EHOs struggle to help without HHSRS
Councils should be given new powers to protect vulnerable residents living in rented park homes, the CIEH has urged.
In response to a government consultation on park home regulation, the CIEH says local authorities cannot currently use powers under the Housing Act 2004 to make park landlords improve unhealthy and dangerous conditions because mobile homes are not counted as dwellings.
‘It is the experience of our members that where homes are not of decent quality, it is a struggle to enforce reasonable living conditions. This is a particular problem where homes are rented and fail the HHSRS standard,’ writes Bob Mayho, CIEH principal policy officer.
The CIEH says park homeowners should not pass on licence charges and inspection fees to residents.
‘The running of a mobile home site is a commercial operation and any licensing fees should be regarded as business costs only and should not be passed on to owners. If the intention of introducing licensing fees is to better resource the local authority with a view to improving the regulation and enforcement of caravan sites, then the burden of the fees should lie solely with site operators,’ says Mr Mayho.
Councils, he adds, should not need authority from a court before being able to do works either in default or in an emergency.
‘Currently works in default under other housing legislation such as the Housing Act 2004 or the Building Act 1984 are allowed without the need to obtain authority from a court. There seems no justification for a different or second-rate enforcement regime to operate for caravan sites,’ says Mr Mayho.
In February housing minister Grant Shapps announced plans to ‘modernise’ caravan and park licensing, which could include giving councils the power to refuse licences, carry out emergency works and charge for their licensing functions.