The very first Private Member's Bill under the Assembly's new powers will this week become a reality if Assembly Members choose to vote through Peter Black AM's Mobile Homes Bill when it comes before them for its final stages on Wednesday.
In 2011 Peter Black was given the opportunity, through a Private Member's Ballot, to introduce legislation of his choice. He decided to introduce a Bill that would seek to protect people by bringing in fair, easy to use processes and clear rights for both mobile home residents and site owners.
This will be the first piece of legislation, that has been introduced through a Private Members Ballot, that has been passed in the fourth Assembly.
Peter Black, Assembly Member for South Wales West, said:
"I got into politics to make a difference to people's lives and that is exactly what this Bill will do.
"This Bill has always been about fairness and social justice. For too long mobile home residents have had a raw deal and not had the rights they deserve. 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. Problems can include poor site management and vetoing or deterring legitimate sales. My Bill will stop this unfairness.
"If voted through on Wednesday, 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. It will also develop a 'fit and proper' persons test for park home site owners, and a licensing system, so that park home owners can be confident that their site is effectively managed."
- There are 96 park homes sites in Wales. Many of these sites are run well but where there are disputes between site owners and residents there is currently very little legal guidance and support.
- Licensing of park home sites is governed by the Caravan sites and control of Development Act (1960). Local Authorities are responsible for licencing issues. The Bill will replace this and all subsequent legislation for Wales with stand-alone Welsh legislation on residential mobile home sites.
- Age Concern Cymru and Help the Aged in Wales have stated that a large number of park home residents are older people, as the nature of the homes, which are often in rural or coastal settings, attracts people who move to them in retirement.
- Property owners within Park Home sites have the right to sell their property in the same way home owners do. However, a site owner, should they wish to, could potentially disrupt purchase procedures by discouraging prospective buyers via a loophole in the current legislation which requires "the approval of the buyer" stage.
- Prospective buyers meet with site owners during this stage, which allows owners the opportunity to deter purchases. If this is done successfully, property owners can be left with little choice but to sell their property to the site owners at a significantly lower figure than that of market value.