Help with Selling a Home on Stud Farm Park

Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert. Don’t take anything you read here about Park Home sales as definitive fact. The UK Government has published fact sheets for you, and you should read and be guided by them when planning the sale of a Park Home – and/or seek expert advice.  (Peter).

Having – hopefully – “covered my “back” with the disclaimer, I am now free to provide you with my understanding of the process, and links to where to get information and the necessary forms to fill in.

Background

The UK law regarding Park Homes changed very significantly in May 2013. You need to read the Government fact sheet “Selling or Gifting a Park Home“.

There is a lot involved nowadays, and numerous forms to complete. Below you will find my very unofficial “question and answer” guidance – specific and relevant to our Park – which I hope may help you.

Can I sell my park home to anyone I choose?

Yes – but your buyer needs to confirm that they meet all of the terms and conditions of the Stud Farm Park Rules, and can carry out their obligations under the Written Agreement (which – in effect – is the ongoing “contract” between the home owner and the site owner.)

Do I need the site owner’s permission to sell?

No you don’t – and you don’t have to tell the site owner that you are planning to sell.

If I want to use an estate agent, can it be any agent that I choose?

Yes. You can involve an agent or not, and you can choose which.

Do I need an energy performance certificate in order to sell?

No you don’t.

Is a survey a legal requirement?

No. That is between you and the buyer to agree. When you send details of the sale to the buyer you will need to let them know whether a survey has been carried out.

What responsibility do I have?

You are responsible for making sure that you give the buyer full and accurate information so that they can make an informed decision about whether to go ahead. If you do not do this, the sale may fall through at a later stage. If the sale goes ahead, and during the process you failed to reveal relevant information that was available to you or you gave information that you knew was false or misleading, you may be legally responsible if the buyer has any problems in the future.

Do  I need a solicitor or other expert?

That is up to you to decide. The Government strongly advise that you should use the services of a professional when selling a park home.

What do I need to do first?

My advice is that even before you have an interested buyer, you can make a start with this form, which you will need to have ready when you do get a potential buyer: Buyer’s Information Form.

Filling out this form and collecting together all the necessary copies of documents that must accompany it is quite a bit of work – so start this job as soon as you know that you are going to sell. The parts that you can’t complete immediately can get filled in later, but you can certainly begin gathering everything together.

The information you need to collate is:

  1. The sale price.
  2. The amount that the buyer will have to deduct from that sale price and pay directly to the bank account of the site owner, as commission, before they pay you the remainder. The commission fee at Stud Farm is 10% of the sale price. (Note that commission is not payable if you gift the home to someone rather than selling).
  3. The current Pitch Fee.
  4. The day on which the Pitch Fee is payable (1st of each month).
  5. The date of the next Pitch Fee Review (December 1st, YYYY).
  6. The services that are included in the Pitch Fee. i.e. Keeping communal areas in good repair and condition, sewerage (excluding maintenance of the United Utilities pumping facility), water supply, insuring the park.
  7. If you are in arrears as regarding the Pitch Fee, details of this.
  8. The Council Tax valuation band (usually “A”.)
  9. Confirmation that there are no outstanding loans secured on the home.
  10. The site owner’s name and address. (Mr. James Robb, Stud Farm Park Homes, Oxcliffe Road, Morecambe, LA3 3EQ.)
  11. The relevant Local Authority name and address (Lancaster City Council, Town Hall, Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 1PJ.)
  12. Details of any ongoing/unresolved legal proceedings relating to the home.
  13. A copy of your Written Statement document.
  14. A copy of the Stud Farm Park Rules.
  15. Copies of recent electricity bills paid to the site owner.
  16. Copies of recent gas bills paid to a supplier.

OK, so I have an interested buyer – what now?

You must give (or post) the Buyers Information Form to the prospective buyer at least 28 days before any proposed completion date (if a date has been agreed). This period can be shorter – provided that you both agree, and provided that the buyer writes to you confirming this.

Do I have to notify the site owner of the proposed sale?

That depends.

If you became an occupier of the home before 26 May 2013, then, you will need to complete a Notice of Proposed Sale form. The provides the site owner with confirmation of the sale price and commission payable and confirmation that the buyer meets the Park Rules. You and the proposed buyer must complete and sign the form and either give or post the form to the site owner.

The site owner can object to the sale – but they can only apply to a tribunal for a Refusal Order on the basis that the person to whom you are selling the home (or someone intending to live with that person) would not meet an existing park rule, either:

• by reason of age,
• by keeping any prohibited animals, or
• by parking prohibited vehicles or more than the number of permitted vehicles.

Provided that there is no objection, (or you have not received a written notification of objection within 21 days) then you can proceed.

If there is an objection, you would be wise to seek professional advice.

If you became an occupier of the home on or after 26 May 2013, then, you do not have to notify the site owner.

Does the site owner have any legal right to contact my prospective buyer, and “vet” or “approve” them in some way?

No. Emphatically no – even if the site owner tells you that they do have such a right, they are mistaken. The site owner is not entitled to demand a meeting or a interview with your buyer. The laws introduced in 2013 are very clear on this. You can sell to anyone you like – provided that they meet the Park Rules, and can satisfy the obligations in the Written Agreement. Furthermore, since 2013 it is a now a criminal offense for anyone to put people off buying a park home by telling lies.

How does the sale proceed?

You need to transfer the Written Agreement to the buyer by completing an Assignment Form. This form is quite brief and to the point, so shouldn’t cause you much concern. The form provides confirmation of the agreed purchase price, the commission payable to the site owner, and the pitch fee payable by the new occupier.

You then give the proposed buyer your forwarding address, and also ensure that they have all the correct paper work, including the completed Agreement form, Written Statement, and the Site Rules.

IMPORTANT: It is also your responsibility to tell  the buyer what they must do after the assignment of the agreement to ensure the transaction completes legally. (See later: “What does the new owner have to do?)

The signing of the Assignment Form is a matter for you and your buyer. The site owner is not involved.

How does the payment proceed?

You should first agree with the buyer final meter readings and apportionment of any outstanding bills. Remember to give the buyer your new address for any future correspondence.

You are entitled to 90 % of the sale price when the sale is completed. The buyer must withhold the remaining 10% as commission, which they pay to the site owner later.

Once you have completed the assignment, handed over the relevant paper work and received payment, you have sold the home and should, of course, hand over the keys to the buyer.

What does the new owner have to do?

Within 7 days of the assignment, your buyer must send the site owner a Notice of Assignment Form together with a number of documents. Again this form is quite brief and to the point, and should not be a problem if the seller has followed proper procedure.

The new occupier will need to sign the Assignment Form, and confirm that the information and documents supplied to them are true and up to date. In particular the new occupier is confirming that they will comply with the Stud Farm Park Rules. The new occupier can give the form to the site owner personally, or send it by post to the site owner’s address. These are the documents that must accompany the form:

  1. A copy of  the Assignment Form
  2. A copy of the site rules
  3. A copy of the Written Statement
  4. Documentary evidence of the price paid for the home.

How does the commission get paid?

After they receive the Notice of Assignment form, the site owner provides the new occupier with details of their bank account.  The new occupier will have 7 days to pay the commission into that account. There is no VAT due on the payment.

Can I give my home to someone else?

If you own and live in your home, you can give it away and assign the Written Agreement (known as “gifting”) to a member of your family. You can only gift it to a person who is a member of your family, including a spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece, and including half and step-relatives. Your family member will need to prove they are related to you within certain legal definitions. No payment is made, and no commission is paid to the site owner.

Note: You cannot gift a home if you inherited it, but are not entitled to live in it. (See later: “The home owner has died….”)

How do go I go about gifting my home?

You should provide your relative with all the information that you would to a prospective buyer, so that they can decide whether they meet the Park Rules, and can carry out their obligations under the Written Agreement.

If you became an occupier of your home prior to 26 May 2013, then you must complete a Notice of Proposed Gift Form and sign it, and give (or post) the form to the site owner.

The site owner can object to the gift – but they can only apply to a tribunal for a Refusal Order on the basis that the person to whom you are gifting the home (or someone intending to live with that person) would not meet an existing park rule, either:

• by reason of age,
• by keeping any prohibited animals, or
• by parking prohibited vehicles or more than the number of permitted vehicles.

The site owner may also object that you have not provided the site owner with evidence that the person to whom you proposed to gift your home is a member of your family – including cases where the site owner has reason to believe that the evidence provided is not correct.

If there is an objection, you would be wise to seek professional advice.

If you acquired your home on or after 26 May 2013, then you do not need to send a Notice of Proposed Gift form to the site owner – but you do need to provide evidence to the site owner of the family relationship. You do not need the site owner’s permission to gift the home and they have no right to interview your relative.

Provided that there is no objection, (or you have not received a written notification of objection within 21 days) then you can proceed to fill out an Assignment Form, (but omit Section 2 which is only relevant to sales). You must also tell your relative what they must do after the assignment of the agreement to ensure the transaction completes legally.

What does the relative have to do?

Within 7 days of the assignment, your relative must send the site owner a Notice of Assignment Form together with a number of documents (but omitting Section 2, which is only relevant to sales).

Your relative will need to sign the Assignment Form, and confirm that the information and documents supplied to them are true and up to date. In particular the new occupier is confirming that they will comply with the Stud Farm Park Rules. The new occupier can give the form to the site owner personally, or send it by post to the site owner’s address. These are the documents that must accompany the form:

  1. A copy of  the Assignment Form
  2. A copy of the site rules
  3. A copy of the Written Statement.

A Stud Farm Park home owner has died and I inherit the home – what can I do?

If you were not living in the home when the owner died, then:

  1. You cannot rent it.
  2. You cannot move into it without the site owner’s permission.
  3. You must pay the pitch fees and other outgoings.
  4. You must ensure that the terms of the Written Agreement are complied with.
  5. You can sell the home.
  6. You cannot gift the home to a relative.
  7. You do not need the site owner’s permission to sell the home.
  8.  You may need to notify the site owner of the proposed sale – depending upon whether the deceased acquired the home prior to the 26 May 2013 cut-off date – if that is the case, a Notice of Proposed Sale form will have to be sent.
  9. The site owner cannot require you to remove the home from the site or remove it from the site himself. A court order is required to obtain possession of the pitch. This can only be granted in certain circumstances and you must be told about the proceedings. It is illegal to evict you from the site without an order from the court and it is also illegal to harass you into giving up the home.
  10. The site owner cannot require you to sell the home to them, and nor are they entitled to first refusal on the sale.