This update has a range of issues we have been campaigning for, including;
- Our campaign regarding the RPI to CPI Pitch fee cost and 10% commission charge.
- The Government’s £2 billion green Homes Scheme for which grants are available for Park Homes
- A shocking revelation by the Dail Mirror exposed donations to the government and US-style caravan parks to solve the housing crisis. We have included a suggested letter you can send to your local MP – written by the Park Homes Policy Forum.
RPI to CPI. and 10% Commission Charge on Park Homes
On the 3rd September 2020, members of the House of Lords debated Fit and Proper. During that debate, Lord Greenhalgh said the following about the 10% Commission Charge:
“The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, raised the issue of the 10% commission on the sale of a home. Under the Mobile Homes Act 1983, a site owner is entitled to a commission of up to 10% of the price of a mobile home upon sale. The Government recognise that the payment of a commission has divided opinion over the years, continues to raise concerns and creates uncertainty with residents and site owners. From previous reviews that have looked at this issue, it is clear that there are likely impacts on residents and site owners if changes are made to the rate of commission that is payable. Therefore, any ongoing debates or discussions about changing the commission rate must be based on data, facts and an accurate assessment of the impacts on the sector. There is currently no data available to accurately measure any of those impacts, which is why the Government have committed to research to gather the relevant data. We have undertaken some initial scoping work to identify gaps in the existing evidence base to ensure that the research is thorough and comprehensive.”
As you will all be aware, after your successful campaigning for an independent and transparent review of the Commission Charge that included the sight of the site owners’ accounting and had the proviso that if the 10% were changed, nothing would be added to the pitch fee. The government promised to undertake that review and also to reduce RPI to CPI (when parliamentary time allows.) At this point in time, there is little more that I can tell you on that front; however, should you wish to read the full transcript of the debate, it can be found on HANSARD. Meanwhile, we wait for an outcome “when parliamentary time allows!”
The Government’s £2 billion Green Homes Scheme
Park homes are also eligible for grants. Please click on the link below for full details:
Daily Mirror Revelation – US-Style Caravan Parks to Solve Housing Crisis
Millionaire Tory donor pushes US-style caravan parks to solve the housing crisis – Mirror Reporter: Nick.Sommerlad@mirror.co.uk
If, after reading this shocking story, you feel strongly about the content and would be prepared to ask your MP to question the Minister. Please see the suggested letter (posted below) that has been written by the Park Homes Policy Forum. If you agree with it, perhaps you might like to send it to your MP.
You can also check out the piece below on the Park Homes Policy Facebook Page.
NOW – WE ALL NEED TO ACT – AND QUICKLY! Campaign for your Park Home rights
Some councils have already agreed with park owners that those on council house lists can move into caravans sited in residential parks. This week, the Park Homes Policy Forum received further notification that one rogue owner had been granted permission to use attached land to accommodate refugees. Seemingly none of the residents who had purchased their homes in what were private parks had been consulted. The Forum is aware of some, where occupying home-owners have frequently needed to call upon the police to deal with imposed rowdiness, antisocial behaviour and night-time drug dealing, the park owners turning blind eyes because the council pay them a far higher rent than the usual pitch fees, the councils content because they are off their books.
Each and all of us will strongly empathise with the plight of anyone who is not properly housed, and very many would welcome and embrace them. But this is NOT the answer to the problem. The failures of successive governments to provide anywhere near adequate social housing should not be dumped upon those who had never anticipated such moves.
There are two key issues: The first is that this responsibility should not be farmed out to the private sector for-profit and certainly not to known rogue park operators. Otherwise, everyone with capacity or hoping to expand their sites will each look to jump on the cash bandwagon.
WE NEED ANSWERS. As we have said many times, only numbers count, and this is YOUR opportunity to have your voices heard. Don’t just leave it to others and if you cannot do it today, plan to do it tomorrow! If it helps, the Park Homes Policy Forum have drafted the letter below. You can adapt it or simply paste and copy it, passing it to your neighbours. Send them to your MP. Your only real costs will be postage stamps. The letter asks that your identity is not publicly revealed, and they will adhere to that request.
Letter to your Local MP
Dear……………. (My MP)
Park Home Owners, their friends and families were encouraged to vote conservative in the last election after repeated assurances that the market would be rid of the crooks. Not only have we been seriously let down by their enabled expansion, but it also was not then expected that the
The governing party would accept their money, nor do private deals with them. The government has said that the introduction of the 2013 Act and the added powers afforded to councils have brought about improvements. Other than curtailing overt sales blocking, those directly involved in the sector can confirm that the abuses and negligences exercised by rogue operators have worsened.
A recent investigation has revealed that the conservative party has accepted cash donations from perhaps the most prolific abusers of mostly retired residential park home residents in the UK. The donating company, Best Holdings Ltd., (Director and main beneficiary Alfred Best.) was formed after others were shut down by the insolvency services in the public interest following the 2012 Park Homes Select Committee, since moving on to afford concealed short-term leases to sham and insolvent companies, whilst selling homes to the unwitting that did not have planning consents, issuing its own occupancy Agreements that removed most afforded protections under the Mobile Homes Act and continuing to evade its largely unenforced licence conditions – Almost all, with highly noticeable impunity.
The investigation also revealed the private raising of £105 million in a scheme intended to use static caravans to house social tenants, said in the investment prospectus to have been approved by this government. Whilst park homeowners have strong empathy for those needing homes, the unsuitably housed, the homeless and refugees, some councils are already using existing residential parks for such purposes, with no notifications or consultation with the residents who purchased their homes in good faith and who did not envisage such radical changes.
The Park Homes Policy Forum is now asking for an urgent public statement to be made by the Housing Minister, so the following questions can be answered:
1. Why has the governing party accepted cash donations from long notorious abusers of the rights afforded to retirees in a vulnerable housing market?
2. What plans does the government have in using static caravans for social housing, and what specific backing has been given by the government to the scheme currently raising £105 million for such purposes?
3. What assurances will the Minister provide that such estates will not also be operated by abusers, rogues and criminals and what precautions will be taken to ensure that invested funds are not derived from the proceeds of UK or international crime?
4. What assurances will the Minister provide to existing Park Home Owners that under the intended easing of planning consents, councils will not be further enabled or encouraged to use already established private parks for social housing purposes?
5. Finally. The government is to introduce Fit and Proper Criteria. The MHCLG has since confirmed that there is nothing to prevent councils from passing the costs of processing applications on to residents. What measures is your department prepared to take to prevent those costs from being passed on, given that the need for that criteria is a direct result of failures by successive governments and majority councils to effectively control rogue ownership?
In seeking unambiguous answers to these clear questions and for reasons that will be already understood, we ask that our identities are not publicly revealed. However, we look forward to hearing how and when you will seek these ministerial clarifications.
If you have a Residents Association, you can represent your members. If you do not have an Association. Please find volunteers to organise the mailing.
WHO IS MY MP: Click on the link: https://www.mysociety.org/wehelpyou/see-a-list-of-every-mp-in-parliament/
See other news updates through our articles here.