For thousands of people, moving to a residential park has enhanced their quality of life. Security, peace of mind, and a delightful living environment are just a few of the benefits of park home living.
Moving to a residential park can mean swapping urban life for a peaceful place in the country, and becoming part of a friendly, like-minded community. There's a big choice of park home styles and designs, and remember they are supplied fully carpeted and furnished - so that's another expense taken care of.
Park living - your questions answered
How do park homes differ from conventional houses?
In appearance, there is virtually no difference. Many park homes look like attractively designed and traditionally built bungalows with a pitched roof. The only real difference is the method of construction. The park home's fully-furnished and luxurious modern interior provides good sized living areas and a separate kitchen with integrated appliances, built-in cupboards and wardrobes, two or three bedrooms and fitted bathrooms. Central heating and double glazing are usually installed as standard, and so is carpeting throughout.
So how is the home actually built?
It's not so much "how" as "where" which makes the main difference. Park homes are constructed to a British Standard under carefully controlled workshop conditions before being transported to the park. Here they are sited on a base and connected to all mains services such as electricity, drainage and sometimes mains gas.
What materials are used?
A park home is timber framed and provided with a tough and durable weatherproof exterior, plus a textured finish. Particular attention is paid to achieving a high level of insulation. This keeps heat loss and future energy bills to a minimum. Park homes are designed for easy maintenance, and owners are unlikely to be faced with sudden high repair bills.
How do the costs compare with conventional housing?
They often compare very favourably, and of course vary according to the model chosen, and the market value of the land on which the home is situated - precisely the same factors, in other words, which influence the price of a conventional house. There is great choice is to be found within the £60,000 - £90,000 price range. However, prices can rise to over £250,000 in the more highly priced areas such as the South of England.
Supposing I don't want to use my own funds to buy?
Loans are available to those buying a park home, and the major lenders are the larger independent finance houses. Their charges tend to be more competitive than personal bank loans.
What's a "written statement"?
A "written statement" is the park home owner's contract with the park owner which details the right to occupy a pitch on the park. The statement should be accompanied by the park rules. When you are buying a home from the park owner, the written statement must be issued by the owner 28 days before you commit to the purchase, although you can agree to a shorter period if you are satisfied with the contents and want to proceed more quickly. If you are not buying your home from the park but from the present home owner, it is equally important that you understand and are happy with the contract before you go ahead. In either case, don't hesitate to seek professional help (for instance, from a solicitor or the Citizens' Advice Bureau) if you have queries or require guidance.
There is a legal framework for the form and some content of the Written Statement and this provides the basis for the model documentation, offered by the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, that is used by most park owners. This document varies according to the park's location in England, Scotland or Wales. Please follow the links below to see the relevant model written statements.
The model Written Statement for England can be found here
The model Written Statement for Wales can be found here
The model Written Statement for Scotland can be found here
How much should be budgeted for park fees?
Park fees, sometimes called pitch fees, are usually paid monthly, generally by direct debit from your bank account, and may be in the range £120 - £200 per month. The actual amount is influenced by the location of the park, and/or the amenities it provides. Increases in fees can only be made in accordance with the provisions laid down in the Mobile Homes Act 1983 as detailed in the written statement.
Does this legislation offer any other protection to owners?
It does indeed. The Mobile Homes Act 1983 gives owners of the park homes security of tenure - and that is probably its single most important safeguard. It also gives the home owner the right to sell the home on the park, and the right to leave it to certain members of the family.
What about utility payments and council tax?
You will need to make the usual provision for the payment of gas, water and electricity bills. You should make sure that you establish what these are likely to be before you buy. Many park homes are rated in "Band A" for council tax purposes (the lowest band).
Will I have to make any other payments?
Yes, when you eventually sell the home. Your written agreement with the park owner, within the terms of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 will make it clear that a maximum 10% commission is payable to the park owner when you sell your home.
Are most park residents retired?
Yes, about 80% are in or near retirement - although some parks have a higher proportion of park home owners who go out to work on a full-time or part-time basis.
Apart from economics, what are the other advantages of park home living?
Many residential parks are real communities where no-one need feel isolated. Individual privacy is, of course, respected as it would be anywhere. However, many park home owners enjoy being drawn into the activities, committees, clubs and other social opportunities which develop as a result of initiatives by residents themselves. Other members of the family living elsewhere also have peace of mind from the knowledge that many parks are akin to semi-sheltered environments, with a resident owner or manager to provide additional security.
Must it be a licensed residential park?
Yes, most definitely. The protection offered by the Mobile Homes Act 1983 applies to licensed residential parks - and is not available on holiday parks. There are also important differences between a residential park home, which is designed and built for permanent living, and a caravan holiday home, which is constructed to different standards to reflect its use as leisure accommodation.
How do I find out more?
Any of the parks featured on this website will be pleased to send you literature about themselves and the homes they have to offer. You should take the opportunity to visit different parks in your chosen area; the owner or manager will be delighted to show you around, answer any questions, and perhaps arrange for an informal chat with others who live on the park.
The law for park home living differs according to where the park is located in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
'Park homes; know your rights' is published by government and is available to download here.
Further guidance is available on line www.gov.uk/park-homes-guidance
Park homes law in Wales and Northern Ireland is similar to England.
However, the law in Scotland is quite different.
(The law can also change so it is important to check the current circumstances when purchasing.)
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