Consultation on Proposals for Regulations Supporting the New Licensing System for Mobile Home Sites with Permanent Residents

Closed 12 Feb 2016

Opened 17 Nov 2015

Feedback Updated 25 Jan 2017

We Asked

We consulted on our proposals for draft regulations, including proposals on:

  • the information to be submitted with an application to obtain, renew, or transfer a site licence application;
  • the fees a local authority could charge for considering an application;
  • the time limits within which a local authority must make its decision on an application.

 

You Said

There was general support for most of the proposals, with a variety of views on some matters.  For example industry respondents wanted shorter timescales for decisions, while some local authorities wanted longer timescales.  Industry respondents also wanted the information to be submitted with a licence renewal application to be simplified.  Residents were generally supportive of the proposals, with some specific suggested changes.

We Did

We have considered the responses, and have decided our policy response.  This includes:
• a licence renewal applicant will only be required to provide information about the changes that have occurred since the licence was last issued or renewed.
• we will continue the approach of specifying the matters a local authority can take into account when deciding on its fees.
• we will continue with the 3 month timescale for a local authority to issue, renew, or transfer a site licence.  However we will encourage local authorities to make decisions in a shorter timescale wherever possible, particularly for licence transfers.

These policies are reflected in the final version of the Regulations.
 

Results Updated 7 Nov 2016

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

Links:

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

PURPOSE OF THIS CONSULTATION

1.  The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 creates a new licensing system for mobile home sites that are licensed to have permanent residents.  Some of the key parts of the new licensing system will be:

  • a requirement that someone holding a licence, and/or managing a site, is a fit and proper person to do so;
  • a wider range of powers for local authorities to enforce licence conditions and tackle unscrupulous site owners;
  • a requirement that licences are renewed every 5 years;
  • new procedures around licence transfers;
  • the ability for a local authority to revoke a licence, and ask a Sheriff to appoint an interim manager for a site.

 

2.  The 2014 Act sets out the framework of the new system, and gives Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations (subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament) setting out in more detail how the system will work.  This consultation seeks views on what we propose to include in the regulations.  Draft regulations are set out at Annex A of this consultation paper, to help consultees see how the proposals might be reflected in regulations.  We will use the responses to this consultation to assist us in developing the final version of the regulations, which will be considered by Parliament.

 

3.  It is our view that the 2014 Act, and the proposals in the draft regulations, will sufficiently cover the process to be followed for issuing, renewing, transferring, transmitting, and revoking a site licence.    However we do plan to publish guidance (which a local authority is legally required to have regard to) which will set out good practice, and suggested administrative processes an authority may wish to follow. 

 

4.  We have taken the opportunity in this consultation paper to seek views on another mobile home policy issue.  We propose increasing the maximum permitted caravan dimensions in Scotland, and are seeking people’s views on this change.

 

 Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

 

BACKGROUND

 

5.  In 1960, when the current licensing regime for mobile homes was established, very few people lived all year round in a mobile home.  Fifty years later figures show that in Scotland there are over 3,000 mobile homes with permanent residents, on more than 90 sites.[1]  The Scottish Government is committed to making sure that those living in mobile homes on sites licensed for permanent residents have appropriate rights and protections, similar to those enjoyed by people living in traditional housing.

 

6.  We therefore consulted in 2012 on proposals to strengthen the licensing system and make it fit for modern circumstances.  Following that consultation we developed the proposals further, and these were reflected in Part 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, passed by the Scottish Parliament last year.

 

7.  The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (referred to in this consultation paper as the 2014 Act) set the framework for a new system for licensing mobile home sites licensed to have permanent residents.  Some of the key measures in the Act are:

  • introducing new processes for handling first site licence applications, renewals, transferring a licence, and transmission of a licence;
  • introducing a requirement that someone holding site licence and/or managing a site is a ‘fit and proper’ person to do so;
  • giving a local authority a range of enforcement powers.  These include the ability to serve penalty notices and enforcement notices on a site licence holder;
  • enabling a local authority to be able to revoke a site licence in certain circumstances;
  • providing for a sheriff to appoint an interim manager to run a site, in certain circumstances;
  • allowing a local authority to charge a fee for handling an application to issue a first site licence application or renew an existing licence.

 

8.  The 2014 Act gives the Scottish Ministers powers to make regulations, setting out in more detail how some parts of the new licensing system will work.  This consultation sets out what we propose putting into regulations, and includes draft regulations, for comments.

 

9.  The 2014 Act and regulations are two elements of what we will be introducing to support the new licensing system.  We also plan to publish guidance for local authorities, information for site residents, and information for site owners.  We will be developing these documents in discussion with representatives of the industry, local authorities, and resident groups.  The guidance and information will give all those involved with the licensing system the information they need about how the new system operates.

Assessments

 

10.  A Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment on the new licensing regime was prepared in 2013, before the proposals were introduced to the Scottish Parliament as part of the then Housing (Scotland) Bill[2].  This examined the costs and benefits to business of the changes.  An Equality Impact Assessment was also prepared on the proposals[3].  As the draft regulations set out measures that sit within the overarching framework set by the 2014 Act we will consider what further assessments need to be undertaken before the final version of the regulations is considered by the Parliament.

 

Timetable

 

11.  We intend to bring the new licensing system into force in spring 2017.  This will allow time for the results of this consultation to be considered, the Scottish Parliament to approve the final regulations, and for information and guidance on the new system to be developed.



[1] See Stories to Be Told published by Consumer Focus Scotland in 2013: http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/scotland/files/2013/05/Stories-to-be-told.pdf

[2] The assessment is available online at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0043/00438342.pdf.

 

 

 

Why We Are Consulting

The Scottish Government is putting in place a new system for licensing mobile home sites that have permanent residents.  This consultation paper sets out what we intend to put into regulations to support that new system.  We would welcome your views on the draft regulations, particularly on the specific questions we have asked in the consultation paper.  Your views will help shape the final regulations that will be considered by the Scottish Parliament.

What Happens Next

Once the consultation has finished all the responses will be analysed and considered.  We plan to issue a report on this consultation process in Spring 2016.  The responses and other available evidence will help us produce the final set of regulations, which will be considered by the Scottish Parliament.  We plan to lay the regulations before Parliament in Autumn 2016.

Audiences

  • People of Scotland
  • Businesses
  • Local Authorities
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Business & Trade Organisations
  • Local Government

Interests

  • Housing and Regeneration