Mobility scooter storage policy for local authority housing stock

Policy Approved Date: 23 January 2018
Next Review Date: 23 January 2020

Introduction

This policy aims to provide guidance on the use and storage of mobility scooters and promote responsible scooter ownership.

Mobility scooters are becoming increasingly popular in society, and residents are utilising scooters to improve their independence. Portsmouth City Council recognises that residents want to remain independent even when their health or mobility is in decline, and mobility scooters can be of great benefit.

There is a need to identify storage and charging solutions that support the safe use of mobility scooters whilst recognising that different solutions may be necessary in terms of building design, financial consideration, and building use.
This policy has been produced in consultation with internal and external advisors to assist in developing a robust procedure to manage demand, and reduce any risks posed by mobility scooters.

Mobility scooter classification

There are different models of Mobility Scooters with varying sizes and specifications, sometimes generalised as Class 1, 2 and 3 :

Class 1
Manual Wheelchairs, i.e self-propelled or attendant propelled, not electronically propelled. These are not required to be registered with the DVLA.

Class 2
Powered wheelchairs and scooters intended for footway use only, with a maximum speed of 4mph and an unlade weight not exceeding 113.4kgs. These are not required to be registered with DVLA.

Class 3
Powered wheelchairs and scooters with a maximum speed of 8 mph generally intended for use on roads/highways. They must be fitted with a device capable of limiting the maximum speed to 4mph for use when travelling on footways. The unlade weight must not exceed 150kgs. These vehicles are required to be registered with DVLA and the operator must be 14 or over to drive a class 3 vehicle.

Additional notes

Motorised wheelchairs – often resemble a traditional wheelchair but with batteries and a motor. They are intended for use inside a building or in the immediate vicinity and are normally stored and recharged within the owner’s home.

Mobility scooters – Vehicles with three or four wheels and steered using bicycle style handlebar and are primarily used for outdoor use.

Fire safety and risk

Fire Brigades around the UK are increasingly advising that mobility scooters could pose an unnecessary risk once involved in a fire, as they can release large amounts of highly toxic smoke and gases if parked or stored in corridors, stairwells, or the communal areas. Mobility scooters could also affect, or prevent the safe escape of others, posing an unacceptable risk to all building occupiers.

Fire safety regulations impose obligations on the council as the responsible person for the common parts of buildings to ensure that emergency routes and exits are kept clear at all times. Portsmouth City Council periodically undertakes fire risk assessments of all our blocks to ensure any risks identified are managed and dealt with accordingly.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service fully support this policy and have made it very clear that storing, charging and parking of mobility scooters in communal areas is not acceptable. The balance of supporting people to have a full and enjoyable lifestyle is balanced by the need to protect the health and safety of all residents.

Mobility scooter storage

There are currently no regulations for storage of mobility scooters inside individual flats. The regulation only applies to communal spaces.

Mobility scooters should not be stored or charged in the internal communal area unless an area has already been specifically designed and set aside for this purpose:

Portsmouth City Council’s tenancy agreement clearly states communal areas need to be kept clear at all times.
Storage of mobility scooters in communal areas such as corridors and community lounges heightens the risk to people in the event of fire. This might either be a fire caused by the scooter itself or the obstruction caused to other residents as they escape. There is also a risk to emergency services when entering our buildings.

Residents wishing to purchase or lease a mobility scooter, and store this in their individual flat will need to consider the following before purchasing:

  • Check if the property is suitable by making sure it can be stored safely and that it will not cause an obstruction in the event of evacuation such as a fire.
  • Not cause any damage to any doors/door frames whilst entering and leaving the property.
  • Check the scooter is appropriately sized if it needs to enter any lifts or narrow corridors

Residents wishing to purchase or lease a mobility scooter, and wishing to store this in a designated scooter room, must seek written permission from the Housing Service and will be issued with a Storage Licence. This is to ensure that there is adequate storage space available and residents are fully aware of conditions placed upon the usage of this room.

Where designated areas have been provided for, residents must comply with the health and safety regulations. Mobility scooters must be ridden safely and in a responsible manner within the building, taking due care and consideration of other people. All Mobility scooters should be set to the lowest speed setting whilst driven inside.

The allocation of a space within a designated area will take place on a first come/first served basis. In the event that a storage facility is up to full capacity the Scheme Manager and or their Housing Officer will work with the resident to achieve a mutual solution which may mean adding their name to a waiting list. Priority may be given if a request is made on medical grounds with proof of eligibility for an NHS wheelchair.

Portsmouth City Council reserves the right to revoke any licence issued where residents are deemed not to be using their scooter. This will only apply where we have high demand to ensure consideration is being given to other residents wishing to occupy a space.

Adaptations

If a resident is being considered for an accommodation with a mobility scooter and storage inside the property is not suitable, consideration for external storage maybe considered. This will be dependent on suitable space being available which does not cause an obstruction to others, and easy access to electrical supplies can be facilitated.

Any request for change or adaptation to current accommodation will need approval from the local Repairs and Maintenance team. No alteration can be made to a communal building or a resident’s home without written consent from Portsmouth City Council.

Insurance and re-charge

Portsmouth City Council encourages all scooter users to arrange adequate insurance to cover theft, injury to themselves, and to others.

Any damage to Portsmouth City Council property caused by a mobility scooter will be recovered through the owner’s insurance company. If the owner does not have a current insurance certificate a recharge will be raised against their tenancy to recover the cost.

Battery charging of mobility scooters

Battery charging should be undertaken in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

All scooters being charged within the designated area will require a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) annually to ensure the charging equipment is in fit state to be used. This will be carried out by Portsmouth City Council.

Should the charger fail the PAT test it will be the owner’s responsibility to repair/replace the damaged item before it can be used again. Mobility scooters should only be charged for the manufactures recommended time.

Further information

For more information about this policy please contact Syed Ali on 02392 606013 or e-mail syed.ali1@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.