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Plain and positive

Plain and positiveHousing Minister Mark Prisk is adamant that all park home residents will be able to find out about the new legislation in an easy-to-understand printed format

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP (pictured right) has declared that his department (DCLG) will produce a plain English guide to the new legislation and distribute it widely. Better still, he said it would be printed – the department would not be relying on internet downloading and distribution. Not only will this publication set out what the park home resident needs to know now, but also where they can go to get further help and advice.

Mr Prisk was speaking at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Welfare of Park Home Residents in mid May and he had plenty of good news to impart. As well as the promise of a plain English guide to the legislation, he said his department would also be issuing various fact sheets. Better still, independent and free advice would be available from LEASE – the Leaseholders Advisory Service.

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A new era for park home owners

Fresh StartThe Mobile Homes Bill has now been debated and had its second reading in the House of Lords. Hopes are high that it will be enacted in early summer

The new legislation which will give greatly improved rights to park home residents is well on its way to coming into force. Having completed its passage through the House of Commons, it is now with the House of Lords where it had its second reading in early February. At the time of writing, we are awaiting a date for the committee stage when it will come under minute, line-by-line scrutiny.

Speaking about that stage, Baroness Hanham, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Government, commented that she hoped that any amendments would not be pressed to a vote or supported. ‘Amendments will cause delay and very likely result in the Bill not completing its passage before the end of the session,’ she warned. ‘That would mean that it could not be enacted, which would be a huge blow to many thousands of people whose rights and health and safety would be better protected by its measures.’

However, the mood of the second reading debate was very positive and among many valuable contributions there was a very welcome one from Lord Graham of Edmonton who has worked so tirelessly for more than 30 years to improve the lot of those living in park homes. Although he has been in poor health recently, Lord Graham was determined not only to attend the second reading debate but also to participate fully in it.

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More rights for holiday home buyers

maylegal88The National Caravan Council has launched a scheme aimed at promoting best practice in the industry and raising standards of professionalism and customer service

It has long been a cause for concern that owners of holiday homes (static caravans and lodges) have few consumer rights (unlike park home residents who have legislative protection).But all that has changed with the launch, by the National Caravan Council, of its ‘Approved Holiday Park – Holiday Home Ownership’ scheme. This scheme covers the purchase and sale of new and pre-owned holiday homes and the agreement to occupy a pitch on a holiday park. The aim of the scheme is to promote best practice and raise standards of professionalism and customer service across the industry. The NCC scheme establishes an important benchmark for holiday parks offering holiday home ownership and aims to promote best practice and raise standards of professionalism and customer service across the industry. At the heart of the scheme is a Consumer Code of Practice, which is modelled on the Office of Fair Trading consumer code criteria. The code establishes the standard, which is then monitored and policed through the scheme. Before an NCC member park can achieve ‘Approved’ status it must undergo a rigorous independent assessment that reviews its operations against the code.

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Is your home properly insured?

Is your home properly insured?It’s important to have the correct type of insurance for your park home, which could even save you money on your premiums. Here are some tips to help out

With all the recent floods, many people are looking hard at their home insurance to make sure they are properly covered in the event of floods, or other weather damage. Park homes are just as vulnerable as traditional brick-built homes, so it’s important to make sure you are properly insured.

1 Do your research
For buildings insurance, it’s best to go to a broker who knows about park homes, or who specialises in them. Many of them advertise in this magazine.. Read more...

The Mobile Homes Bill moves a step further towards becoming law

Legsl helpFollowing the debate during the Second Reading of the Mobile Homes Bill, it was published (see December issue, page 76) and went forward to the Committee Stage in late November where its provisions were scrutinised in great detail.

In that Committee, Mr Don Foster, Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, thanked members for the development of the Bill, adding that it was important because it will bring some redress to older and vulnerable people living in mobile homes who sometimes suffer at the hands of unscrupulous park site owners who have no respect for their rights or their health and safety.

Adding that he was pleased to be supporting the Bill on behalf of the Government, he said that when it is enacted it will make a huge difference to the lives of many mobile home residents. ‘This light-touch legislative proposal will not impact significantly on those site owners who run decent businesses operating within the law,’ he said. ‘Basically, the Bill creates a level playing field to ensure that there is not unfair competition from unscrupulous site owners who ignore their obligations and the rights of others. It will help to put the industry on a sustainable footing for the future – one in which good owners can flourish and unscrupulous owners will wither.’

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A united front wins through

Dec76legalThe second reading of the Mobile Homes Bill goes ahead unopposed. We report on this momentous development for park home dwellers

The Second Reading of the Mobile Homes Bill was debated in the House of Commons on 19 October and was passed unanimously. It will now be subjected to minute scrutiny at the Committee stage and hopes are high that it will be enacted in the spring of next year.

The Bill’s sponsor, Peter Aldous MP, had previously stated that Private Member’s Bills were required to be short, and therefore he was only going to address three aspects of the many wrongs that needed to be righted within park home legislation. He has kept to that plan, but even so the Bill runs to a massive 15 clauses.

As it is anticipated that the Committee Stage will see a great number of amendments before the Bill goes forward to its next stages, we are not going to produce it in total here, but will try to summarise its salient points.

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