England

Protestors call to end 'theft' of equity on park home sales

park homes protest at Westminster
Image caption A petition signed by 40,000 park home owners was delivered to Downing Street

Thousands of mobile home owners have called on the government to end the "theft" of part of the value of their homes when they are sold.

Currently a commission charge of up to 10% is paid to site owners.

A petition signed by 40,000 park home owners was delivered to Downing Street by campaigners, who said site operators were "making fortunes".

The government has said the commission is "legitimate income" and "does not result in profiteering".

'Making fortunes'

Park home owners said most operators were charging the maximum commission, which was set at 10% when it was last amended in 1983.

A parliamentary debate in 2014 heard that homes could be worth between £150,000 and £200,000.

The Park Home Owners Justice Campaign said the charge was a "theft of equity", leaving some owners unable to move.

Founder Sonia McColl, from Wareham, Dorset, said: "Thousands of people all over the country are literally trapped in their homes by this charge.

"If they want to move on it's got to be inferior because they don't have the money after parting with 10% of their equity."

The government has previously said the commission was an "important income strand" for site owners, which could not be reduced without increasing annual rents by between 20% and 32%.

It has pledged to carry out a review of the park homes industry this year.

Image caption Around 300 park home owners attended a rally at Westminster

A government-commissioned study in 2002 said that commission payments created a "financial incentive for unscrupulous operators to 'churn' their residents."

It found that at least 7% of park home owners had experienced pressure to leave.

Brian Doick, president of National Association of Park Home Residents, said: "These landowners are making fortunes. This is ridiculous that they should be allowed to take away people's assets that they have worked hard for."

The British Holidays and Home Parks Association has said parks were "increasingly reliant on income from pitch fees and commissions".

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