§ Mr. Nicholas Baker
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about increases in pitch fees charged by operators of mobile homes since the Mobile Homes Act 1983 came into force; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir George Young
Since the Mobile Homes Act 1983 came into force on 20 May last year, we have so far received about 50 representations from residents concerning the pitch rent increases proposed by their site owners. A number of these made the point that site owners have said they are seeking increases in part because the level of commission payable to the site owner on the sale of a mobile home has been reduced from 15 to 10 per cent. by order under the 1983 Act.368W
The Act contains important safeguards for residents on pitch rents, including the right to challenge the level of rent and any other express term of their agreement about which they are unhappy. We were conscious that pitch rents might rise as a result of the lowering of the commission rate, but any increases must also be weighed against the increased rights which residents now have under the 1983 Act. These include their indefinite security of tenure, their right to sell the mobile home on site, and to give the home to a member of the family without paying commission, as well as the rights of members of their family to inherit the home and agreement. However, the question whether any particular increase is reasonable is one that can be resolved only by a court or arbitrator tinder the provisions of the 1983 Act.