Wales politics

Mobile home residents to be protected by law

Park homes (generic)
Image caption Some mobile home residents have been subject to high rents and poor maintenance

A new law intended to give more rights to mobile home park residents in Wales has been passed by AMs.

A consumer watchdog report last year found residents suffered unscrupulous, intimidating or criminal behaviour from some site owners and operators.

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black' tabled his private member's bill to give both residents and site owners clear rights.

He said many of Wales's 96 park homes sites are run well but there is little legal help when disputes arise.

The new law will not apply to holiday sites - only to sites where people have permanent homes.

"Under the current law there is little protection for residents from unscrupulous park homes site owners, a minority of whom may exploit their position for personal gain," Mr Black said.

"Problems can include poor site management and vetoing or deterring legitimate sales.

"My bill will stop this unfairness.

'Fit and proper'

"Wales will have a new system that will protect people by bringing in fair, easy-to-use processes and clear rights for both residents and site owners."

Mr Black said there would be a "fit and proper" persons test for site owners, and a licensing system to give home owners confidence that the site they live on is effectively managed.

Sites owners could be fined up to £10,000 if they breach their licenses.

It is the first private member's bill to be passed in Cardiff Bay under new law-making powers devolved to the Welsh assembly from Westminster in 2011.

Consumer Focus Wales (CFW) found last year that many people lost thousands of pounds because of high rents, poor maintenance and site operators blocking home sales.

However the British Holiday and Home Parks Association - representing park operators - responded at the time by saying most site owners were law-abiding and that authorities should enforce existing laws.

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