Before 26 May 2013 paragraph 8(1) of Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983) (“the 1983 Act”) implied that mobile homes on protected sites in England benefited from a term that the occupier was entitled to sell the mobile home and to assign the site agreement to a person approved by the owner of the site (“owner”) whose approval was not to be unreasonably withheld.
But if an owner withheld consent to a proposed sale and assignment unreasonably there was no equivalent of the statutory right to damages for unreasonable refusal conferred on tenants by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1988.
If, after receiving notice of a proposed sale, the owner wishes to object to it, the Mobile Homes Act 2013 (“the 2013 Act”) makes the owner apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (in England).
The time limit for such an application is just 21 days beginning with the date on which the owner received the notice of proposed sale (“the 21-day period”) and the owner must give notice of the application to the occupier within the same period.
The grounds on which an owner can oppose a proposed assignment are also very restricted.
In Wyldecrest Parks (Management) Ltd, Re 11 Scatterdells Park  the Park was a protected site within the meaning of the 1983 Act. The respondent gave notice to the appellant of the intended sale of their mobile home and assignment of their pitch agreement to someone who wanted to keep two dogs at the mobile home. The appellant considered this would be a breach of the pitch agreement.
By letter dated 10 October 2013 the appellant informed the respondent that they were applying for a refusal order and gave its reasons.
On 11 October 2013 the appellant applied for a refusal order.
The tribunal refused to make a refusal order, but by that stage the proposed purchaser had withdrawn from the purchase.
The 2013 Act distinguishes between pitch agreements made after 26 May 2013, which are referred to as “new agreements”, and those made before that date which are “other agreements”.
Section 10 of the 2013 Act introduces two new paragraphs into Schedule 1 to the 1983 Act:
– paragraph 7A concerning new agreements; and
– paragraph 7B dealing with other agreements.
Paragraph 7B(4) of the 1983 Act now provides that, if within the the 21-day period the owner applies to a tribunal for a refusal order, but the occupier does not receive notice of the application from the owner within that period, the application is to be treated as not having been made, and the occupier is entitled to sell the mobile home and assign the agreement without the approval of the owner.
The issue in this appeal was whether, paragraph 7B requires that notice of an application for a refusal order must be given by an owner to an occupier after the application has been received by the Tribunal or whether, as the appellant contended, notice of the application may be given before the owner has applied to the Tribunal for a refusal order.
The appeal condition, with its requirement that notice be given that “the owner has applied” indicated that notice could not be given prospectively of an event that had not yet occurred. Were it otherwise the occupier would be left uncertain whether the application, it had been given notice of, had actually been made.
Both the application and the notice (in that order) must therefore come within the 21-day period.
The Tribunal said it ought to be permissible for an owner, who has in fact sent an application for a refusal order to a tribunal, to give a notice to the occupier saying that an application “has been made”, even before receiving confirmation from the tribunal itself that the application has been received. The language of the first condition would seem to admit of that. But it was not necessary to express a concluded view on that issue.
This blog has been posted as a matter of general interest. It does not remove the need to get bespoke legal advice in individual cases.