Petition Enhance consumer protection for holiday caravan owners

Amend the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 to reflect changes in consumer protection regulations and require all related consumer contracts to list clearly all services and associated costs payable/deductible in respect of pitch fees.

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Provide access to First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to challenge any increase above CPI.

The Government and others are aware of the issues associated with holiday caravan ownership, which have persisted for decades. We believe consumers are at significant risk of life-changing detriment as a result of unfair trading practices we consider are being operated across the sector. Challenging such practices is prohibitively expensive.

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Government responded

This response was given on 18 December 2023

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 establishes the site licensing regime for caravan sites. The Government has no plans to amend the Act to include consumer protection regulations.

Caravan sites in England, unless exempted, are required to have planning permission issued by the local authority. Where planning permission is granted for residential use, caravan owners can live in their home (known as mobile homes or park homes) as their main and only residence. They will also have a written agreement under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 which gives them security of tenure. Where the planning permission granted is for holiday or recreational use, a holiday caravan owner is not permitted to use the caravan as their main and only residence.

Caravan site owners are also required to obtain a site licence from the local authority. Site licences and any conditions attached to them, are issued under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. The purpose of the site licensing regime is to ensure sites are maintained by the site owner. Site licence conditions can only relate to the physical use of the site, its amenities, services and the management arrangements. Conditions cannot be attached by a local authority that relate to a caravan owner’s contractual arrangements for occupying their pitch.

The contractual terms for occupying a pitch on a holiday caravan site is a matter between the caravan owner and the site owner. The Government is aware that holiday caravans are sometimes mis-sold to consumers as permanent residential homes. Purchasers in such cases are not provided the correct information about the caravan 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 which is why we 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;
• Traders must provide consumers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.
• 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.

Enforcement of consumer legislation is undertaken by local authority trading standards services and the CMA and overseen by the Department of Business and Trade. Consumers can obtain free advice on their rights and how to seek redress through the Citizens Advice consumer service.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

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