Mobile Home Parks

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:35 pm on 2nd March 2009.

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Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) 10:35 pm, 2nd March 2009

I congratulate Mr. Gummer on securing this debate on park homes. The case that he has outlined is extremely distressing, and I wish Mr. and Mrs. Ellis all the very best. Unfortunately, it is clear from the right hon. Gentleman's contribution and from interventions by Mr. Turner and my hon. Friend Mr. Devine, that there is a culture of unscrupulous behaviour and bad practice in this sector on the part of site owners.

I think that the House would accept that, as the right hon. Gentleman himself said, that those owners represent a minority of the sector and most sites are managed by professional and competent persons who maintain good professional and sometimes caring relationships with their residents. In support of that view, I am very much aware of the efforts of the trade organisations to secure high standards of performance and behaviour among their members and to promote good practice.

Unfortunately, as the right hon. Gentleman said and as I often see from correspondence I receive directly from residents or through hon. Members, professionalism is not universal in this sector and the standards of management on some sites are clearly woefully inadequate. Moreover, as the right hon. Gentleman said and if what is reported is correct, a few cases that I have read about are criminal—quite literally criminal. Because of their vulnerability, many park home residents—very much like Mr. and Mrs. Ellis—are simply not able to stand up to those owners. As this industry promotes itself as being particularly suitable for the older members of our community, it must cater for their needs as consumers, yet some site owners clearly take advantage of and exploit their residents—precisely because of their vulnerability. The truth is that, in some cases, we have to accept that only enforcement with meaningful penalties—focused and targeted enforcement—is likely to change behaviour or drive the unprofessional operators out of the sector.

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Leonard Loughrey
Posted on 24 Mar 2009 10:29 pm (Report this annotation)

Age is not the factor, thats the view of the Mr Smalls of park home sites. The Mobile Home Act 1950/1983 as no teeth, we have a dispute and have requested documentary evidence of charges, electricity, LPG, water over a two month period without result, we have been ignored, we pay maximum prices for all utilities. No maximum for metered estates, pitch fees are rised each year without any agreement or improvement to the park being made. We have no recourse its not age or grey matter, we do not have the English Property Law to fight the explotation, we pay rates but fall under the radar of law.