Caravan 'rights' bill is passed at Stormont
- 16 February 2011
- From the section Northern Ireland
The Caravans Bill has been passed granting legal protection in NI to both those who holiday in caravans and those who live in them permanently.
The bill regulates agreements between occupiers and site owners over the termination of contracts and the sale of caravans.
It also brings the definition of a caravan into line with the rest of the UK.
The Private Members Bill was sponsored by UUP MLA, John McAllister.
It is the first since 1948 to have gone through all the stages of the Assembly to become law and is likely to take effect from the Autumn.
Mr McAllister was congratulated by politicians from other parties including the DUP MLA, Jim Wells, who said he welcomed the legislation.
"It will hopefully stop the situation that saw some people signing away their rights to how they insure, sell and maintain their caravans."
More than 14,000 static holiday caravan owners will also have increased protection including the right to a written contract and to have a greater say in how their caravan site is run.
Jack Moore, who lives in a mobile home in Ballyhalbert in County Down, had been campaigning for the change since 2008.
"It's absolutely fabulous it had gone through, it brings us into line with legislation in England and Wales," he said.
"We were way behind, the park homes in England have been in use for over 50 years, whereas the park homes here are in their infancy."
Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood, said: "For years, some caravan owners have been forced, at the drop of a hat, to accept changes made by site owners.
"Many have faced raised fees, moved caravans and even eviction from sites, without much protection," he said.
"This bill will make a real difference to those people, by clearly setting out in law the obligations for site owners and holiday caravan owners."
"I'd like to pay tribute to John McCallister, the Bill's sponsor, for his considerable efforts in completing the bill which will make a real difference to the lives of static caravan owners, in both the residential and holiday sectors."