News – Buying & Selling Questions

Q How do the costs compare with conventional housing?

A They compare very favourably, and many people find that the sale of a larger family house provides sufficient cash to buy a luxurious, modern park home with enough funds left over to provide financial security. As to the actual costs, these 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

Q What if I don’t want to use my own funds to buy?

A Loans for park home purchase are available from a small number of national finance companies that specialise in park home finance. Park home loans are available as both fixed rate and variable rate schemes and with repayment periods of up to 25 years. The lenders in this market are by and large specialists in park home lending with many years experience and are able to help you with the entire buying process.

Q How else are my interests protected when buying?

A A new publication covering the law relating to buying and living in a park home in a fair and equal manner is to be available shortly from the Department for Communities and Local Government. It incorporates recent legislation and recognises that both home and park owner share a common aim: a well-run Park Home Estate where the benefits of park home living can be enjoyed and the purchase of a park home is secure for the future. Until this publication is available, you can obtain a Park Homes Fact Sheet (August 2006) by visiting the Government’s website at www.communities.gov.uk or by telephoning their Park Home Officer on 0207 944 6226 – he will be happy to help you.

Q Should I only buy on a licensed residents park?

A Yes, most definitely. The protection offered by the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amended 2006) applies to licensed residential parks – and is not available to holiday parks. There are also important differences between a residential park home, which is designed and built for year round residential living, and a caravan holiday home, which is constructed to different standards to reflect its use as leisure accommodation. So in your own interests, and to safeguard the value of your investment, always ensure that your prospective park has a local authority site licence for residential (not holiday) use.

Park Lifestyle
Q How are Park homes different from conventional houses?

A  Unlike conventional homes residential park homes can be regarded as modular housing, which is scaleable to create homes of differing lengths and widths. The only real difference is the method of construction and that they come fully furnished. Other than this, a modern park home resembles in every way an attractively designed traditionally built bungalow with a pitched roof; once inside, there is nothing to suggest that you are anywhere other than in a fully equipped and luxurious modern dwelling. There will be good-sized living areas and a separate kitchen, built-in cupboards and wardrobes, one, two or three bedrooms and fitted bathroom. Central heating and double-glazing are installed as standard, and so is carpeting throughout.

Q What are park fees and how much should I budget for them?

A Park Fees are charges raised by the park operator to cover the upkeep and maintenance of the parks shared amenities and facilities. These fees vary up and down the country depending on the location of the park, and range from around ?750 to ?1750 per year. Increases in fees can only be made in accordance with the requirements of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amended 2006).

Q What protection for owners does legislation offer?

A The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amended 2006) gives owners of park homes security of tenure – and that is probably its single most important safeguard. It also gives the owner the right to sell the home on the park, and the right to leave it to certain members of the family.

Q What are the main advantages of park home living?

A The social benefits are those most readily appreciated by many. Residential parks are very much communities where no-one need suffer the sense of isolation so often felt by people in retirement – especially those who move away from familiar surroundings. Individual privacy is, of course, respected, as it would be anywhere. However, most park home owners do 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 parks are semi-sheltered environments often with a resident owner or manager to provide additional security. Many park owners invest heavily in creating carefully landscaped and well laid-out surroundings with plenty of pathways, sitting-out areas and other facilities for residents to enjoy. Parks making exceptional efforts to improve and protect the natural environment can earn a David Bellamy Conservation Award through a scheme run in conjunction with BH&HPA.

Q Are most park residents retired?

A Yes: about 80% are in or near retirement – although some parks do have a higher proportion of couples where one or both go out to work on a full-time or part-time basis. In future we may well see an increase in the number of  younger couples opting for residential park life. For the present, however, they mostly benefit indirectly through the release of lower-cost housing onto the market when elderly couples sell up and move into park homes. There are currently an estimated 200,000 people living on home parks, representing some 96,000 park homes.

Q Can I bring my pets with me?

A Some park home developments allow domestic pets, although many don’t. Often park owners allow new residents to bring existing pets, but they can-not be replaced when the animal ‘passes away’.  It is always best to check with the park owner before purchase and, of course, pet owners should always ensure that their pet does not cause annoyance to other residents.

Technical
Q From what materials is the home built?

A Built on a steel chassis, a park home is timber framed and provided with a tough and durable weatherproof exterior, plus a textured finish, styled to resemble traditional render. Constructed to British Standard BS 3632 (2005), particular attention is paid to achieving a high level of insulation – often of equal or superior value to cavity wall buildings. This keeps heat loss and future energy bills to a minimum. Park homes, in common with other forms of modular housing, are designed for easy maintenance, and owners are therefore unlikely to be faced with the sudden high repair bills that are a common feature of bricks-and-mortar.

Q How is the home actually built?

A It’s not so much ‘how’ as ‘where’ which makes the main difference. Like many types of modular housing, park homes are constructed under carefully controlled workshop conditions, before being thoroughly checked and transported to the park. Here they are sited on a concrete base and connected to all mains services such as electricity, drainage and sometimes mains gas. In theory, these prefabricated homes can be disconnected and taken by a low-loader to another location – but in practice most park homes stay throughout their lives on the original plot.

Q What is the typical life expectancy of a Park Home?

A  Modular housing like modern Park Homes is extremely robust and longwearing. Properly maintained, prefabricated park homes should easily last for up to 50 years and beyond.

Q What guarantees do I get?

A All new Wessex homes are covered by the Gold Shield 10 years warranty scheme.Buying & Selling

Q. What if I don’t want to use my own funds to buy?

A. Loans for  purchase of prefab homes or prefab log homes are available from a small number of national finance companies that specialise in leisure lodge finance. Leisure lodge loans are available as both fixed rate and variable rate schemes and with repayment periods of up to 15 years. The lenders in this market are by and large specialists in leisure lodge lending with many years experience and are able to help you with the entire buying process.

Q How else are my interests protected when buying?

A The Code of Practice for Selling and Siting Holiday Caravans sets out industry-approved ‘minimum standards’ for the services provided by park owners. Its provisions include an acknowledgement of your right to take independent advice on any aspect of an intended purchase, be this from a surveyor, lawyer or any other professional. The Code of Practice also requires park owners to provide you with certain written information to consider before making a decision.

Additionally, the NCC has recently introduced a Holiday Park Fair Trader scheme whereby member parks:

Have achieved a minimum level of 3 stars under the British Graded Holiday Park scheme.
Are regularly assessed by an independent assessor to have met the schemes criteria in full.
Fully comply with the Code of Practice.
Are committed to high standards of customer care.
Q Should I only buy on a licensed holiday park?

A Yes, most definitely. The Park Owner has to ensure that the operation of the park follows the detail conditions laid down in the site license. So in your own interests, and to safeguard the value of your investment, always ensure that your prospective park has a local authority site licence for holiday use. This license should be on display and will clearly state the opening times of the park. Many open for 10,11 or 12 months but some have seasons just from 1st March – 31st October.

Q Do I actually own the plot and the home?

A No. The written agreement allows you to station the luxury lodge you have purchased on a plot, which is owned by the park owner, usually for a period of at least 20 years. You should always check this with the park operator before you commit to making the purchase.

Q What if I decide to sell?

A You have the right to sell either privately, through an agent or to the park owner. Before you sell your home and assign your agreement you must notify the park owner of your intention and the price required. You must keep the park owner informed of negotiations because they must give their consent to any prospective purchaser. However they are not allowed to withhold their permission except on reasonable grounds, which must be given in writing. The park owner is entitled to a transfer fee of up to 15% of the purchase price when the agreement is re-assigned to a new purchaser.

Park Lifestyle
Q How are prefab log homes different from Log Cabins?

A The real differences are the method of construction and that prefab homes generally come fully furnished. A modern Wessex leisure lodge is prefabricated in a covered factory then shipped to its destination and professionally sited and connected to the required services like electricity and water. Once installed, your luxury lodge becomes a fully equipped and luxurious holiday home. Inside there will be good-sized living areas and a fully equipped kitchen, built-in cupboards and wardrobes, one, two or three bedrooms and a fitted bathroom. Central heating and double-glazing are usually installed as standard, and so is carpeting/flooring throughout. On the other hand log cabins are built on site timber by timber, and manufacturers use timber of different thickness and this will reflect in the quality and cost of the cabin.

Q Where can I site my leisure lodge?

A There are over 500 holiday parks across the U.K. They vary from large bustling holiday villages to smaller and much quieter ‘get away from it all’ retreats, so its mainly about matching your needs with the facilities and atmosphere of the site. For example if you have school age children, a swimming pool and organised activities for them might be high on your list of priorities. Whatever style and size of holiday park you choose, bear in mind that the nearer and easier it is to get to, the more use you’ll get out of it. Most families will find that a drive of 2-21/2 hours is more than ample.

Q What are Park Fees and how much should I budget for them?

A Park Fees are charges raised by the park operator to cover the upkeep and maintenance of the parks shared amenities and facilities. These fees vary from region to region depending on the location of the park, the size and position of the designated plot within the park and the facilities offered on-site. Typically, park fees for prefab log homes range from around £1500 to £3000 per year.

Q How long can my lodge be sited on the park?

A Your lease or agreement with the park operator will state the term; you should look for a minimum of 20 years. It also gives the owner the right to sell the home on the park, and the right to leave it to certain members of the family.

Q What are the main advantages of leisure lodge living?

A Leisure lodges make stylish and comfortable homes where couples and families alike can make the most of their leisure time together. Wessex leisure lodges are imaginatively space planned with generous living areas, both inside and outside. They can be used all year round, where the parks license permits. There is a wide choice of parks in all sorts of locations. Most park owners invest heavily in creating carefully landscaped and well laid-out surroundings. Many developments have swimming pools, spas, restaurants, adventure playgrounds and other facilities on site for owners to enjoy, whilst others are designed with a more restrained, back to nature feel in mind. The purchase of a leisure lodge can also make a sound buy to let investment with many parks welcoming and even managing rental arrangements for homeowners.

Q Are most lodge owners families with children?

A All sorts of people make the decision to invest in a leisure lodge, from busy working couples seeking a quiet weekend retreat away from the pressures of city life, to families looking to enjoy quality leisure time together in an attractive environment, with lots of activities to hand. It really depends on the size, facilities and location of the site, so make sure you visit and see for yourself that the style of the site is ‘in tune’ with your lifestyle.

Q Can I bring my pets with me?

A Some leisure lodge developments allow dogs and other domestic pets, although many don’t. It is always best to check with the park owner before purchase and, of course, pet owners should always ensure that their pet does not cause annoyance to other residents.

Technical
Q What standards are leisure lodges built to?

A In the main leisure lodges are built to either British Standard 3632 (2005) or British Standard European Norm 1647. All Wessex leisure lodges are built to BS 3632 (2005) a full residential specification with standards of construction and insulation making it viable for all year round use. Provided that the park has a twelve-month license, you will be able to use your lodge at any time of the year, but for holiday purposes only. BS EN 1647 does not have the same insulation standards as a BS 3632(2005) lodge and therefore can only be used during the warmer months of the year, or during the time that the lodge park is open in the holiday season

Q From what materials is the home built?

A Built on a steel chassis, a leisure lodge is timber framed and provided with a tough and durable weatherproof exterior cladding. Particular attention is paid to achieving a high level of insulation – often of equal or superior value to cavity wall buildings. This keeps heat loss and future energy bills to a minimum. Leisure lodges are designed for easy maintenance, and owners are most unlikely to be faced with the sudden high repair bills, which can a common feature of a traditionally built bricks-and-mortar holiday cottage.

Q How are prefab homes actually built?

A It’s not so much “how” as “where” which makes the main difference. Prefab homes like leisure lodges are constructed under carefully controlled workshop conditions, before being thoroughly checked and transported to the park. Here they are sited on a concrete base and connected to all mains services such as electricity, drainage and sometimes mains gas. In theory, a prefab log home can be disconnected and taken by a low-loader to another location. However, in practice most leisure lodges stay throughout their lives on the original plot.

Q What is the typical life expectancy of prefab log homes like a Leisure lodge?

A Modern leisure lodges are extremely robust and longwearing. Properly maintained, a home should easily last for up to 50 years.

Q What guarantees do I get?

A All new Wessex leisure lodges are covered by the Gold Shield 10 years warranty scheme. You should always make sure that your chosen park is affiliated to the scheme.Requirements for a park home used as a permanent dwelling. Minimum requirements for sizes of rooms, requirements for means of escape, stability, thermal insulation, installation of heating, cooking and sanitary equipment and water supply.

Cross References: BS 476:Part 3*BS 476:Part 7*BS 715*BS 1188*BS 1945*BS 5410:Part 1*BS 5423*BS 5440:Part 1*BS 5446:Part 1*BS 5482:Part 2*BS 5493*BS 5503:Part 1*BS 5503:Part 2*BS 5572*BS 5589*BS 5601:Part 1*BS 5608*BS 6262*BS 6539*BS 6575*BS 6700*BS 6760*BS 6762:Part 2*BS 6762:Part 3*BS 6778*BS 6891*BS 8233*Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act, 1960*Caravan Sites Act 1968*BS 5250*BS 7671*PD 6484*Mobile Homes Act 1975*Asbestos Products (Safety) Regulations 1985*Asbestos Products (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1987*Consumer Safety Act 1978*Asbestos (Prohibitions) 1988*Health and Safety at Work etc.Act 1974*Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations 1988*Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations 1989*Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations 1993*Gas Safety (Installation and use) Regulations (and amendment) 1990*

Keywords: Mobile buildings; Caravans; Housing; Design; Dimensional space requirements; Dimensions; Size; Doors; Windows; Means of escape from fire in buildings; Fire safety in buildings; Fire safety; Walls; Glazing; Stability; Anchorages; Thermal insulation; Sound insulation; Ventilation; Space-heating systems; Heaters; Water supply and waste systems (buildings); Sanitary appliances; Marking; Signs; Warning devices; Instructions for use; Roofs; Architectural design; Mathematical calculations; Trading standards; TSS