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Publication - Guidance

Licensing system for mobile home sites with permanent residents: guidance for local authorities

Published: 13 Apr 2017
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781786529152

Guidance for local authority officers in Scotland who are involved with permanent mobile home site licensing.

48 page PDF

410.7kB

48 page PDF

410.7kB

Contents
Licensing system for mobile home sites with permanent residents: guidance for local authorities
Chapter 8 - Cost recovery

48 page PDF

410.7kB

Chapter 8 - Cost recovery

8.1. One of the key principles underpinning the new licensing system is that the cost of enforcement action should not fall on those site owners that are complying with the system. As outlined above in the section on fees a local authority cannot, therefore, include the costs of enforcement action in the fees it charges for issuing or renewing a site licence. Instead Part 1A of the 1960 Act gives a local authority the power to reclaim the expenses of enforcement action from the person it has taken that action against. Sections in that Part cover recovering the cost of issuing notices; the cost of taking action under an Improvement Notice or emergency action notice; and the cost inspecting a site to ascertain if a licence conditions have been met, and assessing compliance after such a visit. These sections are taken in turn below.

8.2. Section 32Z2 of the 1960 Act [66] covers recovering the expenses of issuing notices. It applies where a local authority has served:

  • an Improvement Notice; or
  • a Penalty Notice; or
  • an emergency action notice; or
  • an emergency action report.

8.3. Under the section a local authority can, if it chooses, recover from the site licence holder (or if the site has no licence, the occupier of the site) the expenses incurred by the local authority in:

  • deciding whether or not to serve a notice or report;
  • preparing and serving the notice or report;
  • interest at such reasonable rate as the local authority may determine, in respect of the period beginning on a date specified by the authority until the whole amount is paid.

The expenses can include the costs to the local authority of obtaining expert advice, including legal advice.

8.4. Section 32Z3 of the 1960 Act allows a local authority to recover the cost of taking action under an Improvement Notice or Emergency Action Notice. For example, if a local authority served an Improvement Notice on a site owner, and the steps required by the Notice were not carried out, a local authority could decide to take the action itself. It could then recover the expenses of taking that action, if it wished, under this section of the 1960 Act. The expenses which a local authority can recover from the site licence holder (or site occupier, if the site is unlicensed) are:

  • expenses incurred by the local authority in deciding whether to take the action (including the cost of expert advice, such as legal advice);
  • expenses incurred in taking the action;
  • interest (at such reasonable rate as the local authority may determine) in respect of the period beginning on a date specified by the local authority, until the whole amount is paid.

The expenses can include the costs to the local authority of obtaining expert advice, including legal advice.

8.5. Section 32Z4 of the 1960 Act [67] covers the expenses a local authority may incur in visiting a site to establish if there is, or has been, any contravention of the provisions of the 1960 Act. The expenses that the local authority may recover are those incurred by it in relation to:

  • inspecting a site for the purposes of ascertaining whether there is, or has been, any contravention of the provisions of the 1960 Act;
  • assessing or investigating compliance by the site licence holder with the provisions of the 1960 Act following an inspection.

8.6. Section 32Z4 therefore gives a local authority the power to recover from a site owner the expenses of visiting a site if the purpose of the visit is to ascertain whether there is a breach of the 1960 Act. It also allows a local authority to recover the costs of the process of investigating or assessing compliance in light of the site visit.

8.7. These cost recovery provisions give a local authority the option to recover costs when it has found it necessary to take enforcement action under the new licensing regime. However a local authority does not have to recover costs, and may decide not to in some circumstances. In considering whether or not to recover costs we recommend that a local authority takes into account:

  • the seriousness of any breaches of the 1960 Act or licence conditions;
  • how much it will cost the local authority to pursue costs, and how this balances against the amount to be recovered;
  • the level of resources that have been dedicated to taking action by the local authority;
  • if the costs are not recovered, what impact that will have on other work the local authority wishes to carry out;
  • whether a site owner has made their best efforts to comply with any enforcement action taken, or has been obstructive and uncooperative and thereby increased the costs of the local authority.

8.8. The cost recovery measures in the 2014 Act mean that the cost of enforcement action cannot fall on those site licence holders who comply with the law and licence conditions. It will be for a local authority to decide in each case whether it wishes to seek to recover the costs of enforcement action from a site licence owner.


Contact

Email: Ged Millar

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG