New law to improve conditions on mobile home sites comes into force
A new Act to strengthen the regulation of residential mobile home sites, improve conditions and ensure the rights of residents are better protected, comes into force yesterday.
The Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 sees the introduction of a number of key measures. As of yesterday:
- site owners will be required to apply for a licence from their local authority to operate a site. Site managers will need to pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test before being awarded a licence
- site owners will no longer be able to block the sale of a mobile home
- Local Authorities will be able to inspect sites and issue a fixed penalty notice to site owners if conditions on the site fall below standard. In more serious instances, Local Authorities will be able to issue the site owners with a compliance notice to make sure site conditions are upheld
- pitch fees will only be increased in line with the Consumer Prices Index.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, who has responsibility for housing, said:
"The Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 will have a positive effect on the lives of people living on residential mobile homes sites, giving them clear, strengthened rights and ensuring conditions on sites are good.
"The introduction of these provisions is long overdue. Previously, Local Authorities had little power to step in to take enforcement action where owners were found to offer poor conditions. These changes provide Local Authorities with the power to licence sites and enforce action if site owners are not keeping to their licence conditions.
"These reforms also end the veto on sales of mobile homes by site owners and introduce new processes for selling a home, setting pitch fees and changing site rules, providing home owners with greater rights and a better quality of living."
To support implementation of the Act, regulations have been introduced to coincide with it coming into force. These allow for the full provisions of the new law to be exercised effectively and introduce statutory forms for use by site owners and site residents when carrying out a sale of a mobile home, a review of the pitch fee, or changing site rules.
A ‘Know Your Rights’ leaflet has been sent to every site resident across Wales, informing them about the new legislation and providing clear information about the key changes which affect them most.
Letters have also been sent to all site owners in Wales advising them of their new responsibilities. Work has also been undertaken with all Local Authorities in Wales to prepare them for the introduction of the new law and their increased licensing responsibilities.
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