FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
RECENT QUESTIONS (September 2019)
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