Below is the text of the statement made by Luke Hall, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the House of Commons on 8 July 2020.
I am today publishing the Government response to our consultation “Mobile Homes—a fit and proper person test for park home sites”. I am placing copies of the response in the Libraries of both Houses, and it will also be available on gov.uk.
As part of our ongoing commitment to improving protections for park home residents, the Government undertook a two-part review of park homes legislation in 2017. In the response published on 22 October 2018, we committed to introduce the fit and proper person test, subject to a technical consultation. This consultation was undertaken between 25 July and 17 September 2019 and received 370 responses, the majority of which were highly supportive.
The purpose of the test is to improve the management of park home and other residential caravan sites. By introducing an assessment that the person responsible for managing the site is suitable to do so and of good character, this will help target and remove the worst offenders from the sector. The test will be an important tool for local authority enforcement and marks an important milestone in my Department’s work to protect residents of park homes and other residential caravan sites, who are often elderly and vulnerable, from unscrupulous site owners.
I am today laying the required regulations bringing the test into effect. They will mandate that
each local authority must set up and maintain a register of people who are fit and proper to manage a park home site in their area. A site owner, or an appointed manager, must appear on the local authority register in order to manage a site;
when an applicant applies for registration, a local authority must consider, among other details, the applicant’s criminal record and details of all sites in which the applicant has an equitable interest; and
if convicted of any offences under the regulations the site owner would face an unlimited fine. Offences include operating a site without being on the local authority register, breaching the conditions attached to an entry on the register, and providing false information in an application.
The regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure so will require the approval of both Houses.
The Government are dedicated to improving protections for park home residents and these regulations are an important step towards delivering on that commitment.