Caravan site licences - Park Homes Fees Policy

Contents

Purpose of Policy

This policy establishes the principles and methods of calculation for fees and charges permitted to be charged under the Mobile Homes Act 2013 (and related regulations).

The Council has a duty to grant licenses for caravan sites under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 for sites that have been granted planning permission. The Control of Development Act 1960 has now been amended by the provisions of the Mobile Homes Act 2013. The Mobile Homes Act 2013 was introduced in order to provide greater protection to occupiers of residential park homes and caravans as the existing legislation had not been updated for more than 50 years.

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 introduces important changes to the buying, selling or gifting of a park home and the pitch fee review process.

There is an expectation that Councils will inspect sites annually and use the additional powers to ensure compliance with site licence conditions.

Mobile Homes Act 2013 refers to these sites as ‘Relevant Protected Sites’. Local Authorities are able to reclaim costs for administering and monitoring site licences for these sites. Fees may be levied for a new application for a Site Licence; transfer or variation of a Site Licence; Annual Licence Fee and for the Deposit of Site Rules with the Local Authority.

Section 10A (2) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 as amended by the 2013 Act requires a Local Authority to publish a Fees Policy for the licensing of park home sites.

The Mobile Homes (Requirement for Manager of Site to be Fit and Proper Person) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”) permit the Council to charge a fee upon the consideration of an application to assess if a person is “fit and proper” to manage a site, under the Regulations

Scope and Application

This policy details all fees and charges permitted to be made under the Mobile Homes Act 2013 (“the Act”) and the Regulations   

Any review of fees shall have regard to this policy.

This policy shall not take precedence over any legislation or statutory guidance where it exists.

A Relevant Protected Site is defined in the Act as any land to be used as a caravan site with planning consent, other than one where a licence is:

Granted for holiday use only although the new requirements DO apply to sites which have a mix of holiday and residential units

In any other way subject to conditions which restrict the usage of the site for the stationing of caravans for human habitation at certain times of the year (such as planning conditions).

It does not include sites that are owned by the Local Authority, a caravan occupied by the owner of the land, or person employed by the occupier of the land who does not occupy the caravan under an agreement which the Mobile Homes Act 1983 applies

Relevant protected sites to which the legislation applies are typically known as residential parks, mobile home parks and/or Gypsy Roma and Traveller sites.

If any doubt arises as to whether a site falls under the definition of a Relevant Protected Site, then the guidance issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) entitled ‘Park Homes: Site Licensing - Definition of relevant protected sites’ will be referred to by officers in order to clarify the status of the site.

The Act enables a Local Authority to reclaim costs for administering and monitoring site licences, but prevents a local authority from making a profit recovering enforcement costs for a breach of condition etc, as this is separately provided for under the Act or recovering costs associated with unlicensed sites.

Each application type and annual inspection has been broken down into its constituent parts in order to identify clearly each task involved in the process; the average amount of time taken to complete each task; and the job role of the officer completing the task.

The ‘on-costs’ (salary of post holder + any additional costs incurred by the employer as a result of employing a person in that position) for each job role have then been applied to each template to determine the overall fee associated with each application type and for the annual fee

The Fee Structure

In setting this fee policy and the fees to be charged the Council has had regard to the Guide for Local Authorities on Setting Site Licensing Fees issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (2014).

The Act and Regulations and sets out that Local Authorities can charge:

  • A licence fee for applications to grant or transfer a licence or application to alter the conditions of a licence and;
  • An annual fee for administering and monitoring licences
  • A deposit fee for site rules
  • Entry on to the Register of Fit and Proper Persons

Site owners may recover the cost of an annual licence fee only through the pitch fee review, by adding this to the pitch fee in the first year the licence is introduced. The cost of the licence fee will then remain part of the pitch fee

In calculating the fee structure the Council will calculate is fees in accordance with Mobile Homes Act 2013 which allows the Council to include all its reasonable costs, including administrative costs, officer visits to the site, consultations, meetings, informal advice and updating the public register

In respect of entry onto the Register of Fit and Proper Persons this is required from that date for the person who owns or manages every relevant protected site run on a commercial basis. The charge will be per application and an entry on the Register. If conditions are placed, by the Council, on the Decision Notice for a particular applicant, then a further charge, per condition will be made annually for the monitoring of that condition.

Sites which are mixed use, i.e. partly holiday with some residential, will be deemed to fall within the definition of a ‘Relevant Protected Site’ and so fees can be charged in relation to the residential units, unless it is exempted under the 2013 Act.

Fit and Proper Person Test fee (details below in section 7) is payable for each person managing or owning a site and entry on the register normally lasts for 5 years. Any change of applicant requires a new fee. A new fee is payable when the period on the register expires.

Review of the Fee Structure

A review of the fees structure may be carried out annually

Payment of Fees

All fees are to be included with the application for a new site licence, for amending a site licence, for transferring a site licence or the deposit of site rules.

In the case of exiting sites where an annual site licence fee is payable it shall be due on 1 July of each year

Where customers fail to pay for fees and charges, they will be made liable for the additional costs of enforcement and collection where possible.

For the purpose of this policy the period covered by the annual fee will be 1 July to 30 June each year. The fee will be charged to the site owner/license holder by invoices with payment due within 30 days.

Where a new site licence is issued part way through the year, the annual fee will also be due in the same year and an invoice will be sent after the licence has been granted for the pro-rata amount.

Where an amended licence is issued part way through the year (which included either additional units or a reduction in units), the change in annual fee would be calculated on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the year and difference in fee would be adjusted against the following years annual fee.

Legislation allows the license holder to pass on the annual fee cost for 2014/15 to the resident’s pitch fee

In the event that an annual fee is not paid within the terms of the invoice the council may apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for an order requiring the licence holder to pay the amount due.

Application Fee

All sites require a site licence to operate (subject to exemptions in the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960); failure to apply for licence is an offence under Section 1(2) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. The council may only issue a licence for a site with a valid and correct planning permission for the use. Any application made before the planning status has been awarded must be processed within 6 weeks of the planning decision. Sites which already have the correct planning permission in place must be processed within 2 months of the licence application

The size of the site will be taken as the maximum amount of caravans permitted under the planning consent for the site not the amount of caravans on the site at the time of the application.

An additional time factor may need to be added if a ‘fit and proper’ person test is introduced.

The fee for a new site licence is £646 plus £10 per additional pitch on the site. This is to reflect the variation in the cost of processing the application depending on the size of the site.

See Appendix A for information relating to the calculation of fees

Annual Fee

All relevant protected sites must pay an annual fee to the council (subject to any exemptions stated in this policy).

The annual fee covers the costs associated with administration, an annual site inspection to ensure compliance with the site licence conditions and a revisit to ensure compliance with any outstanding works required. If there is still a breach in site licence condition at the point of the revisit further charges may be payable to cover the cost of any enforcement action which may be taken

The following formula shall be used to calculate the base fee for the annual fee:

(A – 1) x 10 = B

((B+C)/60) x D = Z

A = number of pitches
B = time spent inspecting total number of pitches
C = average calculated time for inspection admin
D = officer hourly rate
Z = Fee to be charged

The fee guidance issued by the government suggests that the annual fee needs to reflect the cost of providing this service averaged across all the sites within a district. 

The Annual fee will be invoiced on 1 July each year and shall be payable in 30 days.

The Annual Fee shall be £16 per pitch

See Appendix C for information relating to the calculation of fees

Transfer/Amendment of Site Licence

Where a licence holder wishes to transfer the licence an application must be made to the Council, for which a fee is payable. The fee must accompany the application to transfer the licence.

Similarly where a site owner requests an amendment to site licence conditions the council can charge a fee for this function.

Applications can be made by licence holders to vary or cancel conditions, the fee is payable at the application stage.

This fee is based on the estimate of time that it is considered a transfer of a licence will take.  An additional time factor may need to be added if the ‘fit and proper’ person test is introduced.

Transfer of Licence fee shall be £199

Where significant amendments to the site license conditions are requested this is likely to involve a site visit, so the fee for this licensing activity will increase to £288

See Appendix B for information relating to the calculation of fees

Enforcement Costs

Where there has been a breach in a site licence condition which comes to the attention of the council we may serve a compliance notice. The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 details the elements which a local authority may include when imposing a charge for enforcement action. These include the time involved in deciding to serve and prepare the notice. A detailed breakdown of the relevant expenses would be provided with the compliance notice. Charges would be based on an hourly rate in addition to any other costs incurred for example legal costs.

If any works in the compliance notice are not carried out the licence holder commits an offence, and the local authority may consider taking legal proceedings. Any costs associated with this process would be at the discretion of the court.  If a prosecution was successfully taken, the council would have the power to carry out the works in default of the licence holder.

Charges for enforcement costs cannot be passed onto the residents via the pitch fee.

Fees for Depositing Site Rules

Site Rules are different to the site licence conditions and are put in place by the owner of a site to ensure acceptable standards are maintained which will be of benefit to occupiers or will promote and maintain community cohesion on the site. The Mobile Homes Act 2013 changes the way site rules must be agreed between both parties. The Local Authority must keep an up to date register of site rules on relevant protected sites and publish the register on-line.

Before publishing the site rules the Local Authority will ensure the rules deposited have been made in accordance with the statutory procedure and a fee can be charged for this function.

Any site rules deposited with the Local Authority for the first time, or applications to vary or delete existing site rules must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. The fee is the same for either a first deposit or for a subsequent variation or deletion. This is because the process will be very similar for all three types of deposits.

The fee is £147 this reflects the fixed cost for this function

See Appendix D for information relating to the calculation of fees

Fit and Proper Person Test

From July 2021 a charge will be made for entry on to the Register of Fit and Proper Persons.

This will be required for each person who owns or manages every relevant protected site run on a commercial basis.

The charge for entry on the register will be £365 per each applicant and an entry on the Register will normally be for 5 years.

If conditions are placed, on the Decision Notice for a particular applicant, then a further charge of £89 per condition will be made annually for the monitoring of that condition.

Exemptions

Sites which meet the following criteria will not be subject to the fees set out in this policy.

Exemption One

Sites that are not relevant protected sites

Exemption Two

Sites with five or less caravans as they are considered low risk and the cost of inspection is outweighed by the cost of the administration charges

Exemption Three

Sites with caravans all occupied by members of the same family and not run for financial gain.

The above sites have been exempted because these sites are inspected every 3 to 5 years, not annually, so the small size of the fee once split by the frequency of inspection would make the collection untenable.

One fundamental aim of the Act and Regulations is to minimise unfair practices of site owners who have control of the permanent homes of residents. This is not a problem on single and small family run sites, though any complaints received will be responded to in accordance with our complaints procedure.

If the applicant claims to qualify for exemption from the annual fee due to being a family site, then additional information may be requested by officers in order to verify this claim. If there is any doubt as to the legitimacy of the claim then the matter will be referred to the Licensing Manager to determine the appropriate fee that needs to accompany the application.  

Reviews and Changes

The fees detailed in this policy have been determined based on historical experience of dealing with site licensing.  Some of the processes are new (for example the depositing of site rules) and therefore estimates have been made as to the cost of providing these services.

At the time of producing this policy some elements of the licensing regime are still awaiting further regulation by government which may impact on the processes and the time involved

The Council reserves the right to review and amend this Policy at any time.

Miscellaneous Matters

Please note that a Local Authority is not required to consider any application made in relation to a Relevant Protected Site unless that application is accompanied by the correct fee. This also applies to fees due when park rules are being deposited with the Local Authority.

If the application is not approved then the applicant is NOT entitled to a refund, as the application has been processed

A local authority is not permitted to make a profit from the fees and therefore the proposed fees are based on the cost of administering the regime having regard to a well-run site. This ensures that the owners of well-run sites are not subsidising poorly run sites where costs can be recovered through enforcement charges if necessary. The proposed fees will be assessed each year to determine their accuracy as part of the Council’s annual fees and charges setting process. Any change to the fees policy itself must be approved by the Licensing Committee.

Appendix A

Applications for grant of a new licence

In order to set the fees for these applications we can take into account the following matters on which costs are incurred. This charge will be in addition to the annual fee.

Initial Licence Fee Time Calculation

 Time (minutes)

Enquiry received and service requested. Opening a new license file

20

Obtain planning documents and liaise with Planning. 

25

Send out site application form with covering letter

15

Contact applicant and make an appointment to carry out an initial site inspection

20

Travel Time of Licencing Enforcement Officer x2

60 x2

Conducting the initial site inspection (Licencing Enforcement Officer x2)

75 x2

Check application valid e.g. all compulsory questions completed and correct fee included.

60

Make enquiries with Environmental Health Officers regarding the site and any issues found on the inspection

60 (EH and LEO)

Carry out Land Registry Search to verify applicant is owner of land

10 + cost of search (Solicitor)

Examine electrical certificate and any other documentation submitted with licence for validity.

20 (Solicitor)

Prepare site licence and send to applicant with covering letter – including setting up electronic files on case management system

60

Discuss with applicant proposed site licence conditions  

30

Scan documents in to electronic format and update public register

30

Upon occupation of site contact site owner to make appointment for licensing inspection

10

Travel time of Licencing Enforcement Officer

60

Carry out full site inspection. 

Make note of any breaches of site licence conditions/ works required (Licencing Enforcement Officer)

180

Complete record of visit (Licensing Officer)

45

Obtaining Legal Advice on any issues which arise (Licencing Enforcement Officer & Solicitor)

45 x2

Total fixed time (minutes)

975 – Licensing Officer
60 – Environmental Health Officer
30 – Solicitor

Additional inspection time for all pitches in addition over and above the first (Full inspection) by Licencing Enforcement Officer

25

Variable time (minutes per pitch)

25

Fee estimation

975 minutes Licensing Enforcement Officer - @ £35.50 per hour = £576.88

60 minutes Environmental Health Officer @ £36.47 per hour = £36.47

30 minutes Solicitor @ £59.22 per hour = £29.61

Land Registry Search = £3.00

Pitch inspection

25 minutes Licensing Enforcement Officer @ £35.50 per hour = £10.11

Total fee = £646 plus £10 per additional unit on site

Appendix B

Applications for Amendment or Transfer of a license

Amendment or Transfer Fee Time Calculation

 Time (minutes)

Enquiry received and service requested plus advice on the process

40

Send out site application form with covering letter

10

Processing application form including checking application valid e.g. all compulsory questions completed and correct fee included.

60

Carry out Land Registry Search to confirm applicant is new owner of the site and advising Enforcement Officer on the outcome of the search

20 + Land Reg Fee (Solicitor)

Liaising with other council departments to ascertain records of outstanding historic breaches, outstanding notices etc. 

40

Amending site licence and site file

60

Amended site licence to be checked  by Solicitor

25 (Solicitor)

Send amended site licence to site owner with covering letter. 

10

Amend public register

20

Total fixed time (mins)

240 LEO

45 Solicitor

Fee estimation

240 minutes Licensing Enforcement Officer - @ £35.50 per hour = £142

45 minutes Solicitor @ £59.22 per hour = £44.42

Land Registry Search £3.00

Total fee = £199

Where necessary the following cost may be added.

Additional site visit required to verify amendments (including travel time)

150 minutes Licensing Enforcement Officer @ £35.50 per hour = £88.75

Total fee = £89

Appendix C

Annual Fee setting template

Annual license admin/monitoring time calculation – cost C

Time (minutes)

Annual Fee letter created and sent to site owner

10

Telephone liaison with site owner

60

Records check of site file (including complaints database)

30

Travel to site for Licensing Enforcement Officer

60

Inspection common parts and one unit by Licensing Enforcement Officer

60

Record details of inspection by Licensing Enforcement Officer

60

Follow up letter and phone call discussion on content of the letter

30

Annual fee processing (including non-payment reminder letters)

45

Total

455 minutes = cost of one site

 

The following formula is used to calculate the fee.

(N – 1) x A = B

(B+C/60) x D = Z

N = number of pitches (currently 320)
A = time spent inspecting each pitch (minutes) 25
B = time spent inspecting total number of pitches
C = average calculated time for inspection admin (455 minutes)
D = Officer hourly rate (£35.50)
Z = Fee to be charged

Assumptions

N - A fixed calculated time is applied including the inspection of the first unit hence N – 1.

A - Each pitch is allocated an inspection time of 25 minutes

C – Is made up of the elements shown below

D = Officer hourly rate of Licensing Enforcement Officer

Annual fee based on 10 sites with a total of 289 pitches

(289 – 1) X 25 minutes = 7200 minutes

(7200 + 455 / 60) x £35.50 = 4529.21

4529.21/ 289 = £15.67 per pitch (£16)

Appendix D

Site rules deposit fees 


Site rules deposit fee calculation

 Time (minutes)

Application for site rules deposited and service request – including advice on process to applicant

35

Check application is valid and site rules have been made in accordance with statute, consultation carried out, no banned rules, no appeals  to first tier tribunal outstanding including advice from Solicitor

120 plus 25 mins Solicitor

Amend public register and deposit rules on website

30

Total fixed time (mins)

190 LEO

25 Solicitor

Fee estimation

190 minutes and Licensing Enforcement Officer @ £35.50 per hour = £112.42

25 minutes Solicitor @ £59.22 per hour = £24.68

Total fee = £147

Appendix E

Fit and Proper Assessments


Site rules deposit fee calculation

 Time (minutes)

Pre application advice

30

Receipt of application, checking it is a full and complete and recording on licensing system

60

Returning incomplete application and advising on issues plus reconsideration upon re-submission

60

Processing fee and receipting to the applicant

10

Making enquiries to verify the content of the application thereafter documenting findings

75

Review of application file

30

Issue Final Notice or serve Preliminary Notice

20

Identify any applicable conditions and discuss with Solicitor (Licensing Manager)

20 (plus 20 Solicitor)

Review of any appeal – by Solicitor (Licensing Manager)

60 (Solicitor)

Appeal procedure

90 (plus 20 Solicitor writing review paper for director)

Issue final Decision Notice following appeal decision

20

Add details to public register

15

Update licensing database

20

Total fixed time (mins)

450 LEO

100 Solicitor

Fee estimation

450 minutes and Licensing Enforcement Officer @ £35.50 per hour = £266.25

100 minutes Solicitor @ £59.22 per hour = £98.70

Total fee = £365

Monitoring of any conditions placed on Entry on Register

150 minutes by Licensing Enforcement Officer @ £35.50 per hour = £88.75

Total fee = £89 per annum per condition

 

 


Last Updated on Wednesday, December 1, 2021