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Park Home Sales

Volume 504: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

The Petition of persons resident in the constituency of Mid Dorset and North Poole and others,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that unscrupulous park owners are able to force home owners to accept lower than market value prices for their property, by demanding interviews with prospective buyers and raising unreasonable objections to purchases.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring forward proposals to amend the Mobile Homes Act 1983, in order to create the following requirements: that a park owner should not have the right to demand an interview with a person buying a home; that where a park owner believes an interview is necessary, that interview should be held in the office and in the presence of a lawyer with a registered legal practice; that in such a case the lawyer must be satisfied that the reasons for the interview are reasonable, that statements made by the park owner are not fraudulent, and that the buyer’s references are satisfactory; that the lawyer concerned must be acceptable to both parties and shall before the interview make himself aware of the contents of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 and other associated legislation; and that the park owner must meet the cost of the lawyer’s services.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Annette Brooke, Official Report, 9 December 2009; Vol. 502, c. 467 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

The Secretary of State recognises the concerns of the Petitioners regarding interference with the sales of park homes. The Secretary of State also recognises that interference with the sales process is just one of a number of methods that a minority of site owners engage in in order to exploit, intimidate, or harass their residents or to prevent them from exercising their rights.

The Secretary of State is committed to the following package of reforms that will protect residents:

(1) Transferring the jurisdiction for dispute resolution from the courts to the Residential Property Tribunal. From April 2010, subject to Parliament's approval, residents will have quicker, cheaper, fairer and greater access to justice.

(2) Reforming the site licensing system so that incompetent, unscrupulous and criminal people are not permitted to run residential park home sites. A consultation paper, published in May 2009, proposes a more robust park home site licensing system where only “fit and proper persons” can hold park home site licences and local authorities will have duties to impose management conditions in licences and a range of enforcement tools to ensure that site licensing conditions are complied with. The proposals are intended to drive up the management standards with a view to preventing exploitation of residents and ensuring they are able to exercise their rights. Where management standards are unacceptable local authorities will have powers to put alternative management arrangements in place. The consultation closed on 4 August 2009 and it is anticipated that the Government Response will be published shortly. Proposals will be taken forward at the earliest legislative opportunity.

(3) Reforms to the Mobile Homes Act 1983 to improve the transparency and workability of the terms implied in residents’ agreements. As part of these reforms we will consider what changes are needed to the sales process. We will consult on proposals in 2010.