FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (updated March 2022)
Q Will Park Home Residents receive the Council Tax rebate for 2022?
A If you pay council tax as a permanant resident on a licencsed RESIDENTIAL park, then yes, you will be entitled to the rebate. Persons living permanently on Holiday Sites as their permananet home, do so unlawfullly, and if not registered for Council Tax will not qualify for the rebate.
Q I buy my electrcicty via my site owner; do I qualify for the £400 electricity rebate grant in 2022?
A UPDATE 5 August 2022
The UK government has announced that it will put funds in place to ensure that sub- meter users WILL receive the rebate. Actual arrangements are to be announced in the Autumn
ORIGINAL ANSWER May 2022
Unfortunately no. The £400 grant is only available to private electricity buyers. If your site provides your power, your site owner is an electricity 'reseller' and as such, is a commercial buyer. Park home residents buying power directly from the main electricity suppliers, rather than from the site, will qualify for the rebate. SCOPHRA is in touch with MPS and MSPs plus Scottish and English Park home bodies to try to ensure that we do not miss out.
Q. I have carried out maintenance work for residents (on their own homes) on a Scottish park for several years now. However. I had the owner approach me today in front of one of the residents and state that I had to pay him 10% of the value of each of my invoices and stated it was the law!!!! Could you confirm if this is correct or is what he is trying to do illegal ? I understood that the home owners could choose their own tradesmen without the site owner expecting a payment of any type or restricting who the resident could employ ?
A. SCOTTISH PARK OWNERS REQUIRING PAYMENT FROM TRADESMEN
"Park Home law in England is clear on this matter.
The Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014 - states among much else...
Barred Park Rules
The following are types of rules that are banned from being made.
B) Any rule that restricts the homeowner’s activities and use of the site or prevents them from exercising their rights such as :
(C) Any rule or purported rule that promotes restrictive trade practices such as those that:
- Require residents to purchase only goods or services of any description supplied by the Site Owner or such other person as he nominates (including heating oil or LPG)
- Require residents to only use such tradesmen as the Site Owner nominates (including the Site Owner)
Unfortunately these rules do not apply in Scotland but that said, there is nothing in Mobile Home law in Scotland which permits a site owner to require residents to only use such tradesmen as the Site Owner nominates (including the Site Owner). Certainly there is nothing which permits a site owner to charge a levy on external workmen. Any such suggestion is fraudulent and unlawful. A Scottish Court would likely follow English Law in making a decision on any challenge to the site owner in this matter and is likely to find against him.
Another aspect is Consumer Law. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations 2008, known as the ‘Unfair Trading Regulations’, came into force on 26 May 2008,,
The Unfair Trading Regulations impose a general prohibition on traders in all sectors from engaging in unfair commercial practices with consumers.
We cannot find specific reference to the barring of external traders or workmen but the regulations do prohibit unfair commercial practices…
3.3 Regulation 3 contains a general prohibition of unfair commercial practices.
3.4 A commercial practice is unfair if it is not professionally diligent, and it materially distorts, or is likely to materially distort, the economic behaviour of the average consumer. Essentially, for the general prohibition to apply, the trader’s practice must be unacceptable when measured against an objective standard and must also have (or be likely to have) an effect on the economic behaviour of the average consumer. The second condition is likely to be met if, for example, because of the practice, the average consumer would buy a product they would not otherwise have bought, or would not exercise cancellation rights when otherwise they would have done so.
It would appear that Consumer Law is the key here and such practices should be reported to the local Trading Standards Office as an unfair practice. We suggest first confronting the park owner with the above information with a threat to report the matter to the authorities including the licensing authority.
Should the park owner try to enforce his position with threats of any kind this should be reported to Police Scotland as harassment.
Additionally, if you have Legal Expenses Insurance you should call the legal advice helpline listed in your policy with this query, as should your neighbours. You should also encourage all residents to takeout legal expenses insurance to cover any future disputes."
(SCOPHRA give this interpretation and guidance in good faith but does not guarantee its accuracy or relevance in Scots Law. You should always take professional legal advice if pursuing a case.)
Q. My parents are looking to buy a residential home at a park in Aberdeenshire and have been offered a 99 year lease on a home. I thought residential agreements were without limit of time, can you advise? (Park name provided but withheld. ED.)
A. Enquiries of Aberdeenshire Council show that the park concerned is a 'mixed site' with both a holiday and residential licences. The 99-year lease suggests that this is a holiday home being sold and thus is not licensed for permanent residential use. If the site owner is suggesting such a home can be used for permanent residence, he is acting unlawfully, and your parents should not consider this option. In a recent planning case in Aberdeenshire, some fourteen park homeowners who had thought they were living as permanent residents (on a holiday site) were served with enforcement notices to vacate the properties as permanent residents. Many lost considerable sums of money. (CAVEAT EMPTOR - BUYER BEWARE!)
Q. Hi I live in the Scottish Highlands and am wanting to buy a residential park home (from Park management ie not a private sale). I’ve been unable to locate a Scottish solicitor with the relevant expertise to handle the
purchase and a suitable surveyor (as it’s not a new Park home). Can you offer me any pointers/advice please?
A. Few, if any Scottish solicitors will handle park home matters. May we refer you to our advertiser opposite - Park Homes Scotland Ltd - www.parkhomesscotland.com - who may be able to help you. They are familiar with park home living and provide a park home survey, inspection and valuation service. While not solicitors, they also provide paralegal services in connection with the transfer of park home contracts and agreements. They are familiar with all matters park home and have excellent experience in park home law.
Q I have inherited my brother's mobile home on a licensed site. Is it the responsibility of the site owner to provide a new Written Statement? The one I have is pre 2013 and has only the Amendment of Schedule 1 (Scotland) Order 2013) Implied Terms attached. The company say I must provide them with a Form of Assignment, and it is not their responsibility to provide one. Where do I obtain such a form? Hoping you can shed some light!
A As a generality, since you inherited the property you also inherited the Written Statement (WS) and there is no need for you to obtain a new one. I assume the Written Statement is in your possession. If solicitors were involved in settling the will, a simple letter from them to the park owners informing them, should be sufficient for you to have your name placed on the WS.
While the Written Statement regulations refer to 'The Gift of a Home' and the assignation thereof, in your case this is obviously impratical which is why I suggest the above.
The site owners are prohibited from charging commission or making any other charge.
The next question is whether you intend to take up residence in the home. If you do intend to do so, do you meet the park rules in respect of age, pets etc? You may have to demonstrate this to the site owners.
If you intend to sell the home then there is a strict legal process to be followed. See further advice at https://www.parkhomesscotland.com/information-centre
Q. I am thinking of buying a timber lodge in West Scotland. The site is open all year round but it does not have a residential licence. Is it possible to obtain a licence (with site owner's consent) on an individual basis?
Or, having purchased such a lodge, can it be moved to another site, in the event that one wanted to live in it permanently, or move to a different location?
I would be very grateful for your advice
A. See some of the answers below, but essentially you cannot apply for an individual licence. The use of a site depends on the planning consent in place and it is likely that your owner does not have planning permission for residential use, or he would be providing permanent residential homes already.
Moving a home to a different location is fraught with problems. Most residential site owners will not accept such a move or if they do it will be at serious cost to you. Site owners make their profit from selling new homes with a steady income from rents. They are loathe to lease out a pitch for an older home when they can charge from about £150.000 - £200,000 for a new home - making a substantial profit. Apart from that, even if you found a new site, you would face the cost of demounting the original home, transporting it on two transporters and the re-erecting and commissioning the home on the new site probably costing about £10,000.
Your best option is to find a ready home on a suitable site and go for that. A new home is always lovely but, like a car, the depreciation is fast. If buying a home from a park owner, the site owner can lay down park rules and pitch fees to suit himself. If you buy a pre-owned home, less than 10 years old, you inherit a warranty for the remainder of time up to 10 years, you will buy at a much lower cost and you receive the contract which existed for the seller, so the site owner cannot change the contract conditions or the pitch fee. (Click here for help on buying a Park Home in Scotland) If downsizing, many people buy pre-owned and the refurbish to their own taste.
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, the park home repair experts in Scotland, and they confirmed that most Park home insurers and warranty providers demand that your home be repainted at two years old and then at three year intervals thereafter. Failure to do so can be regarded as lack of maintennace and grounds for refusing a claim.
See more information at https://www.parkhomesscotland.com/services/exterior-maintenance/exterior-painting
SECURITY OF TENURE
Q. I live permanently 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.
A. The Mobile Homes Act as it applies in Scotland only covers those residents living in parks licensed by the local authority as permanent 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 protection 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 permanent 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: https://www.gov.scot/publications/guide-mobile-home-owners-scotland/
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 legislation 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: https://www.parkhomesscotland.com/homes-for-sale/selling-a-park-home-in-scotland SELLING/BUYING A PARK HOME advertising material on your pitch just as in a bricks and mortar home. You do not need to inform the site owner.
SELLING A PARK HOME IN SCOTLAND
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 until the sale is completed. There is no need to inform the site owner despite any park rules which say so. THe site owner is prohibited from interfering in the sale