Park Home residents
Cornwall has many Park Home communities, occupied by over 3,400 residents across the county. This is twice the average for the whole South West region.
Park homes are usually restricted to occupancy by people over the age of 55 and are promoted as an ideal retirement option. Residents may be ‘downsizing’ or require a cheaper alternative to conventional housing due to restricted means.They are small and potentially easy to maintain whilst offering a sense of community and a safe environment.
However a high proportion of park home residents are considered vulnerable and may be in receipt of means-tested benefits and/or disability related benefits. The inadequacies of some park homes in terms of poor energy efficiency, reliance on expensive forms of heating and restrictions imposed by site owners can increase the difficulties faced by vulnerable people.
Issues with Park Homes
- Not considered a permanent residence so do not have to meet building regulation standards.
- Energy Performance Certificates cannot be provided for park homes so prospective purchasers cannot compare the energy efficiency of park homes to conventionally built properties.
- Park homes are built to last approximately 25 years, yet some are a lot older. Those built before 1996 have a particularly poor level of insulation.
- Residents have limited access to competitively priced forms of heat. Bulk LPG, bottled gas and oil are the usual heating options.
- Utilities are often purchased through a site owner and residents may be restricted to a single supplier and unable to shop around for the best price.
- Permission is required for any alterations to properties which complicates improvement works.
- Park homes are often poorly insulated. For example a thin layer of mineral wool is used when constructed. This sags over time in the walls and becomes ineffective.
- Roofs are either flat and therefore uninsulated, or pitched with fragile access and hence difficult to treat for heat loss
Insulating your park home means you will be able to enjoy:
- A warmer, less draughty home.
- Reduced condensation and mould on internal walls.
- Improved soundproofing.
- A reduction of your heating bills of up to 40%.
- A refreshed external appearance of your home. The weatherproof finish also reduces the need for repainting and maintenance.
Cornwall Council is encouraging residents living on park homes sites across the county to set up a Qualifying Residents’ Association (QRA). If there is no QRA on your site already, please see contact information below. To help them maintain their park homes residents database, Cornwall Council are also asking park home residents to get in touch and provide their contact details to receive information about matters relating to living on a park home site.
Contact Cornwall Council’s Park Home Resident Enquiries team on 0300 1234 212 (choose option for park home residents) or email ParkHomeResidents@cornwall.gov.uk
For more information on QRAs, the LEASE Park Home Advisory Service is the government-funded, national independent advice for park home residents and residential leaseholders, providing free advice on residential and park homes and leasehold law. They are an independent body and only advise leaseholders and park home owners. All of their advisers are legally qualified and can provide initial advice and guidance on residential park homes law, enabling you to make an informed decision as to what appropriate action you may need to take, if you experience an issue relating to your park home. They also offer advice on establishing a QRA.
If you need advice, their extensive website is a great place to start: parkhomes.lease-advice.org. If you still need advice, you can get specific advice from their experienced advisers by contacting Freephone 0808 196 2212.