7. Protections for residents of mobile homes come under two areas of legislation:
- Consumer Rights for Residents - The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (and related regulations) control the "consumer" rights of mobile home owners. It sets out terms which must appear in the "written statement". These cover things like the location and size of the pitch, pitch fees (the subject of this consultation) consultation with residents and residents' associations. There are also terms which are implied into any agreement entered into between a permanent resident and a site owner to protect the rights of park home owners. The 1983 Act specifically requires consultation by Scottish Ministers with organisations representing the interests of those likely to be affected by changes to the implied terms and any other appropriate parties; and
- Site Licencing by Local Authorities - Part 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 Act added a new section to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 to set out the Scottish scheme for licencing residential mobile home sites. The regulations for the new system, The Licensing of Relevant Permanent Sites (Scotland) Regulations 2016 (legislation.gov.uk), were commenced on 1 May 2017 and apply to new site owners. Existing site owners had until May 2019 to apply for a new licence. The consultation on our rented sector strategy "a New Deal for Tenants" committed to a post implementation review of the Licencing Scheme before the end of this Parliament.
8. In 2013, the Scottish Government used secondary legislation to change the implied terms that are automatically included in every contract between a permanent resident and a site owner. The purpose of the changes was to protect mobile home residents from exploitation, while also ensuring the viability of the many well run privately owned sites, often family owned small and medium sized businesses. The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1) (Scotland) Order 2013 significantly enhanced the protection of mobile home residents in Scotland and included:
- Removal of the requirement for a site owner to approve a mobile home's prospective purchaser. This was intended to prevent the site owner from blocking sales or requiring that the mobile home is sold back to them below open market price;
- The right to retain the mobile home on site owner's land and live in it;
- The ability to gift the mobile home to a relative/friend for no consideration and be exempt from commission charges on all such disposals;
- The right to request evidence for anything paid to the site owner (pitch fees, charges for services such as gas and electricity);
- For new residents, to be allowed 28 days to consider the terms of the written agreement with site owners before they sign up to the purchase of a mobile home. As there is no requirement to engage with a solicitor, this is an important health warning for would-be purchasers; and
- The considerations to be taken into account when calculating pitch fees. Consideration was given to the basis of uprating but, at the time, there was minimal difference between RPI and CPI.
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