Government announces consultation on park home licensing

The Government has published a consultation paper on reforms to park homes and mobile home / caravan site licensing.  It is intended that the proposals would put the park home sector on a sustainable footing for the long term, allowing site operators to run good businesses, offer a decent service to residents and ensure that home owners can live peacefully in their homes knowing that the law protects them from abuse.

 

The consultation is aimed at tackling a number of complaints made by residents of some mobile home site operators, for example:

 

  • blocking an owner’s sale of their home – without justifiable reason;
  • neglecting their sites and failing to make adequate repairs; and
  • charging excessive pitch fees, breaching site rules and stopping owners from improving their homes.

 

The proposed changes include:

 

  • changing legislation to improve other residents’ rights to reflect their status as home owners by, for example, allowing them to carry out home improvements without seeking permission;
  • strengthening the rules around the sale of mobile homes so that unscrupulous operators cannot interfere with owners selling to a qualifying buyer who they have chosen;
  • ensuring compliance with site licence conditions by enabling the courts to impose unlimited fines on operators who do not manage their sites properly;
  • allowing local authorities to make a reasonable charge on site operators for their licensing services, which they are currently unable to do; and
  • giving local authorities the power to carry out works on sites in an emergency or where the site operator has been found guilty of a breach of the licence, and charge the cost back to them.

 

If you would like to take part in the consultation, which is open until 28 May, please do so via the Department of Communities and Local Government website at:

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/mobilehomeowners

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21 Comments

  1. Lord Blagger
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    More regulation. More mandarins. More massive pension liabilities. More cost on the taxpayer. More regulation

    Yep, onwards and upwards to bigger government.

    • MickC
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 5:35 am | Permalink

      Well, actually this is an area which requires some attention.

      People pay large amounts for the pitches on these parks, only to find that,sometimes, when they come to sell the park owner blocks the sale for specious reasons in order to make an unjust profit.

      The legislation should be short and simple, like the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act, I hope.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like another and counter productive, interference into freely entered into contracts to me. Rather like all other attacks on landlords it will probably use a sledgehammer to miss the nut and create more parasitic jobs for lawyers and civil servants. Probably benefiting few bar them.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Many are vulnerable pensioners and people on low incomes this is why they live in mobile homes. The cases of intimidation and rip off contracts enforced by fear is a very common story. With at least one in my local paper.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        I do have some sympathy here and actually agree that there can be a real problem (as there can be with freeholders exploiting the legal system to rip off leaseholders). This perhaps needs to be addressed by having a proper legal system. I suspect though, that the regulation will, as I say, use a sledge hammer to miss the nut as usual. Also that this will generate many pointless jobs and usually will benefit few outside the legal and regulatory professions.

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    What a surprise – now they have noticed that caravan parks exist, they want to tax and regulate them.

    I don’t doubt that there are some unscrupilous park owners out there, but I suspect that they won’t bother too much with the new rules. However, the good guys out there will end up having to put up costs to cover the added administration, which will inevitably have to be passed on to the residents.

    Whenever the dead hand of the State becomes involved, it always goes sour….

    • Bazman
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Usual nonsense. Have a think as to why the government needs to apply this legislation. It is because the parks are unable to regulated themselves.

  4. Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks – have posted the link to the consultation on Facebook.

  5. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Park Home sites could make for a viable part of the solution to our housing crisis. They provide excellent, detached, accommodation for the money.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Have you ever been in one of these ‘caravans’ Nice in summer, not so good in winter. One in my locality is on contaminated ground. Contaminated enough to be inadvisable to eat any vegetables grown on the land.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        In-laws lived in one for twenty years and I stayed in it often. It was spacious, well designed and affordable.

        I sense that they regret leaving it.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      My Mum’s friend lived in one .

      They used to sell for over £100,000 each . This suggests to me that the real scandal in the UK is due to profiteering from Land , not the improvements made to it .

      I’d like to see the principle of private ownership of surface rights replaced by the “right to exclusive use of the commons” in return for a charge which benefits the whole of society rather than a few land speculators and land owners .

      Banks did not like to lend because they depreciate whereas permanent buildings typically don’t .

  6. forthurst
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Any ‘reasonable’ charge applied to site operators would be passed on to caravan dwellers. Will this concept of reasonableness be given pecuniary clarification? A lot of local authority licences appear to be more about revenue colection than ‘service’ provision. Why not tackle the issue of those who live on boats or are they not a (word left out) minority in need of special protections like caravan dwellers?

  7. Jim
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    (there is a danger that this could be used by law breakers -ed) to effectively takeover private caravan parks. If the owner can no longer veto any sale to ‘undesireables’ then its very simple – make one person on the site a very attractive offer (or just find someone desperate to sell and buy them out for cash) then move in, act unsociably, drive down the value of the other vans, which can then be snapped up by your mates offering ludicrously low prices. Then the owner of the land will have a site completely populated by tenants who refuse to pay their rents, create havoc, commit crimes, will intimidate and threaten the owner, who will then be made a stupid offer to sell the freehold, and be forced to accept as there will be no alternative.

    Both the site owner and the majority of the van owners will lose vitually everything they have built up. Another great success for State regulation as a way to destroy the lives of hard working people.

    Reply: I am sure Ministers seeking to improve the position of Park Home dwellers will not wish in any way to harm the legitimate business interests of good Park HOme site owners, and will wish to see the law enforced against anyone who seeks to act in an anti social way.

    • Jim
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      In the same way that planning laws are currently (not) enforced on certain (people-ed)

      Reply: Planning law should be enforced fairly. I Am well aware of the disquiet caused if someone gets away with development on land without permission. Councils have enforcement departments that are meant to stop that.

  8. Stephen Almond
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    The Government has published a consultation paper on reforms to park homes and mobile home / caravan site licensing. It is intended that the proposals would put the park home sector on a sustainable footing for the long term,

    Enough to strike fear into the heart of any person…
    Mind you, there isn’t much else wrong with the country for the government to tackle!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/22/female-genital-mutilation-uk-medics?newsfeed=true

    • MickC
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Sorry, as above mentioned, this is a real problem for park home owners, usually people without funds to go to court. Necesssary intervention to help real people with real problems-again as above, the solution should be easy and simple.

  9. ian wragg
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    But no consultation on a referendum on leaving the EU r anything else of real importance.
    Burns Rome fiddles Nero while, rearrange

  10. alan jutson
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Agree something needed to be done, but does it have to be so complicated.

    Leasehold agreements vary and are not all the same.
    Some Freehold agreements have certain covenants.

    Surely its is just a matter of making such sites conform to leasehold agreements as per traditional housing, backed up with the same legal coverage.

    After all the Park home owners are only leasing the land on which they site their own caravan/home.

  11. Barbara Stevens
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The Jordainian terrorist can get legal aid, but a mobile home owner who may not be able to afford litigation, does not have assistance. There are some bad moble parks owners about, and the law needs to be modernised to protect them. I welcome this, but it needs a fair playing field when it comes to the law and getting it. So it might not work out for the poorer people living on such sites. You cannot fight in the courts if you have no money.
    Again, there are many good park sites, and being able to sell to all and sundry may not be benefiical to the park it’s self. That gave some people protection against bad tenants and mobile home owners, keeping the park homes up to scratch. Some how if this goes down the pan the wrong way it will be another blame the Tories will have to shoulder.

  12. Cowboy Builder
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Some of the people who posted here are ignorant of the criminality in this under-regulated sector of the housing market, exposed in this series of articles in the Daily mirror’s housing archives:

    http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/housing/

    Have a look at this Channel 5 “Cowboy Traders” programme:
    http://www.channel5.com/shows/cowboy-traders/episodes/episode-3-398

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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