HM COURTS AND TRIBUNALS SERVICE

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TRIBUNAL

Southern Rent Assessment Panel

PARK HOMES

Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended)

In the matter of an Application under Paragraph 8(1)(E) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended)

(Application to the Tribunal for approval of a purchaser of a home where the Site Owner has failed to give approval within 28 days without good reason)

Case Number:              CHI/24UD/PHE/2011/0003

Property:                      Unit C01, Oak Tree Caravan Park, Allington Lane, West End, Southampton, Hampshire, SO30 3HQ

Applicant:                     Mrs Carole Adams

Represented by:            Abels, Solicitors, Southampton

Respondent:                 Mr P.L. Pratt, Island Meadow Parks

                                    (T/A Pratt Developments Unlimited)

Represented by:            Saulet Ashworth, Solicitors, Portsmouth

Date of Application:      Transferred from Southampton County Court (Case No. 1SO01403)

                                    22nd September 2011

Date of Determination:  6th February 2012       

Tribunal:                       Mr J.B.Tarling, Solicitor, MCMI (Lawyer/Chairman)                                                                                                    Mr T.W. Sennett MA FCIEH (Professional Member)                                       

Date of Decision:          8th February 2012                                                                                                

DECISION             

The Tribunal HEREBY DETERMINES that the Respondent Mr P.L. Pratt (Island Meadow Parks) T/A Pratt Developments Unlimited of Oak tree Caravan Park, Allington Lane, West End Southampton SO30 3HQ  is in breach of Paragraph 8 of Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Implied Terms in that he failed to approve a Buyer of a Mobile Home within 28 days of receiving a request without good reason.

REASONS          

for the Tribunal’s Decision

Background to the Application

1.       On 29th July 2011 the Applicant , through her Solicitors, Messrs Abels, sent to the Respondent a written request pursuant to Paragraph 8(1) of Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Mobile Homes Act 1983, requesting the approval of the Respondent to the sale of the Mobile Home to Mr Stewart Docherty. Such written request was accompanied by a “Proposal for Oaktree Park” document which gave full details of the name and address of the Purchaser, details of 3 referees, employment details and other relevant information. The Respondent was requested to give his written approval in writing within 28 days from receipt of the request.

2.       The Respondent replied to the request by a letter dated 8th August 2011, but according to the Applicant that letter was not received by her until 19th August 2011. The period between 29th July and 19th August is within the 28 days statutory period.

3.       The letter from the Respondent dated 8th August 2011 refused consent to the sale of the property to Mr Docherty. A summary of the reasons for the refusal were given in that letter as:

(a) Mrs Adams has built an extension on to the caravan without my written permission.

(b) The present caravan with an extension is no longer a proprietary caravan. This refers to a condition in the Site Licence which requires all caravans to be “of a proprietary or similar type.”

The letter concludes that the Respondent “will agree to remove the refusal if the extension is removed”

4.       The Applicant issued an Application in the Southampton County Court on 24th August 2011 for approval of the Purchaser. Subsequently the Southampton County Court by Order dated 22nd September 2011 transferred the proceedings to the Tribunal.

5.       The Tribunal gave initial Directions on 30th September 2011 requiring the parties to file and exchange documents and directed that the matter be determined at an oral Hearing.

6.       On or about 25th October 2011 the Respondent gave consent to the sale of the mobile home to the Purchaser. This was after the period of 28 days specified in the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended) The Purchaser had by that time withdrawn from the sale.

7.       In view of the change in events and the subsequent change in mind by the Respondent, the Tribunal issued Further Directions on 10th November 2011 directing the parties to file written representations and documents and indicating that the case would be suitable for determination by a paper determination in place of an oral hearing.  Notice was given to the parties inviting them to request an oral Hearing but neither of them requested an oral Hearing. 

8.       The parties both filed their written Bundles of documents in accordance with the Tribunal’s Further Directions.

 

The relevant statutory provisions

9.       (a) Paragraph 8(1B) of The Mobile Homes (Written Statement)(England) Regulations 2006 provides that :                                                                                                                         “8(1)(B) Where the owner receives such a request, he must, within the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which he received the request (a) approve the person, unless it is reasonable for him not to do so, and (b) serve on the occupier notice of his decision whether or not to approve the person.”                                                                                                  

(b) The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1)(England) Order 2006 provides that the statutory provisions shall apply to all Agreements made at any time before 1st October 2006 as well as in relation to such Agreements made on or after that date.

(c)  By Paragraph 8(1)(C) the site owner may not give his approval subject to conditions.

(d) By Paragraph 8 (1)(D) of the Regulations the site owner must specify his reasons if he withholds his approval.

(e) By Paragraph 8(1)(F) of the Regulations the onus is on the site owner to show that any withholding of approval is reasonable.

 

Consideration of the evidence by the Tribunal

 

10.        From the evidence before the Tribunal it is clear that the Respondent failed to give an

unconditional approval to the request within the period of 28 days from its receipt. The Tribunal interprets the Respondents letter dated 8th August 2011 (referred to in Paragraph 3 of this Decision) as imposing clear conditions. In particular the words “the Respondent will agree to remove the refusal if the extension is removed” clearly impose a condition on the giving of consent to the sale. This is contrary to Paragraph 8(1)(C) of the Regulations.

 

11.        In respect of the Respondent’s comments that a formal determination of breach was not

            necessary, the Tribunal considers that the Applicant is quite entitled to have a formal and final

            determination of breach made by a Tribunal. The parties are reminded of the special

provisions for fast-tracking urgent Applications in respect of any future sale contained in Regulation 11 (3) (d) of the Residential Property Tribunal Procedures and fees (England) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011 No. 1007) and this Decision is evidence of breach by the Respondent.

 

12.        Costs.

(i) Both parties’ solicitors requested the Tribunal to award costs “if the tribunal should

            have powers to award costs.” Neither party has referred the Tribunal to any statutory

            provisions which enable it to award costs. The statutory provisions relating to costs is

            contained in Schedule 13 of the Housing Act 2004. This provides as follows:

      12 (1) A Tribunal may determine that a party to the proceedings before it is to pay the costs

incurred by another party in connection with the proceedings in any circumstances falling within sub-paragraph (2)                                                                                                       (2)the circumstances are where-                                                                                                (a) he has failed to comply with an order made by the tribunal;                                               (b) in accordance  with regulations made by virtue of paragraph 5(4), the Tribunal dismisses, or allows, the whole of part of an application  or appeal by reason of his failure to comply with a requirement imposed by regulations made by virtue of paragraph 5;                            (c) in accordance with regulations made by virtue of paragraph 9, the tribunal dismisses the whole or part of an application or appeal made by him to the tribunal; or                               (d) he has, in the opinion of the tribunal, acted frivolously, vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably in connection with the proceedings.

(ii) In this case neither firms of Solicitors have made any specific allegations of frivolous, vexatious, abusive or disruptive behaviour and there is no evidence before the Tribunal that any party has been in breach, or has committed any act, that could fall within any of the matters referred to in those statutory provisions. For this reason the Tribunal makes no order for costs of these proceedings in favour of either party.

13.        Transfer from the County Court

            (i) This case was transferred by the County Court to the Tribunal under the provisions of

            Paragraph 3 of Schedule 13 of the Housing Act 2004. These relevant statutory provisions are

            as follows:

                        3 (1) This paragraph applies where, in any proceedings before a court, there falls for

                        determination a question which a tribunal would have jurisdiction to determine on an

                        application or appeal to the tribunal.

                        (2) The court-

                        (a) may by order transfer to the tribunal so much of the proceedings as relate to the

determination of that question, and

(b) may then dispose of all or any remaining proceedings, or adjourn the disposal of all or any remaining proceedings pending the determination of that question by the tribunal, as it thinks fit

(3) When the tribunal has determined the question, the court may give effect to the

determination in an order of the court

(4) Rules of court may prescribe the procedure to be followed in a court in connection with or in consequence of a transfer under this paragraph

(5) Procedure regulations may prescribe the procedure to be followed in a tribunal consequent on a transfer under this paragraph

(ii) At the date hereof no Tribunal Procedural Regulations have been made regarding the procedure to be followed under Paragraph 3(5) of Schedule 13 of the Housing Act 2004, other than the Residential Property Tribunal Procedures and Fees (England) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011 No. 1007) Regulation 7 of those Regulations deals with transfers of matters from County Courts, but fails to give any detailed provisions as to how a Tribunal should deal with them.

(iii)  The Tribunal hereby directs that a copy of this Decision is sent to the Southampton County Court in case either party wishes to make any further applications to the Court

 

14.        Any party to this Decision may appeal against the Decision with the permission of the

Tribunal. The provisions relating to appeals are set out in Regulation 38 of the Residential Property Tribunal Procedures and Fees (England) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011 No. 1007) The request seeking permission to appeal must be made within twenty-one days of the date specified in the decision notice as the date when the decision was given. The request must be made in writing and dated and signed by the appellant or his representative and must be accompanied by valid grounds of appeal.

 

Dated this 8th February 2012

J.B.Tarling

.......................................

John B. Tarling, Solicitor, MCMI (Lawyer/Chairman)

 

DECISIONOakTreeCaravanPark2012