WELCOME NEWS FOR PARK HOME RESIDENTS ACROSS WORCESTERSHIRE
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WELCOME NEWS FOR PARK HOME RESIDENTS ACROSS WORCESTERSHIRE

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Worcestershire park home residents from Droitwich to Evesham and Broadway stand to gain from new rights that came into force last week.

The new rights provide residents of these homes with the protection they need from unscrupulous site owners. They have been welcomed by Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire, who has been campaigning for the changes for many years.

In the past some park home operators abused their position to make a profit at their residents’ 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.

The new laws 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;
• make it harder to impose unexpected charges or changes of rules; and
• give local authorities more power to enforce breaches, making it easier to prosecute a site owner who harasses residents.

The Government has also launched a new national helpline, operated by the Leasehold Advisory Service, for residents to get advice on their rights when selling or gifting their home.

Commenting Peter said:

‘Although these reforms are long overdue, I’m delighted that the Government is safeguarding park home residents across the county. For too long, I’ve seen here in Worcestershire how some unscrupulous operators have been able to make residents’ lives a misery, intimidating people and manipulating the rules to turn a quick profit.

‘These new protections will close the loopholes to root out the rogue operators and ensure those who run an honest business will continue to flourish.

“Wychavon District Council will also now have the powers to protect the vulnerable, so park home residents will be able to enjoy their rural retreats in peace.”

ENDS


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; and

• 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 (DCLG Press Release, 28 May 2013, link).

There are approximately 85,000 owner occupied mobile homes (commonly known as ‘park homes’) on 2,000 sites in England (ibid.).

A new Park Homes advice line, run by the Leasehold Advisory Service is available on 0207 383 9800 (ibid.).


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