Peter Aldous MP welcomes Third Reading of Mobile Homes Bill

Waveney MP Peter Aldous today welcomed the successful Third Reading of his Private Member’s Bill on park homes.

The Mobile Homes Bill has the objective of updating the law relating to park homes, which is at present ineffective and outdated and neither deters unscrupulous site owners from exploiting residents nor provides local authorities with effective powers to monitor or improve the site condition.

It proposes a whole-scale reform of the park home industry to improve the rights and safety of thousands of park home owners across the country, many of whom are elderly and vulnerable.

The Bill seeks to empower local authorities by enabling them to charge for their licensing functions, serve a notice to remedy a breach of licence conditions and permit them to enter a site to carry out emergency or safety works in certain circumstances.
The Third reading followed Tuesday’s Committee Stage, chaired by John Robertson MP, during which amendments to the Bill were fully considered.

At Third Reading both Peter Aldous and the Government supported an amendment tabled by MPs, Christopher Chope and Peter Bone, which brings forward the date for implementing the local authority licensing provisions in the Bill. These were originally not due to come in to effect until March 2014 as a result of the Government’s freeze on new regulations on micro businesses.

Mr Aldous said:
“I am very pleased that the Bill has secured its Third Reading and now will be considered by the House of Lords. This is very good news as the Park Homes Sector is in need of urgent reform.

By putting a stop to sale blocking and modernising the site licensing regime, a real difference will be made to the lives of park home owners not only in my constituency but across England.

I particularly welcome the fact that there was cross party consensus to the Bill and i am most grateful to those colleagues who attended the Third Reading and fully scrutinised the Bill in Committee.”

The Bill will now be read by the House of Lords before hopefully coming into law in Spring 2013.

FULL TEXT:

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): The purpose of the Bill is to update the law as it relates to park homes, which has become ineffective and outdated. As a result, a minority of rogue site owners have made the lives of some park home owners a misery by not maintaining their site properly and bullying residents and preventing them from exercising their legal rights, particularly when they wish to sell their homes. Members in all parts of the House have come together to right this wrong, and I believe that the challenge has been approached in the right way.

The Bill had the initial advantage of being based on evidence provided through the consultation undertaken by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the inquiry by the Communities and Local Government Committee, and the wide-ranging investigation by Consumer Focus. We then moved on to fully scrutinise the Bill on Second Reading and in Committee. In doing so, the issue arose that my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) described, for which I thank him.

I believe that the Bill achieves its objective of providing an effective and up-to-date legal framework that ensures that the mobile homes sector runs properly and fairly: a framework that drives out unscrupulous and rogue site owners who have made many people’s lives a misery; a framework that gives local authorities the resources to oversee sites properly and provides them with effective licensing powers; a framework with proportionate sanctions and fines that will act as a deterrent to some of the practices that have taken place; and a system that safeguards the interests of responsible site owners and does not penalise them for the criminal acts of others.

The Bill provides hope and optimism for the park homes sector, but there is still work to be done.

Graham Jones (Hyndburn) (Lab): There is a park homes site in Haslingden in my constituency and I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman has brought the Bill forward. I support it wholeheartedly.

Peter Aldous: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. A feature of the debate on the Bill has been the support from all parts of the House.

Mrs Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest) (Con): I thank my hon. Friend on behalf of the many people who have suffered in park homes over recent years, and whose suffering will be relieved because of the Bill. He has done them a tremendous service in getting the Bill to this stage.

Peter Aldous: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her kind words. I echo them back to her for the sterling work that she has done and for her impassioned speech on Second Reading.

There is still work to be done to help park owners to obtain a better understanding of their agreements, rights and obligations. We must address the issue of fuel poverty, which affects many park home owners in a variety of forms. I discussed that matter yesterday evening with the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker).

I hope that the Bill will now move on to the other place, where the noble Lord Best will take the lead in its scrutiny. I conclude by thanking the right hon. and hon. Members, site owners, park home owners and their representatives, and officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government who have given me so much support in promoting the Bill. Time does not permit me to name them all. I commend the Bill to the House.

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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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