|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
In each case there are no witnesses and the prospective buyer is usually unwilling to give a witness statement. He or she simply wants to get away from the park. The seller does not usually go to court because there is no witness statement and the buyer is lost anyway. The incentive for the park owner is to buy the home for a small sum, remove it from the park, site a new and possibly bigger home on the pitch and sell it, thereby making a clear profit of perhaps £100,000. Rogue site owners currently have the ability to sabotage sales and
can rely on the fact that many people who move to park homes are frail, vulnerable, elderly and easily intimidated. It seems perfectly reasonable for a site owner to be able to check out a prospective buyer, but how can we stop the abuse and possible fraud currently taking place? My Bill suggests that there should be an independent witness present at such meetings.
Thank you for your letter...introducing the above young lady to me and seeking my approval for her to buy the above home.
Since taking over the park in 1999 we have always promoted the location as a retirement one for people over the age of 55. With that in mind I am unable to agree to
purchasing your home and will not be endorsing her residency.
I now serve formal notice on you to remove the home, extension and conservatory as the alterations you have made to the home to accommodate the extension and conservatory have rendered the home immobile. In fact it is my belief that the original home would collapse in the event of it being moved. This situation contravenes the Mobile Homes Act, is detrimental to my Park and can no longer be accepted.
I have also engaged the services of
in Mobile Homes to carry out an external survey of the home in order to verify my claim. My legal advisors have informed me that I do not need your permission for such a survey.
Since taking over the Park in 1999 we have always promoted the location as a retirement one for people over the age of 55.
My legal advisors have informed that this should be formalised within the Park Rules and I now write to advise you of the addition of the following rule.
The Park is for retired/semi retired persons over the age of 55.
In the event of anyone disagreeing with this rule please let me have your written objection within 28 days of the date of this letter.
Representatives of the residents association on the site tell me that the prospective purchaser was originally prepared to make a statement about conversations with the site owner but, not surprisingly, she eventually decided to get clear of the whole situation. The residents believe that she was told that she had to be over 50, that the owner had the right to move the home, that if he did so it would fall apart, and that he would not be responsible for putting it back together again, and that he wanted to replace it with another home that could be sold for £150,000-plus. If that was not true, the site owner, too, would be protected under my proposal that an independent witness should be present during any meetings between a prospective purchaser and the site owner. That might be a solicitor, but the important point would be to have an independent witness; further consideration would obviously need to be given to communication by phone.
My constituents were offered £81,000 by the prospective purchaser. An earlier offer made by the site owner was for £15,000. The issue of extensions generally has been considered by the local authority and, while requiring certain important provisions regarding fire safety, the
council decided not to enforce the removal of extensions on resale. The site owner wanted the council to enforce such removals and indicated great displeasure to me after the council made its decision. There are a number of extensions on the site that technically breach the 6 m rule. They were allowed over many years by default, with no action by the local authority or the site owner. Many owners purchase their homes with the extensions already in place, and have no knowledge of any problems relating to them. The site ownership has been with the same family for many years.
In this case, following the loss of a prospective purchaser, the owner tried to pursue a fraud case. There were enormous difficulties involved in getting the police to accept that this was not just a civil matter. The case was eventually taken up, but perhaps not in a wholehearted manner, and, in any event, it was not pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service. The all-party group on the welfare of park home owners recently had a useful meeting with the Minister responsible for policing. He was very responsive, and agreed to talk to the police about the need for existing legislation to be available to park home owners. Witnesses are needed, however, and on many occasions prospective buyers will just want to walk away and forget an unpleasant experience.
The Bill is about prevention. I hope that hon. Members will support it and thus protect vulnerable people when they come to sell their precious homes, often when they are moving on into more supported accommodation. The Bill would also protect site owners against any untrue allegations. I am pleased to say that it commands the support of hon. Members from all the main political parties in this House.
Mr. David Gauke (South-West Hertfordshire) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On a number of occasions, you have raised the requirement for Ministers to answer written parliamentary questions appropriately. I asked the Prime Minister a question, the answer to which was published in Hansard on 30 April 2009 at column 1415W. I asked him whether the recording of his statement on hon. Members allowances that was uploaded to his YouTube channel on 21 April had required more than one take. The response was:
The recording is available on the Downing street YouTube channel.[ Official Report, 30 April 2009; Vol. 491, c. 1415W.]
[Relevant documents: The Fourth Report from the Children, Schools and Families Committee, Session 2007-08, the Draft Apprenticeships Bill, HC 1082, and the Governments response, HC 259, Session 2008-09; and oral evidence taken before the Committee on 9 July 2008 on the Learning and Skills Council, HC 960-i, Session 2007-08. The Seventh Report from the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee, Session 2007-08, Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Draft Apprenticeships Bill, HC 1062-I, and the Governments response, HC 262, Session 2008-09; and the First Report from the Committee, Session 2008-09, Re-skilling for Recovery: After Leitch, Implementing Skills and Training Policies, HC 48-I, and the Governments response, HC 365. The Fourteenth Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Welfare Reform Bill; Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill; Health Bill, HC 414.]
(4) Where the host authority make any determination as to the education or training to be provided for a detained person, the authority must have regard to any information provided by the home authority under section 562E for the purpose of assisting any such determination.
(c) if it appears to the host authority that the special educational provision so specified is no longer appropriate for the person, such special educational provision as reasonably appears to the host authority to be appropriate for the person.
(2) A local education authority must, on a request under subsection (3), as soon as practicable provide to the person making the request such information that they hold relating to a detained person as is requested.
(b) asks only for information which the person requires for the purposes of, or in connection with, the provision of education or training for the detained person (including education or training to be provided after the detained persons release from detention).
(5) The Welsh Ministers must, on a request by the home authority or the host authority, provide a copy of any relevant assessment report for the purposes of the exercise of any function of that authority under section 18A or this Chapter.
(1) This section applies in relation to a detained person if, immediately before the beginning of the detention, a local education authority were maintaining a statement under section 324 for the person.
(2) Subsections (3) and (4) apply where the home authority become aware (whether by notice under section 39A(2) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (detention of child or young person: local education authorities to be notified) or otherwise)
(4) If the home authority are or become aware that, immediately before the beginning of the detention, another local education authority were maintaining a statement for the person under section 324, they must notify the host authority
(5) The local education authority who, immediately before the beginning of the detention, were maintaining the statement must, on a request by the host authority, send a copy of the statement to the host authority.
(9) Nothing in this section requires any local education authority to notify another authority of any matter of which the other authority are already aware, or to send a copy of any statement to another authority who already have a copy of it.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|