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New rights will give park home residents the protection they need from unscrupulous site owners, says Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
The Minister said the laws coming into force from this week will help root out the rogues who prey on the vulnerable and make their residents’ lives a misery.
Park homes, which often cater for the older generation, offer many people an affordable opportunity to escape to the country. But some dishonest park home operators abuse their position, bullying and intimidating their residents and manipulating the law to make a profit at their expense.
In some cases site owners have lied to prospective purchasers about the conditions of homes and even dug holes around homes to make them unsaleable.
Mr Pickles said that the new laws now in force will make these underhand tactics a thing of the past. The rules:
- remove site owners from the park home buying and selling process, meaning that residents cannot be forced to, or prevented from, selling their park homes to fill the landlord’s pocket
- it will also be harder to impose unexpected charges or changes of rules
- local authorities will have more power to enforce breaches, making it easier to prosecute a site owner who harasses residents.
He also launched a new national helpline, operated by the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), which will be available from Tuesday for residents to get advice on their rights when selling or gifting their home.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
For many, a park home lifestyle is a peaceful retirement ideal, but it only takes a few dishonest site owners to blight the industry by preying on vulnerable residents and neglecting their duty of care.
That’s why we’ve now called time on the crooks, giving residents the rights they need and protecting them in law. I would urge any park home resident wanting to know more to call the LEASE helpline from this week, to get the advice they need.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:
For too long, some unscrupulous operators have made residents’ lives a misery, intimidating people and manipulating the rules to turn a quick profit. So we’ve closed the loopholes to root out the rogues and ensure that those who run an honest business will flourish.
We’ve also given councils the power they need to protect the vulnerable, so park home residents who know their rights will be able to enjoy their rural retreats in peace.
Notes to Editors
- The Mobile Homes Act 2013 gives more rights to people who live in a park home on a residential pitch. Changes include:
- a modern reformed local authority licensing regime for park home sites, to ensure local authority are properly funded for exercising their powers and have sufficient tools for enforcement action
- a new regime for selling and purchasing park homes, which excludes the need to seek the approval of the site owner
- certain site rules to be banned and all remaining rules to be re-made in consultation with residents, to prevent site rules being used inappropriately to block sales etc
- reform to the pitch fee review process to ensure greater transparency and reduce the opportunity for exploitation
- changes to the criminal law (relating to park homes) to make harassment easier to prove and to create an offence of providing false information when a home is sold.
There are approximately 85,000 owner occupied mobile homes (commonly known as ‘park homes’) on 2,000 sites in England.
- A new Park Homes advice line, run by the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) will be available on 0207 383 9800 from Tuesday.
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