Consumer Focus Wales is calling for local authorities to be given greater enforcement powers to crack down on bad park homes site owners.
Responding to the Mobile Homes (Wales) Bill consultation paper, the watchdog has also recommended that the Welsh Government provide a website, telephone line and clearer guidance so residents, site operators and local authorities have more information about their rights and responsibilities.
Currently, local authorities don’t have any power or the money to punish bad site owners. Consumer Focus Wales argues that the Bill can address this by keeping recommendation to introduce:
- fees for licensing mobile home sites
- enforcement notices to force site owners to make improvements on site
- unlimited fines for serious breaches of the site licence
- fixed penalty notices for minor breaches of the site licence
Lowri Jackson, park homes specialist at Consumer Focus Wales, said:
‘We welcome many of the recommendations in this consultation paper and we are looking forward to the publication of the Bill later this year. We strongly support the removal of the site operator’s veto and the introduction of a fit and proper person test, and we are really pleased to see proposals to give local authorities the right tools to do their job. Any new regime needs to be dynamic, robust and have the legal powers to punish site owners, protect residents and provide a greater incentive to raise the standards of the industry.
‘We would also call for clearer guidance and more information to be provided to residents, site operators and local authorities. We know that many residents, when they have had problems in the past, simply do not know where to turn for help.
‘We want to see the Welsh Government provide money for a website and a telephone helpline as well as publishing information for residents, site operators and local authorities about their rights and responsibilities.
‘This guidance should help more mobile home residents to understand the importance of obtaining legal advice before buying their home as well as where they can go for advice if they encounter a problem and how they can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal to settle a legal case.’
Consumer Focus Wales is also recommending that the site owner’s veto on selling a park home should be removed and be replaced with approved site rules and a standard written agreement.
They are also calling for any fit and proper person test for site owners and managers to include a full Criminal Record Bureau check, not the basic check suggested in the consultation paper. This would better protect park home residents from rogue site owners and managers.
Note to editors
The full Consumer Focus Wales response to the Mobile Homes (Wales) Bill consultation can be read by clicking on following link: