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Petition Give holiday caravan/lodge owners the same statutory protection as mobile homes.

Owners of holiday caravans and lodges need the same protections as those given to owners of residential mobile homes. Holiday caravan/ lodge owners face unfair practices that are consistently active on many static caravan holiday parks.

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As a multi-million pound consumer industry with no current legislation in place, consumers are being misled and mis-sold at their great cost, both monetarily, and mentally. Buyers need help and protection.
Clear, concise and transparent information is NOT always given at point of sale. There is no legal governing body or specific laws in place for those abusing the industry to answer to, or indeed to help the buyer.
The existing consumer protection laws do NOT cover the Holiday Static Caravan/Lodge Industry in any way that is needed to protect them.

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Government responded

This response was given on 3 June 2020

Owners of holiday caravans/lodges on holiday caravan sites are protected under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The Government does not plan to give them similar protections as mobile home residents.

Read the response in full

Caravan sites in England, unless exempted, are required to have planning permission which will be granted either for holiday, residential, or mixed (part of the site will be for holiday purposes and the other part for residential purposes) use.

Where the planning permission granted for the whole or part of a site is for residential use, the caravan owner can live in their home (commonly known as mobile/park homes) all year round as their main and only residence. There are approximately 2000 residential park home sites in England.

Residents of park home sites will have a Mobile Homes Act 1983 written agreement which gives the resident security of tenure. The agreement will amongst others set out; the obligations of the site owner and resident; the process for selling a home, reviewing pitch fees and making site rules; and the limited circumstances in which the site owner can terminate the agreement.

Where the planning permission granted for the whole or part of a caravan site is for holiday use only, there will be restrictions on when the site can be opened and in particular, the use of the site for permanent residential purposes. The Government is therefore unable to give holiday caravan and lodge owners residential rights on caravan sites where the existing planning permission requires those sites to be used for holiday purposes only.

The Government is aware that holiday caravans and lodges are sometimes mis-sold to consumers as permanent residential homes. Purchasers in such cases are not provided the correct information about the caravan/lodge or the site’s planning permission. In other instances, consumers are not provided with written agreements which clearly set out the terms and conditions for occupying a pitch on the holiday site, selling a caravan or terminating an agreement. In other examples, aggressive sales methods are used to coerce consumers into making a purchase.

The Government is aware of the impacts such actions can have on consumers and that is why it brought together comprehensive provisions for consumers in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to supplement other consumer protection regulations.

The protections in place include:

• prohibiting traders from engaging in unfair commercial practices against consumers (e.g. in the course of marketing and selling).

• Traders must provide consumers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. Prohibition of commercial practices which through false information or misleading presentation cause, or are likely to cause, the average consumer to make a different choice.

• Prohibition of commercial practices which through the use of harassment, coercion (including the use of physical force) or undue influence are likely to significantly impair the average consumer’s freedom of choice in relation to goods or services.

• A requirement that goods sold by traders must be as described and of a satisfactory quality and be fit for a particular purpose if that purpose was made known to the trader by the consumer.

• If a product does not meet these requirements a consumer has a right to reject the goods within 30 days from the purchase and receive a full refund; require the trader after 30 days of purchase to repair or replace faulty goods within a reasonable time; where the consumer is entitled to a refund and returns the goods within the first six months from purchase, the trader cannot make a deduction from the amount of any refund to take into account of the use that the consumer has had from the goods (except in relation to motor vehicles).

• Terms applying to consumer contracts, need to comply with unfair terms rules. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on unfair contract terms at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/unfair-contract-terms-cma37.

• A private right of redress to consumers who have been the victim of a misleading or aggressive commercial practice.

• Requiring online and remote sellers to provide clear information on the cost, delivery terms etc, and cancellation rights including a cancellation form, when any agreement is made.

Enforcement of consumer legislation is by local authority trading standards services and the CMA. Consumers can obtain free advice on their rights and how to seek redress through the Citizens Advice consumer service (0808 223 1133) or (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/).

Consumers and businesses who have seen or experienced businesses behaving unfairly during the coronavirus outbreak can report it to the CMA by using their dedicated online form at: https://www.coronavirus-business-complaint.service.gov.uk/.

The Government will continue to explore with all stakeholders how messages about rights and responsibilities in the sector can be communicated more effectively and how to ensure existing protections are effectively enforced.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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