £130.20 (from £118.25)

Income Support

Under 25: £67.20 (from £61.05)

25 or over: £84.80 from (£77.00)

Jobseeker’s Allowance (contributions based)

Under 25: £67.20 (from £61.05)

25 or over: £84.80 (from £77.00)

Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)

Under 25: £67.25 (from £61.05)

25 or over: £84.80 (from £77.00)

Maternity/Paternity/Shared Parental Allowance

Standard rate: £172.48 (from £156.66)

Pension Credit

Single: £201.05 (from £182.60)

Couple: £306.85 (from £278.70)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) / Adult Disability payment

Daily Living Component

Enhanced: £101.75 (from £92.40)

Standard: £68.10 (from £61.85)

Mobility Component

Enhanced: £71.00 (from £64.50)

Standard: £26.90 (from £24.45)

State Pension

Full New State Pension: £203.85 (from £185.15)

Basic Old State Pension (Category A or B): £156.20 (from £141.85)

Widow’s Pension

Standard rate: £139.10 (from £126.35)

Universal Credit (Monthly rates shown)

Standard allowance

Single under 25: £292.11 (from £265.31)

25 or over: £368.74 (from £334.91)

Couple

Joint claimants both under 25: £458.51 (from £416.45)

Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £578.82 (from £525.72)

Child Benefit payment rates for 2023/24

There are two Child Benefit rates in place.

Current rates per week

Eldest or only child – £21.80

Additional children – £14.45

New rates per week – from April 2023

Eldest or only child – £24.00

Additional children – £15.90

Guardian’s Allowance rates from April 2023

The new weekly rate for Guardian’s Allowance will be £20.40 – an increase of £1.85 on the current 2022/23 rate of £18.55.

Working Tax Credit rates for 2023/24 (yearly amount shown)

Working Tax Credit is paid to people who are in work and on a low income – it does not matter whether you are an employee or self-employed, and you do not need to have children to get the payment.

Child Tax Credit is paid to people who have children and is paid in addition to Child Benefit and the Scottish Child Payment – you do not have to be working to receive it.

Here are the details of the proposed new payment thresholds and rates for the 2023/24 financial year.

Working Tax Credit income threshold

2023/24 rate: £7,455

2022/23 rate: £6,770

Basic element

2023/24 rate: £2,280

2022/23rate: £2,070

Couples and lone parent element

2023/24 rate: £2,340

2022/23 rate: £2,125

30-hour element

2023/24 rate: £950

2022/23 rate: £860

Disabled worker element

2023/24 rate: £3,685

2022/23 rate: £3,345

Severe disability element

2023/24 rate: £1,595

2022/23 rate: £1,445

Child Tax Credit rates for 2023/24 (yearly amount shown)

Child Tax Credit income threshold

2023/24 rate: £18,725

2022/23 rate: £17,005

Family element

2023/24 rate: £545 (no change)

2022/23 rate: £545

Child and qualifying young person element

2023/24 rate: £3,235

2022/23 rate: £2,935

Child disability element

2023/24 rate: £3,905

2022/23 rate: £3,545

Severely disabled rate of the child disability element

2023/24 rate: £1,575

2022/23 rate: £1,430

Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS AF) Factsheet

  • The EBSS AF will provide a payment of £400 to around 900,000 households without a direct relationship to a domestic electricity supplier in England, Scotland, and Wales, to support them with their energy bill costs.
  • This support is equivalent to the support provided automatically to households through the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS).
  • The scheme is now open to all eligible households across Great Britain until 31 May 2023.

Eligibility

  • Subject to applications meeting full requirements, households who will be able to receive support through the EBSS AF include:
    • care home residents and others in care facilities/sheltered accommodation (wholly or partly self-funded)
    • park home residents, houseboats and caravans that can provide proof of address
    • social and private tenants who pay for energy through a landlord on a commercial supply
    • homes on a heat network/private wire
    • off-grid homes
    • farmhouses used for wholly domestic purposes

Application process

  • Those who are eligible for the EBSS AF will need to submit a short online application via the Government’s GOV.UK webpages.
  • This page can be found by searching “Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically” into the search bar on GOV.UK or an internet search engine.
  • For those without online access, the contact centre helpline can be reached on 08081753287 where a representative will guide them through the application process.

Receiving payments

  • Once customers have applied to receive support, their details will be shared with Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, who will confirm eligibility and deliver the one-off, non-repayable support.
  • The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by their local authority.
  • A single payment of £400 will be made directly into the applicant’s bank account.

Countering Scams

  • The government will never provide any links to the online application portal, to counter any fraudulent links being inserted. As many of the eligible households will include vulnerable individuals, we believe it is important to adopt this approach to reduce their exposure to scams.
  • Please ensure that no links are provided in any of your electronic communications.

THE LATEST UPDATE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY

 

IPHAS HAS BEEN ADVISED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENERGY, AND INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY, THAT THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR THE £400 EBSS GRANT DUE TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO QUALIFYING PARK HOMEOWNERS BY ALTERNATIVE FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS, HAS BEEN POSTPONED YET AGAIN.
WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE APPLICATION PROCESS ITSELF WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL THE 27th FEBRUAURY 2023.
WE HAVE MADE KNOWN OUR DEEP CONCERN FOR THIS FURTHER DELAY, AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PARK HOME OWNERS ALREADY SUFFERING THE COST OF LIVING CRISIS AND DOUBLE DIGIT PITCH FEE INCREASES.
FURTHER INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED HERE, AS AND WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE
Ian Pye Chairman 26th January 2023

THE ENERGY BILLS RELIEF SCHEME (EBRS) and ALTERNATIVE FUNDING SCHEME UPDATE

The application process is subject to a pilot testing programme at the moment. If it is found to be successful, it will be trialled on live data before it’s released for the public to register for their payments. Further information will be posted on our website www.iphas.live as it becomes available.

Ian Pye, Chairman 21st January 2023

THE WARM HOME DISCOUNT SCHEME

IMPORTANT NEWS FROM CHARIS GRANTS

IPHAS (2021) LTD HAVE JUST BEEN NOTIFIED BY CHARIS GRANTS, THAT BECAUSE OF SLOW TAKE UP OVER THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS, THE WARM HOME DISCOUNT SCHEME HAS BEEN EXTENDED.

APPLICATIONS CAN BE MADE VIA THE CHARIS WEBSITE –

Park Homes | Warm Home Discount Scheme | Charis (charisgrants.com)

CHARIS ADVISE THEY STILL HAVE PLENTY OF AWARDS AVAILABLE HOWEVER, THEY MUST ALL BE MADE BY THE END OF MARCH 2023.

Further information can be obtained from the Business Development Director at Charis Grants charisgrants.com Telephone 07731 022 075

Energy Support – Park homes GUIDANCE

Update 2 – 20th December 2022

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued a statement on 19 December providing a further update on the £400 discount under the EBSS Alternative Funding (EBSS -AF) and the £200 discount under the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP).
On the same day BEIS organised a briefing for a range of stakeholders including park home representatives, to provide additional details about the delivery of the payments.
This document provides a brief summary of the statement and update from the meeting.
————————————————————————————————————–
EBSS-Alternative Funding (EBSS-AF)
Online applications will open in January 2023 for households including park home residents who are eligible for the £400 – EBSS AF.

Applicants will need to complete a short online application form via the GOV.UK website. This is the only website where applications can be submitted. There will be no paper applications.

A dedicated customer helpline will be available to assist those who do not have online access. Further details about the helpline will be provided in January.

Once an application has been made, the details will be processed and verified before the payment is made by local authorities.

Local authorities are not responsible for the application or verification process. Residents do not need to contact their local authority now or when the application process opens.

The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant local authority.

Q. What will the process be for claiming the discount?
All eligible households will be required to apply for the payment through the GOV.UK website. They will fill out a short form on GOV.UK with a few simple details, including their name and address.

Once the details have been verified, the payment will be made by the relevant local authority.

Q. Should I contact my local authority now about the EBSS-AF or AFP payments?
NO. Local authorities are not responsible for the application process so will be unable to assist with any queries.

Residents do not need to contact their local authority now or when the application process opens.

Q. How will applicants find out about the eligibility criteria?
More information will be made available in January.

The GOV.UK page will also include an overview of eligibility and what applicants need to do to apply for the support.

Q. When will more information be made available to residents?
More information and details will be made available in January.

Q. How can residents be sure the GOV.UK website is safe to use?
There will be controls in place to ensure the portal is safe for residents to use.

Q. Will the EBSS-AF scheme call residents and ask them to make an application?
NO. The scheme will not call any resident and ask them to make an application.

Residents will have to apply through the GOV.UK website or call the dedicated customer helpline themselves.

Caution – residents should not at any time provide any information to anyone who calls them and claims to be calling from or acting on behalf of the EBSS-AF scheme.

Q. Will residents be required to provide their site owner’s electricity meter number when they make an application?
No. The application form will not ask for or require residents to provide their site owner’s meter number.

Site owners will not be involved in the process.

 

 

ALTERNATIVE FUEL PAYMENT (AFP)
The government is providing a further £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) to help those households who use alternative fuels such as biomass, LPG or heating oil to meet energy costs this winter.

Park home residents who do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will need to apply for the AFP.

They will be able to do so in February, through the same GOV.UK portal as the one that will be used to apply for support under the EBSS-AF.

Further details will be made available shortly.

PLEASE NOTE:
IPHAS TEAM MEMBERS ARE NOW ENJOYING A WELL EARNED BREAK FOR THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS.
ANY FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT ENERGY SUPPORT RELIEF RELEASED BY THE GOVERNMENT OVER THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS WILL BE POSTED ON THE IPHAS WEBSITE www.iphas.live

BEIS ANNOUNCEMENT: EBSS AF / AFP / EBSS NI

BEIS ANNOUNCEMENT: EBSS AF / AFP / EBSS NI

This morning, BEIS made a further announcement regarding energy bill support.
This includes:

EBSS Alternative Funding – £400 for those in England, Wales and Scotland who do not have a direct relationship with an energy supplier.
Alternative Fuel Payment – A £200 payment to help those households in Great Britain who use alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil.
A £600 payment to the people of Northern Ireland, combining EBSS and the Alternative Fuel Payment.

Vital help with energy bills on the way for millions more homes across Great Britain and Northern Ireland
UK Government confirms all households in Northern Ireland will receive a single payment totalling £600 to help with their energy bills, with payments starting in January
Households across Great Britain that use alternative fuels like heating oil will receive a £200 payment this winter
900,000 households in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to an energy supplier – such as care home or park home residents – will be able to apply online for £400 of non-repayable help with their fuel bills

Support with winter energy bills is on the way for millions more households across the United Kingdom, as the Government today confirms details of a single £600 payment to help households in Northern Ireland with their heating and electricity bills, as well as details of how those using alternative fuels and households without a direct relationship to an energy supplier will receive help with their energy costs.
These schemes augment the cost-of-living package of assistance the government has in place to help reduce energy bills for households across the United Kingdom. This includes the Energy Price Guarantee which saves a typical household in Great Britain around £900 this winter and an equivalent level of support in Northern Ireland.

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Putin’s illegal war has caused global energy prices to soar, but we are continuing to work hard and urgently to get help to households across the UK, and this update provides people with more certainty on when and how we will deliver help with fuel bills.
“We’re already limiting the amount suppliers can charge consumers for their energy through the Energy Price Guarantee, which will continue to help consumers through to March 2024. We’ve all seen and felt the temperature dropping recently, so today’s updates will help millions worry less about their energy and heating bills this winter.”

Energy bills support for households in Northern Ireland
All households in Northern Ireland will receive a single, one-off £600 payment to help with their bills. Payments will start in January 2023. This will be made up of £400 of support under the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Northern Ireland (EBSS NI), and £200 of support under the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme, which will go to all households in Northern Ireland irrespective of how they heat their home.
The UK Government has confirmed today it will fund electricity companies for this payment to ensure they’re administered quickly, and that suppliers should start to make payments to customers in January. This means most NI consumers will receive the full amount of energy bills support before households in Great Britain, whilst still receiving the same level of support this winter.
All households in Northern Ireland will receive the support in a single payment to ensure the full benefit of the scheme is felt as soon as possible. The Northern Ireland scheme differs in this respect from EBSS in Great Britain to account for the particular nature of the NI energy market.

Administered by energy suppliers, customers who pay by Direct Debit will receive the £600 into their bank account directly. Other customers will be sent a voucher to redeem for the £600 payment, with further details of how they will work and what ID will be required to be set out shortly.

Today’s announcement comes as the Minister for Energy and Climate writes to Northern Ireland energy suppliers setting out his expectations, which includes urging them to suspend all debt recovery and enforcement activity until the end of January, as well as provide payment holidays until the end of January where customers are struggling to pay their bills.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said:
“I am acutely aware of the uncertainty and frustration that people across Northern Ireland have felt about their energy bill support. Families can start the new year knowing that they will receive the full support from January.
“I am grateful that officials and Ministers and energy suppliers have found a solution, especially given the complexity of NI’s energy market, although I would have liked to have seen Northern Ireland political parties deliver this, as part of a restored Executive.”

Energy bills support in England, Scotland, and Wales via EBSS Alternative Funding and Alternative Fuel Payments
As well as this support for homes across Northern Ireland, the Government has also announced details today for how people in England, Scotland and Wales without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, including many care home residents and those living in park homes, will receive a £400 discount on their fuel bills through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS Alternative Funding).
The Government is also providing a further £200 Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) to help those households in Great Britain who use alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil to meet energy costs this winter. Most households eligible for the AFP support in Great Britain, will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier in February, with no need to take any action. Those households who will need to apply for the AFP, for example because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier, will be able to do so in February, through the same GOV.UK portal as the one that will be used to apply for support under the EBSS Alternative Funding scheme.

Minister for Energy and Climate, Graham Stuart, said:
“Getting this support for households’ bills out across the country will save hundreds of pounds for millions of people during the coldest months of the year. This has been a top priority and joint effort, with close work between officials and electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland, as well as with Local Authorities in Great Britain who will help get support to over 900,000 households who don’t have the direct relationship with energy suppliers that the vast majority of households do.”
Online applications will open in January for households in England, Scotland and Wales who are eligible for the £400 EBSS Alternative Funding to submit their details, alongside a helpline for those without online access. Payments to households that meet the eligibility criteria – including people who get their energy through a commercial contract or who are off-grid – will be made by Local Authorities in Great Britain. This is likely to include:

Care home residents;
Residents of park homes;
Tenants in certain private and social rented homes;
Homes supplied via private wires;
Residents of caravans and houseboats on registered sites;
Farmers living in domestic farmhouses; and
Off-grid households.

Most households who don’t have a direct relationship with a domestic energy supplier have already been benefitting from subsidised energy bills through the Government’s business support scheme, with the Energy Prices Act legislation passed earlier in the year to ensure those benefits are passed on to consumers who do not pay their energy bills directly.

To make the process as simple as possible for consumers, those who are eligible for the EBSS Alternative Funding will need to submit a short online form via the Government’s GOV.UK pages, with the application portal due to open in January. A dedicated customer helpline will be available to assist customers who do not have online access, with further details to be released next month. Customers who are eligible for support under the main Energy Bills Support Scheme are not eligible for EBSS Alternative Funding.

Once customers have applied to receive support and their applications have been processed and verified, eligible customers’ details will be shared with Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, who will deliver the one-off, non-repayable support this winter. Applicants will only be able to submit information through GOV.UK from January and should not contact their Local Authority in the meantime. The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant Local Authority.
Existing support for energy bills this winter

As well as discounts provided through the EBSS and Alternative Fuel Payments, the government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will save a typical household in Great Britain around £900 this winter, based on what energy prices would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. For households in Northern Ireland, the Energy Price Guarantee is already providing equivalent support to the rest of Great Britain – helping those using gas and electricity save around £550 this winter. Further support in direct payments is also being provided to vulnerable households this year, including cost of living payments for pensioners, people receiving disability-related allowances and those on means-tested benefits. The Household Support Fund provides additional assistance for those most in need and £26 billion worth of targeted support will help protect the most vulnerable in the next financial year.
BEIS 19TH DECEMBER 2022

FURTHER HELP FOR PARK HOMEOWNERS THROUGH CHARIS GRANTS

Charis Grants will be offering the Park Homes Warm Home Discount 2022/23 rebate to a limited number of park home residents in England, Wales and Scotland. Government has provided Charis with enough funding for an estimate of 3000 awards. The scheme will open on the 19th December and will close around the 30th December. Unfortunately, Charis are unable to provide a Telephone sign-up this year so some members may need support in making an application.

Charis _Park Homes Warm Home Discount 2022 (1)

Energy Support – Park homes GUIDANCE

Update – December 2022

The government has already announced that it will provide a £400 discount to park home residents to help with their energy bills.

Details of the discount and other ways in which park home residents will be supported were made available in the November guidance.

This document provides a brief update on the delivery of the payment.

————————————————————————————————————–

How will the payment be delivered?

  • The government has worked through a number of alternative delivery options and has concluded that the best way to deliver the scheme is through Local Authorities, who are best placed to process applications and carry out verification checks.

What is the process for claiming the money?

  • All eligible households will be required to apply for the payment. They will be able to fill out a short form on GOV.UK with a few simple details, including their name and address. Much of this data will be verified up-front to reduce burdens on Local Authorities, who will then verify the address and administer the payment.

When can households apply ?

  • The government is currently finishing and testing the application model, including verification and anti-fraud measures, to ensure that it functions as intended before it can go live.

 

  • The scheme will open for applications in January 2023, and the government is committed to delivering the payment to households this winter.

 

  • The government will be publishing further detail about eligibility shortly.

 

Why is this taking so long?

  • This is a critical and complex task.

 

  • Whilst the government understands that speed is of the essence, it must do all it can to prevent errors that could result either in households not receiving the support they need, or in a loss of public money.

When will households get the money?

  • The Alternative Fuel Payment of £200 and the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative funding of £400 will be delivered as soon as possible in the new year.

 

  • The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant Local Authority.

NON-ENERGY SCHEMES:

 

£650 Cost of Living payment for those on benefits

 

  • More than 8 million households on means tested benefits will receive a payment of £650. This includes all households who receive Universal Credit, Pension Credit Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit.

 

  • The Department of Work and Pensions will make the payment in two lump sums – the first from July, the second in the autumn. Payments from HMRC for those on Tax Credits only will follow shortly after each to ensure there are no duplicate payments. The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

 

£300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

  • All pensioner households will receive an extra £300 to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter. Pensioners are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs, and many low-income pensioner households do not claim the means tested benefits they are entitled to.

 

  • This payment will go to the over 8 million pensioner households who receive the Winter Fuel Payment. The Pensioner Cost of Living Payment will come as a top-up to annual Winter Fuel Payments in November/December. For most pensioner households, this will be paid by direct debit, is not taxable and does not affect eligibility for other benefits. The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

 

£150 Disability Cost of Living Payment

 

  • People with disabilities will receive an extra £150 to help with the particular extra costs they face. Six million people who receive Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Scottish Disability Benefits, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance and War Pension Mobility Supplement will receive the support as a one off payment in September.

 

  • These payments will be exempt from tax, will not count towards the benefit cap, and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards. The government will make these payments directly to households across the UK.

GUIDANCE FOR PARK HOMEOWNERS from the DEPARTMENT FOR LEVELLING UP, HOUSING AND COMMUNITIES

Dear Resident,
the attached guidance was issued today by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing And Communities, to help residents understand the support announced by the Government to help with energy costs and how it applies specifically to park home residents.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NOTICE 

In summary residents, there are three types of support that residents will benefit from. These are the:

Energy Bills Support Scheme-Alternative Fund (EBSS-AF); – this will provide £400 to all residents
Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP): – this will provide a reduction in electricity bills from October 2022 to March 2023
Energy Bills Relief Scheme (EBRS) -this will provide a one off £200 payment to those who are not on mains gas grid and use alternative fuels such as LPG and heating oil.

Further details on each type of support is provided in the guidance however, IPHAS are advised that a lot of detail has still to be worked out on all three types of support however, we have been assured that the Departments involved are working at a very fast pace to ensure the support is delivered as soon as possible and in a safe and secure way.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pass-through-requirements-for-energy-price-support-provided-to-intermediaries

IAN PYE, CHAIRMAN 23RD November 2022
The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (2021) Ltd.

PLEASE NOTE, THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO IPHAS AND OTHER PARK HOME SUPPORT GROUPS BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR LEVELLING UP, HOUSING AND COMMUNITIES.

FURTHER UPDATES WILL BE PROVIDED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE DEPARTMENT.

ANY FURTHER INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED ON OUR WEBSITE www.iphas.live
AND DISTRIBUTED DIRECTLY TO RESIDENTS WHO HAVE REGISTERED A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS WITH IPHAS, AS AND WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE.

JOINT STATEMENT TO OUR MEMBERS IN SCOTLAND FROM IPHAS AND SCOPHRA

Dear IPHAS and SCOPHRA members,

 

The Directors of IPHAS have had to take the painful decision to terminate IPHAS’s active involvement in Scotland. This is partly due to a diminished membership in Scotland since the pandemic, the growth of our partner agency in Scotland, SCOPHRA (the Scottish Confederation of Park Home Residents Associations) and most importantly, the difference in Scots Law from England which requires additional training for our advisors. IPHAS and SCOPHRA have been in discussions for over a year and SCOPHRA have now agreed to offer all IPHAS Members in Scotland, current and recently lapsed, full honorary membership of SCOPHRA until the next SCOPHRA AGM in May 2023, regardless of when their IPHAS membership expires.

 

We understand that some IPHAS members are already resident on parks who have an association with SCOPHRA membership, and in these cases the member will be covered by that Association membership if they are members of that association. In May next year individual membership of SCOPHRA will become available where no association exists.

 

Membership of IPHAS will continue until next membership renewal but any queries will be redirected to SCOPHRA. SCOPHRA do not operate a telephone service but prefer email contact which as required, is followed up by telephone contact, so members will still enjoy a seamless advice service, but one which is fully au fait with Scots law and regulations.

 

These changes will come into effect from 1st January 2023 however, the transfer of IPHAS membership details to our partners SCOPHRA will commence before the end of 2022.

 

SCOPHRA staff will contact you directly once the handover has been successfully completed. In the meantime, may we recommend you to the SCOPHRA website – www.scophra.scot.

 

IPHAS would like to thank all our members in Scotland for their outstanding support to IPHAS down the years. Please be assured, IPHAS and SCOPHRA remain fully committed to our partnership and working for the good of park home residents throughout the UK.”

 

Ian Pye, Chairman                                                                              Jim Haluch, Chairman

IPHAS (2021) LTD.                                                                               SCOPHRA

THE ENERGY BILLS RELIEF SCHEME (EBRS) – UPDATE

Following yesterday’s publication of the Energy Support Guidance for Park Homes, some of you queried whether the amount of £100 was correct for the (EBRS). Your concerns were passed to the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) earlier today, who have responded with the following note of clarification.

The Energy Bills Relief Scheme (EBRS) will provide a discount on energy bills from October. The discount applied will be in pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh). This will be applied by the energy providers to the site owner’s bill’s, and they will have to pass it on to residents.

The Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) will provide a one-off payment of £100 to UK households who are not on the mains gas grid and therefore use alternative fuels, such as heating oil, LPG, coal, and biomass to heat their homes.

However, following the Autumn budget statement last week, the amount has been increased to £200. This was confirmed by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in their news story published last Friday. (see the Link below).

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/beis-in-the-autumn-statement#:~:text=Alternative%20fuel%20payments,soon%20as%20possible%20this%20winter.

IAN PYE, CHAIRMAN 24th November 2022
The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (2021) Ltd.

Compensation for Power Outages

Following Storms Arwen, Eunice, and Franklin from late 2021 onwards, the Government energy regulator Ofgem, has “commissioned a review of the GSoP* for Severe Weather to identify amendments that will better acknowledge the impact of extended power cuts on customers”, from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP of London (PwC). A virtual meeting was held on 22nd September last, Chaired by PwC, and attended by Senior Managers from Ofgem, with IPHAS (2021) Ltd represented by Chairman, Ian Pye.

PwC are expected to deliver their findings to Ofgem, by the end of October. When released the findings of this review will be published on the IPHAS website www.iphas.live

UPDATE ON THE PROPOSED CHANGE FROM RPI TO CPI

FOR PARK HOME RESIDENTS IN SCOTLAND

The Scottish Confederation od Park Home Residents Associations (SCOPHRA), has kindly forwarded the following information,

This relates to a recent undertaking from Ministers in the Scottish Parliament, just received.

Minsters are very conscious of the pressures the cost crisis are placing on residents of mobile homes and, in particular, the pitch fee uprating issue raised by SCOPHRA in recent campaigning. i.e. that the gap between RPI and CPI is growing, with pitch fees therefore growing faster than pension incomes. We will therefore undertake the required consultation on the impact of moving the basis of pitch fee uprating from RPI to CPI, in time to make the change in the planned 2023 Housing Bill. This change would have a permanent effect, slowing the rate of pitch fee increases in future. While we do have powers to make the change by regulation for future agreements, primary legislation is necessary to have an impact on existing agreements and the Mobile Homes Act 1983 requires consultation in advance of doing this. Further information will be given once plans are in place for consultation.

GARDENING ACTIVITIES FOR RECYCLED TEENAGERS!

A young lady student doing research as part of an online alternative learning program for young people, has kindly sent in this article with a lot of really great information on the health benefits of gardening for senior citizens. This is what she found –

https://billyoh.com/resource/benefits-of-gardening-older-adults/

IPHAS are aware that one or two parks already have gardening clubs. Perhaps this link will encourage more residents to share their knowledge and experience of creating a lovely garden with those less fortunate or knowledgeable.

It may even assist in propagating good relations on the park as well!
Ian Pye 29/09/2022

OFGEM: SEVERE WEATHER REVIEW

IF YOU ARE A PARK HOME RESIDENT AND SUFFERED A POWER OUTAGE DURING LAST WINTER’S SEVERE STORMS BEGINNING WITH STORM ARWEN ONWARDS, AND HAVE NOT RECEIVED COMPENSATION FROM YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER, IPHAS (2021) Ltd WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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

As the regulator for the energy market, Ofgem’s top priority is to support and protect consumers in vulnerable situations and undertook to examine where improvements can be made in their interests. Ofgem published an interim report in February 2022, providing an early indication of the areas that needed to be investigated further. The final report was published on 9th June 2022 (see the attached Link),

Storm Arwen Report | Ofgem

Subsequently, Ofgem have commissioned Price Waterhouse Cooper to conduct a review and IPHAS has now been invited to join with Ofgem representatives, members of their consulting team, and other stakeholders, to seek their views; in particular, regarding the below four areas the review is considering:

  • assessing if a compensation cap is still appropriate and, if so, what the right level is;
  • considering the current payment structure and developing alternative options e.g. inclining payments;
  • assessing whether the thresholds for different storm categories are fit for purpose; and
  • Developing options for improving the accuracy of customer data, to make the process for compensation payments more efficient

THE INITIAL, VIRTUAL MEETING IS TO TAKE PLACE ON THURSDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 2022, FROM 11AM TO 12PM.

IF YOU HAVE IN ANY WAY BEEN AFFECTED BY THESE EVENTS, PLEASE CONTACT IPHAS BY EMAIL TO advice@iphas.co.uk OR, BY TELEPHONE TO 07863940545 AND LEAVE YOUR DETAILS, AND WE WILL CONTACT YOU IN DUE COURSE.

THANK YOU FOR YOUE CO-OPERATION

IAN PYE, CHAIRMAN

THE INDEPENDENT PARK HOME ADVISORY SERVICE (2021) LTD.

LATEST UPDATE ON THE EBSS FOR PARK HOME RESIDENTS

Dear Fellow Members,
Today, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), released information through the media intended to inform homeowners about the various means by which they may receive their Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) grant.
Unfortunately, whilst today’s announcement will help those park home occupiers with a direct supply contract with an energy supplier, no information has been forthcoming about how those of you who purchase your energy through your park owner, will receive your EBSS grants.
For many months now IPHAS has been engaged with BEIS on this issue, and last month we teamed up with officials from AGE UK, who are now supporting our pursuit of answers from BEIS and the Energy Secretary. Some proposals have been put forwards but no final solutions have been notified to us as yet.
This morning, I made contact with the authorities requesting an update on an urgent basis. I am advised that BEIS are in the process of drawing up proposals for delivering the EBSS to park home residents. They have the money secured to ensure support can be delivered but they are still in the early stages of putting together a plan for delivery.
For the future, please keep your eye on our new website www.iphas.live for the latest information.
IPHAS WILL CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR ANSWERS ON YOUR BEHALF.
 
Ian  Pye Chairman,
The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (2021) Ltd.     

London RPI to CPI= Rally of the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign

Dear Justice Campaign Supporter.

OUR RALLY IS NOW PLANNED AND YOUR HELP IS NEEDED.

To keep you informed.  A good response has been received and the details below have now been sent to all those who have indicated their wish to attend the rally.  What we are doing will affect every park home owner in the land.  Whilst I know that you cannot all attend.  YOU CAN HELP TO MAKE IT BETTER FOR US ALL.  Please copy the letter at the bottom of these details and send to the Prime Minister and please contact your own constituency MP and ask for his support in this matter.  Please ask him to attend our meeting in Westminster and PLEASE ask him or her to bring our situation up at the PARTY CONFERENCE.

EVERYONE WHO ATTENDS OUR RALLY AND MEETING IN WESTMINSTER WILL BE DOING THEIR UTMOST TO BRING ABOUT A CHANGE THAT WILL AFFECT EVERY PARK HOME RESIDENT IN THE LAND.

You will see below that I have had a meeting with those in Scotland and I am pleased to welcome their support and help.  We worked together in our Three Nations rally and we are working together again.

PLEASE DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO HELP.  POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  TELL YOUR LOCAL MEDIA.  IN FACT TELL EVERY ONE THAT YOU CAN.  ENOUGH IS NOW ENOUGH AND WE WANT CHANGE AND WE WANT IT NOW.

Dear Rallying Member

Sorry for the delay in reply but there has been a lot of arrangements to make.   I have been working with Sir Peter Bottomley’s office to make the following arrangements.  I can now tell you that:

 

  1.      Our official Rally Date is Monday 24th October 2022.

 

  1.      A presentation Campaign letter regarding RPI to CPI and the 10% Commission Charge is being prepared for the Prime Minister.  Sir

          Peter’s office is liaising with Downing Street and details will follow later.

 

  1.       After our rally and delivery of our Campaign Letter to Downing Street – there will be a meeting to which you are all invited in

           Committee Room 10 at the Palace of Westminster.

 

This date has been decided upon because it is the only date available before the House rises on the 22nd September and the Conservative Party Conference which takes place on 2-5th October.   It is imperative that before their Party Conference, we make MP’s understand the urgency of our demand that the Government honours its promise to change RPI to CPI on the pitch fee increase and delivers its decision on the 10% Commission Charge.  Enough is enough.  RPI to CPI affects every park homeowner in the country and the 10% commission is the most hated charge. We want action and we want it NOW.

Our President, Sir Peter Bottomley, who is also the Father of the House will chair the meeting.  Sir Christopher Chope MP – who has tried to bring forward a Private Members Bill regarding RPI to CPI has also been invited to attend and speak.  The meeting room has been booked for one hour and there will be ample time for the park homeowners to have their say and ask questions on this cause that we have campaigned for.

If we are to believe the news, RPI could rise substantially to even 18% or more – and the only winner is the Site Owners.  Government must hastily honour their promise and reduce this to CPI.  As our meeting and rally takes place before the Party Conference begins.  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CONSTITUENCY MP AND ASK THEM TO ATTEND THE MEETING IN COMMITTEE ROOM 10 AND BRING PRESSURE TO BARE AT THE PARTY CONFERENCE.

The timetable for our Rally day will be:

 

12.noon                        All Park Homeowners to meet at the enclosed black railings opposite the gates of Downing Street with their Banners. 

 

A Press Release will be put out.  LKP, the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership will help us with coverage.  Photographers and TV news teams will be informed, and I hope you will have the opportunity to give your views.

 

12.30                            Is the time that we hope to make the Presentation to Downing Street.  (I will confirm later but this will not interfere with our rally).

 

Only a small party is allowed to enter Downing Street.  Therefore, Sir Peter and a small party will deliver a letter from the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign on the subject of RPI to CPI and the 10% Commission Charge for the personal attention of the Prime Minister.

 

12.45                            Our rally will walk – with banners – to the Palace of Westminster.

 

Please keep to the pavement on this short Rally walk to Westminster.  Marshals will be in attendance.  Before going through security at the Palace of Westminster, we will have to dispose of our banners as they are not allowed inside of the Palace.  The Marshals will ask the Police at the Palace where they can be put.  Please place them where the Marshals direct – and remember to collect them when you leave the Palace.

 

1.15 to 1.45 pm.   Our rally will make its way through security at the Palace.  

Please remember that any sharp objects that you may be carrying will be taken from you before you are allowed to enter the Palace.

Refreshments and Toilets.

Once inside Westminster Hall, there is a cafe that is located to your right (which you may wish to use after the meeting) and toilet facilities.

Meeting in Committee Room 10

At 2.15 it will be time to move to Committee Room 10.  I will be there to direct you but would be grateful if you could please keep together.  There will be stairs to climb, so please give yourself plenty of time.  There is a lift for anyone who needs assistance.  If this applies to you, please ask one of the security persons in the Palace to help you.

The meeting will commence at: approx: 2.30pm

The meeting will end at:  approx: 3.30pm

Please allow 30 minutes to exit the Palace for your journey home.  It is very busy around Westminster but there are many taxis that you can hail to take you to the various transport stations.  Warning. Please do not use the bicycle transport that is available – it will cost you a fortune.

Parking of Mini Buses

If you are travelling in a mini-bus, I am told that the best place to park is on the Embankment.  Usually, your driver will know about this.

Dress Code.

Our JUSTICE Campaign has always been respectful of people and places.  As we are very privileged to have a Committee Room allocated to us in the Palace, please can we adopt a smart casual appearance and if possible, no jeans please.

THINGS FOR YOU TO DO. 

 PLEASE RESPOND EARLY TO ENSURE YOUR PLACE as there is a limit to the amount that can be seated in Westminster.

 

  1.     Would you please let me know by return, the names of people that definitely want to attend. I will reply to you all after the bank holiday.

 

  1.     Please give me the name of your Park and the county that it is in.

 

  1.    Would you please make your own banners to reflect our RPI to CPI situation and our four year wait to get justice – and of course the 10% commission charge.

 

  1.     Would you please contact your own constituency MP and ask them to attend the meeting in Committee Room 10 and air your views to the Government at the Party Conference.

 

  1.     Please inform your local press and regional TV station of our rally and its cause.  I will be sending out a Press Release and inviting TV and Radio – but we need all the help that we can get. 

PLEASE PLAY YOUR PART.

Because RPI to CPI affects every park homeowner in the land, I have had a meeting with SCOPHRA (Scottish Confederation of Park Home Residents Associations) who I am pleased to report are supporting us and asking their Scottish MPs/MSPs to attend the meeting and make the Scottish resident’s feelings known to the Government.

I will need two Marshals to help on the day.  If you would be prepared to help with this very important job and have a yellow hi viz jacket.

I will write to you all again with any further updates but would be grateful if you could please make your banners, galvanise support from your parks and bring as many as you can to the rally.

This is the only chance we have to do something that will positively affect every park homeowner in the land.  I appreciate that not all people can travel to London – but you can still help.  If you are unable to attend the Rally, please write to your MP.  Inform them of the Rally and that it has taken four years and Government have still not honoured their promise to change RPI to CPI.  Remind them that the only people who are winning in this situation is the Site Owner and demand that change is done NOW.  Most importantly, ask them to represent you at the meeting in Committee Room 10 on the 24th September and make your feelings known to Government at the Party Conference.

Our President, Sir Peter Bottomley MP has written a strong letter to the Secretary of State.  Our campaign needs you to inundate the office of the Prime Minister with your demands for this change.

A sample letter that you may wish to send is laid out below.

Best Wishes and thank you

Sonia

PRIME MINISTER’S ADDRESS.   10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister

I am a member of the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign and one of the Park Home Owners in this country that your Government has forgotten.  Four years ago, your Government promised to change the RPI to CPI increase on my pitch fee.  You have let me – and thousands like me – down.  You could easily do this in the next Finance Bill – but still you give us the same speal “when parliamentary time allows.”  Enough is now enough. 

Under the banner of the Park Home Owners JUSTICE Campaign, we will be rallying at Westminster on the 19th September and delivering our letter to Downing Street for your personal attention.  In these austere times, when RPI is rising every day, you are condemning park homeowners to a cold miserable fate that could end in the death of some who cannot afford to live.  

The only person to gain from your lack of thought, compassion and justice to park homeowners is the site owner.  This is a windfall for him that will increase every year.  In a short while you will be wanting our votes – these will be in short supply if you do not honour your promise now.  

You increase our pensions by CPI and yet you expect us to increase our pitch fees by RPI.  The Welsh already enjoy a CPI increase to their pitch fee.  Why can you not make it fair and do the same for England and Scotland.  The Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley has indicated that this could be done in the next Finance Bill.  If you won’t listen to the voice of the people – please will you listen to the voice of The Father of the House.

Yours sincerely

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

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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