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Caravan sites and mobile home parks

Caravan sites are generally required to have a licence in the UK. There is legislation for England and Wales and Scotland, and similar legislation for Northern Ireland. Applications for a licence are generally made to the relevant local authority. It may be possible to apply online; search on “caravan site licence” and the name of your local authority.

Tacit consent: it appears that some authorities consider that tacit consent applies and some do not.

Planning permission: generally, planning permission must already be in place for a caravan site. The requirement for a site licence is additional.

England
The legislation is contained in Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (“CSCDA”). Detailed regulations are made under the Act by the UK government for England

Caravan site licence requirement: under the (CSCDA), an occupier of land must hold a site licence if any part of the land is to be used as a caravan site. In the case of land amounting to not more than 400 square yards (approx 334.5 square metres) which is let under a tenancy entered into with a view to the use of the land as a caravan site, the landlord is treated as the “occupier”.

A “caravan site” means land on which a caravan is stationed for the purposes of human habitation and land which is used in conjunction with land on which a caravan is so stationed (CSCDA ss. 1(4), 29(1)).

Seasonal use only may be sufficient to be treated as use as a caravan site (Biss v Smallburgh RDC [1964] 2 All ER 543).

Definition of caravan: a “caravan” means any structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another, whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer, and any motor vehicle so designed or adapted. Excluded from the definition is any railway rolling stock on rails forming part of a railway system, any tent or a structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on a site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices; and when assembled exceeds prescribed limits. The limits were changed for England and (separately) for Wales and these are indicated in square brackets: length (exclusive of any drawbar): 60 [65.616] feet (18.288 [20] metres); width: 20 [22.309] feet (6.096 [6.8] metres); and overall height of living accommodation (measured internally from the floor at the lowest level to the ceiling at the highest level): 10 [10.006] feet (3.048 [3.05] metres).
(see CSCDA s.13(2); dimensions in relation to England SI 2006/2374; in relation to Wales SI 2007/3163).

A motor vehicle is not a caravan unless it has been designed, or physically altered so as to adapt it, for human habitation (Backer v Secretary of State for the Environment [1983] 2 All ER 1021: Commer van equipped with bed).

Exceptions from requirement for a site licence (CSCDA s.2/sched. 1):
* the use of land as a caravan site if the use is incidental to the enjoyment as such of a dwellinghouse within the curtilage of which the land is situated
* use by a person travelling with a caravan for one or two nights
* use of land as a caravan site by a person travelling with a caravan who brings the caravan on to the land for a period which includes not more than two nights
* the use as a caravan site of land which comprises, together with any adjoining land which is in the same occupation and has not been built on, not less than five acres in certain circumstances
* sites occupied and supervised by exempted organisations
* sites approved by exempted organisations
* use of land as a caravan site for the accommodation during a particular season of farm or forestry workers
* use as a caravan site of land which forms part of, or adjoins, land on which building or engineering operations are being carried out
* use of land as a caravan site by a travelling showman who is a member of an organisation of travelling showmen which holds for the time being a certificate granted under this paragraph and who is, at the time, travelling for the purposes of his business or who has taken up winter quarters on the land with his equipment for some period falling between the beginning of October in any year and the end of March in the following year
* sites occupied by licensing authority
* use of land occupied by a county council, or in Scotland by a regional council, as a caravan site providing accommodation for gypsies

Applications for a licence: usually no fee is required; applications must be made on the local authority’s form giving the required information. If planning permission has been granted, a licence should normally be given within six weeks of providing the required information. A licence should be refused if the applicant has held another site licence which has been revoked within the previous 3 years. A licence once granted is indefinite unless the relevant planning permission expires. Conditions may be imposed on the licence regarding amenities and other matters. Model conditions are published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Criminal enforcement: the occupier of any land who contravenes the requirement to obtain a licence is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale. No offence is committed if the local authority has failed to issue a licence within the 6 week period.

Notice to quit a caravan: under the Caravan Sites Act 1968: in the case of a person with license to station a caravan on a protected site (as defined by the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960) and occupy it as his residence, he is entitled to at least 4 weeks’ notice to quit. This does not apply if the right to stay was for a fixed term only without notice to quit being required.

Sites which are holiday only or seasonal are excluded from this requirement.

Mobile Homes

The Mobile Homes Act 1983 applies to any agreement under which a person (“the occupier”) is entitled to:

* station a mobile home on land forming part of a protected site; and

* occupy the mobile home as his only or main residence. .

The Mobile Homes Act  1983 imposes certain rights and obligations upon the owner and occupier of a site and as to the contents of any agreement for occupation of a mobile home which are summarised below. A "mobile home" is defined in the same terms as a "caravan" under the CSCDA (see above).

Written statement

Within three months of the making of an agreement to which this Act applies, the owner of the protected site mustl give to the occupier a written statement which:

* specifies the names and addresses of the parties and the date of commencement of the agreement; .

* includes particulars of the land on which the occupier is entitled to station the mobile home sufficient to identify it; .

* sets out the express terms of the agreement and the terms implied by section 2(1)of the Act; and .

* complies with such other requirements as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State. The Mobile Homes (Written Statement) (England) Regulations 2011 set out; see GOV.UK.

Terms of agreements under the Act

The Act implies certain terms into a mobile home agreement as follows:

* Duration: the right to station the mobile home on land forming part of the protected site continues until the agreement is terminated as follows:

Termination by occupier: the occupier shall be entitled to terminate the agreement by notice in writing given to the owner not less than four weeks before the date on which it is to take effect.

Termination by owner:

Tthe owner may terminate the agreement immediately if, on the application of the owner, the tribunal is satisfied that the occupier has breached a term of the agreement and, after service of a notice to remedy the breach, has not complied with the notice within a reasonable time; and the tribunal )considers it reasonable for the agreement to be terminated..

The owner may terminate the agreement immediately if, on the application of the owner, the tribunal is satisfied that the occupier is not occupying the mobile home as his only or main residence..

The owner may terminate the agreement at the end of a relevant period if, on the application of the owner, the tribunal is satisfied that, having regard to its age and condition, the mobile home is having a detrimental effect on the amenity of the site; or is likely to have such an effect before the end of the next relevant period. The “relevant period” means the period of five years beginning with the commencement of the agreement and each succeeding period of five years..

Exceptions:

* If the owner’s estate or interest in the site is insufficient, the right to occupy the home will not extend beyond the date when the owner’s estate or interest determines;

* If planning permission for the use of the protected site as a site for mobile homes has been granted in terms such that it will expire at the end of a specified period, the period for which the right subsists will not extend beyond the date when the planning permission expires.

Recovery of overpayments by occupier: where the agreement is terminated as above, the occupier is entitled to recover from the owner so much of any payment made by him under the agreement as is attributable to a period beginning after the termination..

* Sale of mobile home

The occupier is entitled to sell the mobile home, and to assign the agreement, to a person approved of by the owner, whose approval must not be unreasonably withheld.
The owner is entitled to receive a commission on the sale at a rate not exceeding such rate as may be specified by an order made by the Secretary of State. The Mobile Homes (Commissions) Order 1983 limits the commission to 10%.

* Gift of mobile home

The occupier is entitled to give the mobile home, and to assign the agreement, to a member of his family approved by the owner, whose approval may not be unreasonably withheld..

* Resiting of mobile home

If the owner is entitled to require that the occupier’s right to station the mobile home shall be exercisable for any period in relation to other land forming part of the protected site, the other land must be broadly comparable to the land on which the occupier was originally entitled to station the mobile home; and all costs and expenses incurred in consequence of the requirement must be be paid by the owner.

* Successors in title

An agreement to which the Act applies is binding on and applies to the benefit of any successor in title of the owner and any person claiming through or under the owner or any such successor.
Where a person entitled to the benefit of an agreement to which this Act applies dies at a time when he is occupying the mobile home as his only or main residence, the agreement is transmitted to any person residing with the deceased at that time if he/she is the widow or widower of the deceased. If there is no widow or widower, any member of the deceased’s family residing with the deceased may have the benefit of the agreement. A member of the family within the meaning of the Act is his spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.

* Matters Concerning Which Terms May be Implied by Court or Tribunal

The court or tribunal may, on the application of either party made within the period of six months from the date the writen statement was given (see "Written Statement" above), by order vary or delete any express term of the agreement, or imply a term relating to any of the matters specified below, if it considers that it is just and equitable in the circumstances:

* the right of the occupier to quiet enjoyment or, in Scotland, undisturbed possession of the mobile home;

* the sums payable by the occupier in pursuance of the agreement and the times at which they are to be paid;

* the review at yearly intervals of the sums so payable;

* the provision or improvement of services available on the protected site, and the use by the occupier of such services;

* the preservation of the amenity of the protected site;

* the maintenance and repair of the protected site by the owner, and the maintenance and repair of the mobile home by the occupier;

* access by the owner to the land on which the occupier is entitled to station the mobile home.

What's new item [see What's new page or archive for full item]:

09/01/2014: Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014
Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014 ( SI 2014/5) come into force on 4 February 2014.
Site owners will be prevented from using site rules inappropriately to the disadvantage of mobile home owners from 4 February 2014. The intention is to ensure site rules are made fairly with home owners engaged in the process and rules made are transparent. The rules will also be available for public inspection, having been deposited with the local authority, with a right of appeal granted to home owners and qualifying residents’ associations.

30/04/2013: The Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013
The Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013 come into force on 26 May 2013. The Regulations make detailed provision in relation to the selling and gifting of mobile homes and the assignment of agreements under provisions which have been inserted into the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (“the 1983 Act”) by sections 9 and 10 of the Mobile Homes Act 2013. [For more, see What's new items]

26/03/2013: Mobile Homes Act 2013
The Mobile Homes Act 2013 amends the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 ("CSCDA 1960") , the Caravan Sites Act 1968 ("CSA 1968") and the Mobile Homes Act 1983 ("MHA 1983") . It brings the licensing regime that applies to mobile home sites in England under the CSCDA 1960 more closely in line with other local authority licensing regimes and also includes a power to enable the Secretary of State to introduce by way of secondary legislation a "fit and proper" person requirement for managers of sites.
The Act will come into force over the next two months except for the power to enable the Secretary of State to introduce by way of secondary legislation a "fit and proper" person requirement for managers of sites which will require a commencement order.

 

Northern Ireland

The Caravans Act (Northern Ireland) 1963 governs caravan sites in Northern Ireland. For further information, visit nibusinessinfo.co.uk

Scotland

What's new item [see What's new page or archive for full item]:

28/06/2013: Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1) (Scotland) Order 2013
SSI 2013/219
New regulations apply in Scotland with effect from 1 September 2013. An occupier of a mobile home site does not need to seek approval of the site owner to sell their mobile home and assign the agreement from 1 September 2013. New and implied terms on pitch fees, termination and the transfer of mobile homes will apply to all current written mobile home agreements on 1 September 2013 and all subsequent agreements. (Updated from draft: 28/06/2013). See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/sdsi/2013/9780111020500

Wales

The Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 is an Act of the National Assembly for Wales and received Royal Assent on 4 November 2013. The Act provides a licensing regime for mobile home sites in Wales and regulates the management of such sites and the agreements under which mobile homes are stationed on them.

[Page updated: 14/01/2014]



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