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Posted 19 January 2016
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Parklaw Newsletter Winter 2016



 

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has arrived!

Since 1 October 2015 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) has been in force and park owners of both holiday and residential parks are required to comply with its provisions.

The Act has consolidated much consumer law into one piece of legislation and provided consumers with new additional rights not previously seen prior to 1 October 2015.

The Act’s provisions lay down controls for the type of terms that should and should not be included within contracts and introduce new procedures that should be followed when a customer complains of being sold faulty goods. The terms will apply to any contract a park owner enters with a customer such as purchase agreements, licence agreements, sub-letting agreements and booking terms and conditions.

All park owners must comply with the Act as the consequences of not doing so can be significant such as being unable to enforce your agreements.

 

We are here to help – Free Consumer Rights Act Audit

To assist park owners in ensuring they comply with the requirements of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 we are offering all park owners a free audit of their contracts such as purchase agreements, licence agreements and sub-letting agreements.

We’ll be able to advise you whether we think your contracts comply with the Act, whether any changes are needed and provide a free quote for assisting with those changes.

If you would like to take advantage of this offer send us your documentation at parks@tozers.co.uk

 

Assured shorthold tenancies – the changes

Recently, our Parks blog highlighted that since 1 October 2015 various changes have come into force which affect a park owner’s obligations regarding assured shorthold tenancies.

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Park owners in England are now obliged to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in any mobile home they own and rent out for residential occupation. Depending on the layout of the mobile home more than one alarm may require installation.

The alarms will also need to be tested at the beginning of each new tenancy agreement.

 

Ending an assured shorthold tenancy

Park owners who grant tenancies after 1 October 2015 for the residential use of mobile homes which they own, will be required to provide the Tenant with prescribed information such as a gas safety certificate and a government information leaflet called “How to Rent”. Park owners will also be required to use a Government prescribed form when issuing a section 21 notice to bring the tenancy to an end.

All of these requirements only apply to England and do not apply to Mobile Homes Act Agreements.

 

Increased fees for planning applications in Wales

From 1st October 2015, local planning authorities in Wales will increase their charges for planning applications by approximately 15%.  The increase in fees will apply to applications for full, or outline consent and for reserved matters approvals.  Additionally the increase will apply to applications for certificates of lawful use or development; consent to display advertisements; applications for non-material changes to planning permission; deemed applications for planning permission;  site visits to mining and landfill sites; and certain applications relating to Permitted Development rights.

The changes are a result of new regulations affecting Wales only:  The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications and Site Visits) (Wales) Regulations 2015.

Whilst this change will be unwelcome to anyone looking to carry out development on their parks, the Regulations will also give applicants an opportunity to reclaim fees if the local planning authority does not determine their application within a specified time.

 

Second chance for victims of interest rate swaps mis-selling to claim compensation

A claim by a Tozers parks client against Barclays for the mis-sale of an interest rate swap product has made national news. The Times and Reuters have both reported the decision of His Honour Judge Havelock-Allan QC to grant our client permission to add a new claim that Barclays was unfair in the way it conducted the FCA review of the sale of the swap, in this case a structured collar. Barclays had made a final offer of compensation which our client considered insufficient but there was no mechanism within the review itself to challenge that outcome.

The ruling is important because it gives parks which have been the victim of interest rate swaps mis-selling a second chance to claim damages if the bank has failed to conduct the review process correctly.  And they can do so even when their claim against the bank for the original sale is already time-barred.

The potential impact of this decision is huge for banks which have been making low offers or putting their parks customers into alternative, often still unsuitable, interest rate hedging products.  It is estimated that thousands of dissatisfied park owners have been denied hundreds of millions of pounds of compensation which they might have received had the banks conducted their review differently.  We anticipate that many of those customers will now wish to re-assess their chances of redress.

 

Further parklaw advice

If these issues could affect you and you want advice please contact the parks team on 01392 207020 or email parks@tozers.co.uk

 

 

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