23 Nov New to buying a new park home?
We are delighted to bring you an article direct from our very own James Sumner, Associate Director of Warfield Park.
If you are thinking of buying a park home or would like some more information on the properties available at Warfield Park, make sure you contact us and a member of our expert team will be delighted to guide you through your options; call us on 01344 884 666 or email us.
Buying a Park Home
Park homes are becoming more and more popular, and not just with the older people but younger couples and families looking for more affordable homes and to live in real communities. But park homes are different to traditional brick-and-mortar homes both in terms of the way they are constructed and the legal structure under which they are bought.
When you do choose to buy a brand-new park home, your chosen site might have some new homes for you to choose from. Or, if there are empty plots available, you may be able to specify one from your chosen park home manufacturer. There are, however, various things you should check.
Check that the park home manufacturer is a member of the National Caravan Council (NCC). If so, the park home will be built to British Standard BS 3632:2015. The current standard. This is similar to Building Regulations for bricks-and-mortar homes and sets standards for elements such as walls, roof, windows, doors insulation and heating, as well as water, gas and electric supplies, ventilation systems, and maintenance of the park home. It also includes the dimensions of the park home itself.
Check that the park home you are buying has a good warranty, such as GoldShield. If you are buying from the park owner, check it is covered by a reputable warranty provider. When you have bought you need to be clear who has responsibility for registering a new park home with that warranty provider.
A good warranty will protect you from any major defects found in the structure of your park home within, typically, the first 10 years. It is similar to the NHBC 10-year insurance typically provided for most new bricks and mortar homes.
A park home is factory-built consisting of a timber frame mounted on a robust steel frame. Being factory built there are real opportunities for purchasers to have their new home tailored to their particular needs and desires. This includes layout, design and specification, sustainability and finishes. Your manufacturer will be able to assist you with this.
Park homes built to BS3632:2015 are inherently energy efficient. New park homes are as energy-efficient as new bricks-and-mortar homes, and significantly more energy-efficient than the majority of the existing housing stock across the country.
Check for the site licence from the local authority – every park must have one. To occupy a park home the licence must be for residential use, not 12-month holiday use. The licence covers matters like homes spacing, fire safety, the condition of roads etc. Check to ensure the park has planning permission as a permanent residential park, open all year – possibly not an issue on an established park but it’s worth checking.
Ask to see the park rules. Most sites will have these and it is important to find out in advance what they are. These rules regulate everything from the height of garden fences and the dimensions of garden sheds and in some cases the colour of your home’s exterior. Many are common sense, such as noise restrictions, speed limits and parking limitations.
Some others, however, might affect your decision as to which park to choose. For example, most sites have rules on the age of residents – some parks won’t let you move in if you are under 50 years old, while others may have a minimum age of 45, or 55. Some have no age restrictions.
Park owners are required to consult with residents if they wish to introduce new park rules.
You will also be required to pay a pitch fee. This is usually monthly and represents the ground rent for the pitch where your park home is. The fee also contributes towards the upkeep of the park, the common areas, facilities, safety, roads, lighting and so on. Pitch fees increase every year to take into account inflation – ask about the history of increases as that will give a good indication of how they may increase in the future.
Before increasing pitch fees, the park owner must complete a Pitch Fee Review Notice and provide 28 days’ written notice, explaining the proposed changes in detail. Any disputes over increases are resolved through a Government tribunal.
Enquire whether water, electricity and gas are provided through the park or if you can deal direct and select your suppliers. The latter will enable you to choose the best deals on the market whereas with the former you will be charged by the park at a rate set by OFWAT and OFGEM under their regulations, as the park has to administer and maintain the local supply networks.
You will need to pay your own council tax, which usually falls into Band A, the cheapest category.
And finally, legal
You will be asked to sign a Written Statement under the Mobile Homes Act before you can occupy your new park home. It sets out the park owner’s obligations and your obligations to them. It can include details of pitch fees and other costs such as utilities as well as the homeowner’s duty to keep their home in good repair and the site operator’s obligation to keep the park well maintained.
Although buying a park home does not involve a transfer of land, it is always best to seek legal advice during the process.
Get in Touch
If you would like to know more about living in Warfield Park or would like to write an article for our blog you can call us on 01344 884666 or email us. If you would like to keep up with all the park news, make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.