Aldous speaks up for park home residents

Waveney MP Peter Aldous today spoke up for park home residents in a debate on Park Homes in the House of Commons.

Aldous was speaking after writing to constituents living in park homes in the Waveney Constituency asking for any problems they are experiencing in relation to living in a park home. The responses received by Mr Aldous highlighted the problems experienced by park home owners trying to sell their homes, facing delays and high commission charges.

Mr Aldous also welcomed the Government’s intention to transfer jurisdiction for park homes to the Residential Property Tribunal Service which will provide home owners with a more level playing field for resolving disputes with park owners and will give them an opportunity to have a say on the management of their site to ensure that maintenance work is carried out as and when it is necessary and they do get the service for which they have paid.

Mr Aldous said:

“I was very pleased to be able to use in the debate today the responses I received to my invitation to park home residents in the Waveney area to highlight their problems to me. I look forward to the Government announcing a timetable for the introduction of Residential Property Tribunal Servicein relation to park homes. Many of the people living in park homes are elderly and have particular issues, for example, with the charges to heat their homes during these cold winter months. I will continue to welcome representations from constituents to ensure I can best represent them and understand the adequacy of the new arrangements the Government is set to announce.”

FULL TEXT

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Member for Mid Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) on securing the debate. I wish to speak in support of the motion, which provides us with an opportunity to raise the concerns of a group of residents whose needs are often overlooked.

Park homes provide an affordable alternative to mainstream housing. Quite often, park home owners are retired and have a limited income. Living on a park has the attractions of both security and affordability and provides the opportunity to build up a community spirit. That said, although it would be wrong to paint all park owners with the same brush as being unscrupulous and unsympathetic, there are concerns that home owners do not have a proper channel for voicing their concerns. They need to ensure that their contractual rights are honoured and that park owners provide them with a good service in return for the money that they pay.

One husband and wife in my constituency have contrasted the service that they received in the 1960s with what they get now. Back then-in different times and with different standards, I admit-in return for £2 a week there were clean and well-kept lavatories, proper baths and a wash house with steaming hot water for the weekly wash. Now, in return for a site rent higher than the monthly council tax bill, the only service provided is street lighting and the occasional filling in of potholes.

I welcome the Government's intention to transfer jurisdiction for park homes to the Residential Property Tribunal Service. That will provide home owners with a more level playing field for resolving disputes with park owners and give them an affordable opportunity to have a say on the management of their site, to ensure that maintenance work is carried out as and when it is necessary and that they get the service for which they have paid.

We need to improve the process for selling homes. Currently, that can take too long and can be drawn out over a long period, and site owners have an opportunity to interfere with sales for no good reason. We should bear it in mind that many home owners are elderly, and when it comes to a sale, they may need to move quickly to fund, for instance, residential care. The ability of site owners unreasonably to drag out the process must be addressed.

Home owners have also complained to me about the high rates of commission charged on sales-10% is a high figure when one takes into account that the homeowner and not the site owner finds the buyer. Quite often, the sale price on which the commission is based reflects the value of improvements such as porches, insulation and brick skirts, for which home owners pay. It strikes me that there is little justification for such high charges if they are in excess of the actual costs incurred by the site owner. It is said that reducing the commission will lead to higher site fees. My reply is that it is better to move to a transparent system in which fair charges are made for providing legitimate services rather one that relies on outdated practices.

In conclusion, I thank the hon. Member for Mid Dorset and North Poole for securing this debate, and I look forward to hearing from the Minister about the Government's timetable for introducing the tribunal service, and their views on how to improve the sales process to make it fairer to home owners.

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Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018: 
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