In November 2021 we ran the following headline and text:
ALARMING RISE IN PITCH FEES EXPECTED NEXT YEAR
Park Home residents can expect big pitch fee rises next year. The UK rate of inflation has been rising rapidly from a low of just over 1% in January 2021 to an unprecedented high, compared to recent years. The Office for National Statistics November report on the October levels of inflation, show the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) at 4.2%. The Retail Prices Index (RPI) stood at 6%.
Unfortunately for park home residents, annual pitch fee increases are based on the RPI and if increases continue, we could see a 7% rise in fees for 2022. For a monthly pitch fee of £150 this would represent an increase of £10.50 per month.
We got the prediction right but the figures oh so wrong! Who woudl have believed that the Novwmber 2022 RPI figure would be double our prediction at 14.2% and set to go higher into 2023. Residents expecting a review in January will see a minimum of 15% increase and agsinst the Scottish average of around £148 oer month, this represents an increase of over £22 per month (£266.00 per year). Sure and thankfully, the state pension and benefits wil rise by 10.1% from April 2023 meaning an extra minimum £750 for pensioners, but as we show above, the pitch fee increase will take a third of that away immediately.
Also, our figues are based on a Scottish average. We know of one site where the current 2022 fee is £175.90 which could rise to over £200 per month!
The only light at the end of this very dark tunnel is the Scottish Government's intention to change the annual increase base to CPI rather than RPI, in the Housing (Sotland) Bill 2023, which s good, The UK parliament are debating abolition of the commisson charge later this year and again we will predict an outcome. The charge wil probably remain, but reduce to 5%. We base this on a UK Government report published in September 2022 which suggested that 0% commision would affect the viabilty of some parks, but a 5% rate woudl be neutral. If this comes into force in England, it wil quickly be replicated in Scotland.
Can these huge rises be fought? Not really, as they are written into law in the Scottish 2013 regulations. Do site owners require to raise fees by the fll amount? NO, they can use a lower rate if they want to. We know of two 'good owners' who are actively looking at how they can help their residents with these increases but we fear these will be a minority.
We are oftern asked if there is any way to resist an increase? Only if there has been a 'decrease in the amenity of the park since the last pitch fee review'. That ia another whole can of worms which we wil return in our advice pages.