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Caravans and mobile homes can be full time homes but generally they are not covered by the law that protects occupiers of houses and flats.

The main law relating to caravans and residential mobile homes is the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

This requires a site licence to station caravans on land for living purposes.

Licences

A caravan site licence is designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of caravan occupants and covers fire safety, drainage, wholesome water supplies etc. Very few caravan sites are exempt from these requirements.

A licence application must be in writing and accompanied by a site plan at 1:500 scale showing the layout. There is no fee and a licence is usually issued within two months of application.

We will normally issue a licence unless:

  • there is no planning permission for the caravan(s), or
  • the planning permission is to expire within six months, or
  • the applicant has had a site licence withdrawn in the previous three years

The licence contains conditions that must be observed. These will include:

  • the type of caravan, for example, residential, static holiday or touring.
  • the number of caravans that can be on site per acre/hectare and the spacing between caravans.
  • water supply and drainage, toilet and washing facilities.
  • fire precautions and electrical installations.

There are also controls over other services, site equipment, safety and maintenance; and general restrictions on other structures and vehicles on sites.

If the conditions are not kept to, action can be taken against the person failing to comply, or works may be undertaken in default and costs recovered.

Protection of caravan dwellers

All owners or tenants of caravans are protected by law and cannot be forced to leave the site unless the site owner obtains a court order. The site owner is not allowed to harass occupiers.

If you own your mobile home and live in it as your only residence you are protected by the Mobile Homes Act 1983.

This gives you the right to a written agreement which sets out your and the site owner's responsibilities. It must contain the name and address of the site owner, a description of the pitch, and all the residency terms applying. These terms cover issues such as: duration of the agreement, rights of termination, recovery of overpayment on termination, and right to sell or gift the mobile home, pitch fees, service charges and maintenance responsibilities.

The Caravan Sites Act 1968 protects occupiers against harassment and is enforced by us. Harassment is defined as "illegally depriving occupiers of occupation of their mobile home" or "carrying out acts designed to interfere with the peace and comfort of an occupier with the intention of causing them to leave".