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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
New rights for mobile home owners
Mobile home
Many park home dwellers are elderly and vulnerable
John Prescott has unveiled plans to stop trailer park dwellers from being exploited by unscrupulous site owners.

Residents of static mobile homes - known as "park homes" - will get the same rights as tenants of flats and houses, under the plans.

The move follows a long campaign by the association of park home owners.

Many owners are elderly and were being forced out of their homes so site owners could claim the land, the association claimed.

'Nasty people'

Spokesman Brian Dwoick said: "It has been hard work, but we really are very pleased with these changes.

These are not like caravans which can be attached to the back of a car and towed away
Office of Deputy Prime Minister
"People who live in park homes are often vulnerable people to unscrupulous park owners."

Not all site owners were guilty of sharp practice, he said, but there were many examples of park home dwellers being harassed or intimidated.

"Parks are lovely places to live, but unfortunately these nasty people have been around for a long time and it's time they were stopped."

'Not like caravans'

Most residents of the 93,000 people who live in trailer parks in England and Wales own their mobile home or housing unit - but they rent the site on which it is pitched.

However, because of the immovable nature of most housing units, they are at the mercy of the site owner, the department says.

"These are not like caravans which can be attached to the back of a car and towed away," an ODPM spokeswoman said.

Many park home owners are unreasonably prevented from selling their homes by the owner of the pitch who currently has to give his approval before the home can be sold.

Others are told they must remove their homes from pitches by the site owners because they are too old.

This is often used as an excuse to evict the resident, said an ODPM spokeswoman.

And the contractual arrangements by which the pitch is leased are often only made clear to the tenant once their home is in place.

Measures to tackle these problems have been tabled as an amendment to the Housing Bill which is currently in the House of Lords.

And the department is consulting on further plans to tighten up the contractual arrangements between mobile home owners and park site owners.

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