MP targets rogue mobile home site owners

May 6, 2009 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

by Anna Rutter

An independent witness should be present at interviews held between site owners and prospective purchasers of mobile homes prior to any sale in order to ensure that vulnerable people are protected, Liberal Democrat Annette Brooke told MPs.

Introducing her ‘Sale of Mobile Homes (Interviews) Bill to the House, Ms Brooke stated that there was great will amongst park home site owners to enhance the status and reputation of the sector by finding new ways to address bad practices, and to get the right balance between business sustainability for site owners and the needs of residents.

Furthermore, park homes provided a useful addition to the supply of housing and would have greater potential if the balance could be improved, she added.

The Bill would prevent unjustified interference by a site owner when residents sold their park home, she explained, and deny rogue site owners the opportunity to make misleading or untrue statements and intimidate prospective buyers.

Such practices could lead possible buyers to decide that they did not want to live on a park run in such a way with the sale falling through. After this has been repeated a few times, the seller may eventually sell the home to the park owner for a token sum, she said.

In addition, the site owner usually avoided court action as there was no witness statement and the potential buyer was nowhere to be found.

Therefore, the incentive for the site owner was to buy the home for a small sum, remove it from the park and site a new and bigger home on the pitch, making a profit of perhaps £100,000, Ms Brooke explained.

It was perfectly reasonable for site owners to wish to check out prospective buyers, she acknowledged, but stressed that abuse and possible fraud could be prevented by requiring an independent witness to be present at such meetings.

Informing the House of a recent meeting with Police Minister, Vernon Coaker, she explained that the Minister had been very responsive to the need for existing legislation to be available to park home owners, but stressed that witnesses were needed.

Concluding, Ms Brooke declared that the proposed Bill was about the prevention of abuse and the protection of vulnerable people when they came to sell their homes.

The proposals would also protect site owners against any untrue allegations, she said, and called for support from all parties in the House.

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