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Mobility Scooters and Motorised Wheelchairs in Schemes with Communal Areas

Together Housing understands the value that mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs can provide in terms of increasing independence and improving quality of life. Together Housing therefore wants to support residents to have these vehicles, wherever possible.


What is the difference between a Mobility scooter and a Motorised wheelchair?

Mobility scooters

These are intended to help people with reduced mobility. They have become popular with older people who have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time but do not necessarily think themselves disabled. A mobility scooter can be a convenient alternative to public transport or a replacement for a car for those who no longer feel confident enough to drive. They have three or four wheels and are steered using a bicycle style handlebar which requires two hands to steer. They are meant for use outside, e.g. visit to local shops rather than for inside buildings.

Motorised wheelchairs

Are used by people who rely on their wheelchairs for everyday mobility, around the home as well as outdoors. It is usually the person’s only means of getting around. These usually look like a traditional wheelchair but have a battery and a motor. They are usually driven with one hand, using a ‘joystick’ control on the arm of the chair. A Motorised Wheelchair can be used inside buildings and would usually be stored and recharged within the residents own home.

Are there different rules for mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs?

Yes. Mobility scooters are for outside use, on pavements and/or roads. They are not intended for inside use, whereas motorised wheelchairs if used by a customer who is fully reliant upon this to get around can be used to get around the scheme and would normally be stored and charged in the residents own flat.

The main principles apply to both Mobility Scooters and Motorised Wheelchairs, therefore for ease, we will refer to both mobility vehicles and motorised wheelchairs as “mobility vehicles” in this leaflet. Although the popularity of mobility vehicles is a good thing, it does raise issues for housing schemes. This is because most of our schemes were built many years ago and weren’t designed to accommodate mobility vehicles. Health and safety requirements mean that we have to make sure mobility vehicles are stored safely to reduce the fire risk and also to avoid them being an obstruction for residents, visitors, staff and emergency services personnel. We also need to make sure that owners use mobility vehicles safely, for the sake of other residents in the scheme.

So Together Housing has procedures in place to keep schemes safe from the risk of fire and obstruction. And also to make sure that mobility vehicles don’t cause a problem for others in the scheme.

The following frequently asked questions explain these arrangements and the responsibilities of residents who already have, or who wish to purchase, a mobility vehicle.

What do I need to do before I bring a mobility vehicle into the scheme?

You must seek permission, in writing, before bringing a mobility vehicle into the scheme. This request should be sent to the Neighbourhood/ Leasehold or Housing Support Officer for the scheme. They will check if there is enough storage space in the scheme and will also discuss with you about safe use before giving you a decision. If you bring a mobility vehicle into the scheme without getting permission, you will be asked to remove it.

Where can I store my mobility vehicle?
Staff will agree with you where the mobility vehicle must be stored. Firstly we would consider if there is a designated safe place in a communal area that isn’t already full up. A designated space is somewhere that has been purposely designed to accommodate mobility scooters, for example a scooter store. If there isn’t a designated safe space we would consider storing within your flat if there is sufficient space.
What if I can’t manage to get from the storage area to my flat?
You would need to have another type of mobility aid e.g. wheelchair or walking frame. Our staff can help you apply for this kind of equipment.
What if there is no storage space available?

If there is nowhere in the scheme designated as safe for mobility vehicles and the mobility vehicle won’t fit into your flat then we can’t allow you to have a mobility vehicle in the scheme.

If we do have an area for storage but the space is already full up, then staff will add your name to the waiting list. Allocation of space will be on a first come, first served basis.

What safeguards are there for mobility vehicles stored in a communal area?

As mobility vehicles can be a fire hazard, we have safeguards in place:

  • All flats have smoke detectors
  • Flats may have heat detectors linked into the fire alarm
  • Smoke detectors have been fitted in areas designated for storage
  • Sockets have been fitted in the areas for storage to avoid any trailing electrical leads as they could be a trip hazard.
What are my responsibilities?

If you are given permission to bring a mobility vehicle into a scheme, then you will be required to comply with the conditions set out in our Mobility Vehicles Agreement. Staff will explain this to you and help you sort out any practical things like insurance. You will be asked to sign this agreement as part of us giving you permission to have a mobility vehicle in the scheme.

It includes things you need to do including:

  • To buy and use an RCD (special type of plug) for recharging;
  • Ensuring an electrical check takes place every year;
  • Consider taking out insurance cover for your vehicles to pay for any damage you might cause to the scheme or should you injure someone;
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about recharging, regular maintenance and safe use;
  • Use the vehicle in line with the intended use and registration requirements, including speed limits.
  • Observing a safe speed limit, the equivalent of a walking pace in the public areas inside and outside the scheme If you don’t keep to the terms of the Agreement, then you will be asked to remove your mobility vehicle from the scheme.
Do I need to have insurance for my mobility vehicle?

No. however we do recommend that you do take out insurance so that you have cover for any accidents and if you cause injury to anyone or cause damage to property. If you don’t, then you will be personally liable to pay compensation or the cost of any claims.

As a minimum, we would suggest third party cover, to cover you for injury or damage. Additional levels of cover would include the theft or damage to the vehicles and personal injury.

However, the decision whether to have insurance is up to you.

If you have household insurance and are storing your mobility vehicle within your flat you should advise your insurance company as it may affect your insurance premium.

Do I need to pay if I recharge my vehicles from an electrical socket in the communal space?

No – the amount of electricity used for recharging is very small. So we don’t think it is necessary to charge. However we might look at this in the future if we feel that it is necessary.

Do I need to register with DVLA?

You need to register and license your vehicles, if it:

  • Exceeds a speed of 4mph (but not capable of exceeding speed of 8mph)
  • Is intended for use on the road or highway
  • Supports a weight not exceeding 150kgs

If the above apply, then it is classed as a Class 3 Invalid carriage and must be registered with DVLA.

How do I register?

You will need to complete a V55/4 form if it is a new vehicle or a V55/5 if it is a used vehicle. The form is obtained from and returned to your nearest DVLA local office (telephone 0300 7906802 to find out your nearest office).

You will need to quote your postcode. Staff can help with this. You must be licensed in the disabled taxation class and display a nil duty tax. Invalid carriages are exempt from paying the first registration fee and are not required to display registration plates.

Does Together Housing have the right to refuse requests?

Yes – Any refusals will be based on space limitation or an assessment by staff of risk about safe usage. We will write to you to let you know our decision when you ask permission.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you should contact the Neighbourhood Co-ordinator, Leasehold Manager or Supported Housing Manager explaining why you disagree with the refusal. S/he will contact you to discuss this.

If you are still dissatisfied you can take your complaint further as part of Together Housing’s complaints procedure.

Some information about safe use

Mobility vehicles can pose a hazard to pedestrians, especially for people with mobility problems. You are expected to be capable of driving your mobility vehicle carefully and with consideration for others.

For your own safety, you need to make sure you only use the mobility vehicle in line with the limitations set by the manufacturer and be aware of common

  • Hitting the kerb or steps can cause jolting and this can lead to tipping over or sliding. This can also cause you to slide or fall forwards out of the
  • Soft ground – as wheels can sink in and tip the vehicle so wherever possible, keep to hard paved surfaces.
  • Adding a cushion raises the centre of gravity of the vehicle and reduces stability
  • Attaching things like shopping bags, ventilators or oxygen cylinders can imbalance the vehicles. This may not cause problems on a level surface but it can make it unstable when going up a slope or ramp.

Where can I get more information about mobility vehicles?

Staff will be able to provide contact details to get more information if you are thinking about buying or bringing a mobility vehicle into the scheme. They will help you do this if you want them to.

CLASS 2 Motorised Wheelchair

Looks like a traditional wheelchair but has a battery. Usually driven using one hand via the joystick on the arm of the chair.

Can be used on pavements, up to 4mph. They may be used on roads only for crossing or where no pavement available.

Not required to be registered with DVLA

Allowed to be used inside schemes

CLASS 2 Powered scooters for pavement use

Has a motor, handle bars, requires two hands to steer and a motor, usually with light.

Not for indoor use. For use outside on pavements, up to 4mph. They may be used on roads only for crossing or where no pavement available.

Not required to be registered with DVLA

Not allowed to be used in schemes except to get to designated storage area IF there is sufficient space and driven carefully at a walking pace.

CLASS 3 Powered scooters for road use

In addition to above, also has front and rear lights, indicators/hazards horn, and mirror

Not for indoor use. For use outside on pavements, up to 4mph or on roads, up to 8mph. Can only be used by a disabled person. Can’t use on motorways, cycle lanes or bus

Required by law to be registered with DVLA for road use.

Need to be licensed in disabled taxation class and display nil duty tax disc.

Not allowed to be used in schemes except to get to designated storage area IF there is sufficient space and driven carefully at a walking pace.

Your Tenancy Safety and Compliance A Guide to Mobility Vehicles