KEEPING YOU RIGHT ON PARK HOME ISSUES IN SCOTLAND. FRQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
The Questions and Answes below are real questions posed to SCOPHRA members and our answers. The answers are based on our best knowledge of Park Home Law and procedures in Scotland but do not constitute legal advice in any form. Where we can we give a definitive refernce to legislation covering the area or issue being addressed
RECENT QUESTIONS (updated February 2019)
MAINTAINING MY PARK HOME
Q. I have heard that some insurers are refusing claims because homes and lodges are not being properly maintained or repainted at specific intervals. is this correct?
A. We asked Park homes Scotland Ltd (PHS) about this and they tell us that this is indeed the case. Insurers are increasingly asking for 'Proof of Coating' i.e. painting at the correct intervals as evidence of regular maintenance. We understand that the manufacturers' recommendations for repainting of homes finshed in thermoplastic stipple (RESITEX) is that they shoudl be repainted after the first TWO years and every THREE years thereafter. A copy of the painting invoice or a warranty from the painter is usually accepted. PHS also point out that homes with this finish will regulary develop cracks around the windows and doors due to smalll movements in the structure and these areas should be regularly checked to ensure that any cracks are filled before they allow water ingress.
See: www.parkhomesscotland.com - for more information on this subject
SECURITY OF TENURE
Q. I live permananetly on a holiday site but have been told that I am not covered or protected by the Mobile Homes Act. Most of the people on this park use their homes as their only homes. Why are we not protected?
A. The Mobile Homes Act as it applies in Scotland only covers those residents living in parks licensed by the local authority as permanant residential parks. Such parks must have planning permission for residential use and residents must be in possession of a 'Written Statement' contract between the site owner and the homeowner. Without this legal document you do not have any protecton for permanent living and the site owner may remove you from the park at short notice. Also you should not be paying Council Tax as you are paying business rates via your pitch fee; your home cannot be sold as a residential park home and you may even have to sell it back to the park owner. You cannot treat such a home as your main and only home and you should have a permannet address elsewhere. The good news is that from May 2019, site owners purporting to offer permanent residence will have to apply for a new licence but this is conditional on having planning permission for permanent residential use. If you are concerned about your status contact the Caravan Licensing Section of your Local Authority for further advice as soon as possible.
Q. My park owner says we cannot have a residents’ association. Is he correct?
A. No! Certainly Not!
First, by common law, every citizen has the right of ‘Freedom of Association'; this means, regardless of the Mobile Homes Act or any other legislation, you and like-minded persons may set up any kind of association on your park to promote the collective interests of a group or park. You need no one's permission and you may also do so without reference to the site owner or anyone else. Under the Mobile Homes Act Written Statement (Scotland) Regulations 2013 however, there is legal provision for setting up a 'Qualifying Residents Association' (QRA) on a residential park. There are criteria to be met, but when set up, the site owner is required to recognise such an association and consult it in certain circumstances. See:
PLANNING PERMISSIONS (PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT)
Q. My son can erect fences, huts and extensions to his bricks and mortar house without planning permission. Can I do this at my park home?
A. Sorry No. Under planning legislation in Scotland, residential caravans (Park homes /lodges) have no permitted development rights, therefore any building erected in association with any caravan may require planning permission. Examples would include garages, sheds, verandas, decking, extensions including conservatories etc. In addition, any fence, gate or wall, etc. exceeding 1 metre in height would also require Planning Permission. You will also always require the consent of the site owner as well as planning consent. Contact your local planning authority for guidance as to whether a planning application is required as some Councils vary their policy. Please ensure you obtain the reply in writing for future reference.
PARK HOME LAW - SCOTLAND v ENGLAND
Q. Are park home rules the same for the whole UK?
A. No! Most online sites give advice based on English law. Although the Mobile Homes Act is UK legislation, the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have developed their own amendments. In 2006, 2013, 2014 and 2017, Scotland brought forward its own legislaton often improving on the English laws which had come before. Scotland's rules are more robust than in England so please do not confuse the two. A good example is the rules on selling a park home. In England there are various procedures to be followed and forms which need to be utilised; in Scotland there are no set forms and no requirement to inform the site owner of your intentions. A good guide to the law on selling a park home in Scotland can be found at:
SELLING/BUYING A PARK HOME
Q. If I want to sell my park home can I use an estate agent or other professional and do I need to tell my site owner in advance.
A. Under the 2013 Written Statement regulations you can use an agent or solicitor and display advertising material on your pitch just as in a bricks and mortar home. You do not need to inform the site owner until the sale is completed and the site owner is prohibited from interfering in the sale.