A Bill that will change the way park home owners’ monthly pitch fees are currently calculated got its final reading in the House of Lords at the end of March. We find out more…

Park home owners in England could soon see savings of more than £100 a year on their pitch fee charges as a crucial bill moved ever-closer to becoming an Act of Parliament.

On 24 March The Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees) Bill – a short private member’s bill – had its third and final reading in the House of Lords, where it passed successfully through.

Big change
The bill would change the inflationary measure used for annual pitch fee reviews from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). CPI is generally lower than RPI – in fact, RPI currently sits at a whopping 13.8 per cent, while CPI is at 10.4 per cent.

Annual fees, which are paid as ground rent to the site owner, can cost up to £3,000, in addition to payments like council tax and energy bills.

The bill passed all stages in the House of Commons in one day with no debate or amendment.

It had its first reading in the House of Lords on 21 November, a second on 3 February 2023 and its third and final reading on 24 March 2023. Once a bill has completed all the parliamentary stages in both Houses, it is ready to receive Royal Assent. This is when the King formally agrees to make the bill into an Act of Parliament (law).

There is no set time period between the conclusion of consideration of amendments and Royal Assent. A bill typically becomes an Act of Parliament two months after Royal Assent.

Recent survey
A recent survey of 750 mobile home residents by Ripe Insurance, which offers specialist park home insurance, found that 42 per cent struggled to pay their bills this winter. A third said this has negatively impacted their mental health. Additionally, nine in 10 park home residents stated that the Government has not properly prioritised them since the cost-of-living crisis began.

John Woosey, founder of Ripe, commented: ‘This amendment is something that the industry has long campaigned for, and will be hugely welcomed by park home residents if it does become law.’

Sonia McColl OBE, founder of the Park Home Owners’ Justice Campaign (PHOJC), said: ‘We must thank Lord Udny-Lister and Sir Christopher Chope OBE MP who successfully steered the Bill through the House of Lords and House of Commons.

‘However, the main congratulations go to you the members of the Park Home Owners’ Justice Campaign who have rallied, petitioned and fought for years to bring about this change.’

Government support
Among MPs, Edward Leigh (Conservative, Gainsborough) said: ‘This change is a long-standing Government commitment and I’m pleased to see that the Government are now supporting my friend and colleague Sir Christopher Chope’s Bill, just as I do.

‘CPI will be applied to all pitch fee reviews where the pitch fee review notice is served on or after the day that the Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees) Bill comes into force.

‘The Bill also makes clear that site owners cannot pass the difference between the RPI and CPI increase on to mobile home owners.

‘The First-tier Tribunal must deem unreasonable any amount included by site owners to compensate them for the financial loss arising from the RPI to CPI change, whether real or anticipated.’

To learn more about the PHOJC, please visit: www.phojc.blogspot.com. For more information about Ripe Insurance, please visit: www.ripeinsurance.co.uk/park-homes