At present, pitch fees on residential parks in England are linked to the Retail Price Index ("RPI), whereas in Wales they have for some years been linked to the Consumer Price Index ("CPI")
The Government has made a commitment to change the law in England to bring it in line with parks in Wales and in June 2022 Christopher Chope MP introduced a private member’s Bill (the “Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees) Bill”) to amend the Mobile Homes Act by altering the basis of pitch fee reviews in England from RPI to CPI.
Historically, CPI is typically lower than RPI, so the change is likely to be welcomed by park home residents, but not by park owners.
The Bill has already gone through all of its stages in the House of Commons and is currently awaiting its Second Reading in the House of Lords. It is almost certain to come into force early in 2023 as there is no opposition to it in Parliament. However, no date for the Bill to become law has yet been fixed.
Once the Bill is passed, any pitch fee review notice served on or after the date when the new legislation comes into force (which will be two months after the date when the Bill receives Royal Assent) must limit any inflationary increase to the pitch fee to no more than the equivalent increase since the last pitch fee review date in the CPI, rather than RPI. The Bill also makes clear that site owners will not be allowed to try to pass on the difference between CPI and RPI to residents once the Bill has come into force. The new law will apply to all existing and new Mobile Homes Act regulated agreements in England.
Until the new law comes into force, parks are entitled to continue to apply RPI to any pitch fee reviews under the existing wording of the Act. Pitch fee review notices served before the date when the Bill comes into force will be unaffected by the change, provided the pitch fee review date is before the date when the Bill comes into force.
If there is a dispute between the park owner and residents about the proposed pitch fee increase, this must be referred to the First Tier Tribunal within three months of the review date, as at present.
We will publish any further updates as and when they arrive.
UPDATE: Second reading passed through the House of Lords without amendment. The Third reading is scheduled for 24th March 2023 if passes this stage it goes on to Royal Assent. Once Royal Assent is given the law will be in force two months later.
The Mobile Homes (Pitch fees) bill was granted Royal Assent yesterday 2nd May 2023 (14.37 hrs) and becomes law in 2 months on 2nd July 2023. All pitch fee review notices (England) issued on or after that date must use CPI, not RPI in their calculations (Wales already uses CPI)