Sarah Kemp from SJP Law attended the British Holiday and Homes Park Association’s (BH&HPA) Park Roadshow in Harrogate on 30 November 2017.
As solicitors to the caravan and holiday park industry, SJP Law became National Associate Members of the BH&HPA in December 2014.
The main speakers at the roadshow included BH&HPA National Chairman Paul Searle, Director General Ros Pritchard, Jackie Gawen from Chiltern Consulting and Nick Mountifield from Compass Insurance.
Key developments to note:
1. Re-sale of utilities
In a recent case, the Upper Tribunal ruled that the liability to the customer to pay for electricity, piped LPG and sewerage services on a residential park is limited to:
(a) the standing charge and unit price of electricity delivered to the pitches at the rate paid by the park owner to their supplier;
(b) unit price of electricity required to operate the sewerage system at the rate paid by the park owner to their supplier;
(c) cost of piped LPG delivered to pitches at the unit price paid by the park owner’s supplier; and
(d) charges of contractors instructed by the park owner to empty and service the sewerage systems and the fee paid to Environment Agency.
The Tribunal concluded that the cost of administering and maintaining the utilities should be included in the pitch fee. Park owners who charge more than the unit rate may be unable to recover the excess charges if there is no provision within the express terms of the agreement with the customer to include these charges within the pitch fee.
Whilst there is not yet a case to determine the resale of utilities on holiday parks, or the re-sale of bottled LPG rather than piped LPG, it is evident that these issues are on the government’s radar and their review will be a matter of when rather than if.
2. Succession planning
The introduction of the Residence Nil Rate Band earlier this year has encouraged park owners to consider the different methods for leaving assets to intended beneficiaries and the benefits of looking at succession planning early. Tax is an important part of succession planning and getting it right can make an enormous difference to the amount your beneficiaries receive. Leaving it too late or failing to think about it can have very expensive consequences.
For more details please see our article on Succession Planning.
3. Hot Tubs and Health & Safety
New HSE guidance has been released that addresses domestic hot tubs used in commercial settings. View the guidance.
In summary, to control legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems, the HSE advises that park owners should take the following steps:-
In relation to privately owned hot tubs located on a customer’s own pitch, advise the customer on an annual basis of the risk of legionella and provide the customer with a copy of the HSE’s guidance and instructions on the maintenance of spa-pools;
In relation to hot tubs installed and used as part of a business activity (i.e. installed on hire fleet pitches and hired out to the public), test the water twice a day and change the water on every change over of customer; and
In relation to commercial hot tubs installed in a commercial establishment or public building (i.e. installed as part of a spa or pool complex), test the water every two hours.
4. Preparing for the GDPR
Park owners are asked to be aware of the changes to the data protection regulations that are coming into force in May 2018. Members are encouraged to carry out a full audit of the data that they hold and how it is stored, take note of the changes to how it can be used, and the consents that are required when data is collected.
5. Review of Park Homes Legislation
The government has released Part 2 of its review of the Mobile Homes Act 2013 and is calling for feedback from the industry.
The BH&HPA asks that park members respond positively to the consultation to avoid too much change to the legislation going forward.
6. Park Home Sales
There have been important changes to the procedure for park home sales on residential parks - for agreements with customers entered into post 26 May 2013, the customer does not have to send the park owner a notice of the proposed sale of their park home. The park owner has no right to apply for a refusal order and will only find out about the sale once it has been completed.
7. MPLC Licencing
Since June 2016, an MPLC licence is required for public exhibition of films and TV programmes in public or staff areas. This is in addition to the requirement for a TV licence, PPL, PRS and any other commercial subscription (e.g. Sky). It is not currently required for TVs in guest/staff accommodation but this may be introduced in the near future.
The licence is not required if the TV only broadcasts live sport or news. However a robust approach is necessary to ensure that only live content is shown.
The overall consensus of the roadshow was positive, with many in agreement that the caravan and holiday park industry is experiencing a boom period.
SJP Law will be attending the annual BH&HPA conference in London in February 2018 and looks forward to meeting with you again to help drive your businesses forward.
If you would like further information on any of the issues mentioned in this update, or would like support with any aspect of running your holiday park, please contact Sarah Kemp or Alistair Latham on (0)1482 324 591, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com