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Housing (Scotland) Act 2014

Local authority enforcement at relevant permanent sites

153.Section 75 inserts new sections 32U, 32V and 32W into the 1960 Act. These sections all relate to improvement notices. New section 32U sets out:

  • the situation in which a local authority may issue an improvement notice,

  • what must be part of such a notice (such as what needs to be improved, and the period within which action needs to carried out done),

  • that there is a right of appeal to the sheriff by way of summary application,

  • when the period specified in the notice begins, and

  • the powers a local authority has to suspend, revoke, or vary an improvement notice.

154.New section 32V makes it an offence for a site owner who has been served with an improvement notice to fail to comply with the terms of the notice. If someone is convicted of doing so the maximum fine is £10,000.

155.New section 32W gives a local authority the power, if the site owner fails to take the steps specified in the improvement notice within the period specified, to take the action required on a site to meet the conditions set out in the improvement notice. Subsection (3) requires the local authority to give the site owner notice, and specific details, of the work the local authority will be carrying out (or the authority will be requiring someone else to do on its behalf and to give that person’s name), and the dates and times on which this intended action will be taken.

156.Section 76 inserts new section 32X into the 1960 Act. This gives a local authority the power to issue a penalty notice on the site owner, and provides for the situations in which the authority can do so (where there is no licence or a breach of licence conditions). A penalty notice has the effect of suspending, for a specific period of time, payments residents may be making for:

  • the right to station a mobile home on a site,

  • rent for the occupation of a mobile home caravan on the site, and

  • the use of the common areas on the site, and their maintenance.

It also suspends the commission a mobile home resident can be required to pay the site owner on sale of a mobile home (under paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 1983 Act).  The section sets out what must be included in such a notice (subsection (2)), when the penalty period begins (subsection 4), and the relevant appeal procedures (subsection (7)).

157.Section 77 inserts new section 32Y into the 1960 Act. This provision relates to the appointment of an interim manager to manage a mobile home site. Section 32Y(1) gives a local authority the power to apply to a sheriff to appoint an interim manager for a site. Subsection (5) gives the Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations relating to the appointment of an interim manager. These regulations may, in particular, cover the powers of an interim manager, the qualifications the manager must hold, and the actions the interim manager must carry out.

158.Section 78 inserts section 32Z into the 1960 Act. This gives a local authority the power to take emergency action where it appears to a local authority that:

  • the site licence holder is failing, or has failed, to comply with a site licence condition; and as a result of that there is an imminent risk to the health and safety of anyone who is, or may be, on the land, or

  • land is being used as a relevant permanent site without a site licence, and there is an imminent risk to the health and safety of anyone who is, or may be, on the land.

159.In the circumstances above the local authority would be able to carry out work to remove the imminent risk of serious harm. The section requires an authority to provide notice to the site owner in an emergency action notice before carrying out emergency action (subsection (4)), and to provide the site owner with an emergency action report after it has begun undertaking emergency action (subsection (7)). It also provides for appeals against an authority taking emergency action.

160.Under section 26 of the 1960 Act any authorised officer of a local authority has a right of entry to a mobile home site, subject to provisions about the purpose of such entry and the hours in which it takes place. Section 79 inserts new section 32Z1 into the 1960 Act. This extends the applicability of the provisions in section 26, so that they cover situations relating to the use of the new enforcement powers a local authority is given by this Act in relation to relevant permanent sites. In relation to an emergency action notice it also has the effect that a site owner is not required to have 24 hours’ notice that someone will be carrying out such works, and that entry to the site does not have to be at a reasonable hour. This is to cover situations where such entry must be carried out urgently, for example to address something that is immediately dangerous on a site.

161.Section 80 inserts new sections 32Z2, 32Z3 and 32Z4 into the 1960 Act. Section 32Z2 gives a local authority the power to recover expenses from a site owner where the local authority has served an improvement notice, penalty notice, or emergency action notice on, or provided at emergency action report to, a site owner. Section 32Z3 allows a local authority to recover from the site owner the expenses of taking action under an improvement notice or emergency action notice.

162.Section 32Z4 gives a local authority the power to recover costs for inspections and other work to investigate or assess compliance with the provisions of this Act.

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