MPs take concerns over "bullying" of park home residents to Minister
Arun MPs Nick Herbert, Nick Gibb and Sir Peter Bottomley met the Housing and Planning Minister last week (Wednesday 1 March) to raise their concerns about the treatment of park home residents in the District.
The MPs, who were joined by Councillor Terence Chapman and officials of Arun District Council, had been contacted by numerous park homes residents who reported harassment and unfair charges levied by owners.
The delegation proposed amending park homes legislation to protect residents from these unfair practices. The Minister listened sympathetically to their concerns and said that there would be a potential opportunity to close loopholes in a forthcoming review of the Mobile Homes Act 2013.
Last night (6 March) the BBC South's Inside Out programme reported on the conditions faced by residents of a number of park homes sites owned by Silver Lakes Property Investment Limited. BBC reporter Jon Cuthill told of how “some residents say they’re living in fear of extortionate bills, massive legal fees, and even eviction.”
The BBC’s investigative report focused on the issues experienced by residents living on Beechfield Park in Aldingbourne, and Marigolds in Bognor Regis. The contracts held by some of the residents on these parks contain a ‘unique’ clause through which the site owner is able to pass on charges that should otherwise be included in the pitch fee.
In the programme, Sir Peter Bottomley said: “It’s quite clear that some park home owners are clearly being exploited. They are being exploited by intimidation, by bullying, by costs and by fees that aren’t justified.”
Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel & South Downs, said: "We've been deeply concerned about the bullying of park home residents by owners, with unfair charges being levied followed by legal threats to enforce payment. There are clearly loopholes in the legislation which need to be closed, and we were very grateful to the Minister for giving us a sympathetic hearing."
Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, said: “I am very concerned about the problems being encountered by some park home residents. It is very clear we need an urgent review of the current legislation and that we need to improve and strengthen the law to give them better protection.
“Arun have been working extremely hard to enforce the law as it currently exists. We now need to ensure that Arun and other local authorities have the powers they need to protect vulnerable residents.”
1. BBC South Inside Out (6 March 2017) can be watched on iPlayer here (6/3/17): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08h4kn6/inside-out-south-06032017.