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Checking mobile home sites regulations, rules and operation

This content applies to England & Wales

Legal checks that a prospective purchaser can make about a mobile home site, issues around the site licence, site rules, and how to  find out about how a site is run.

Regulation of mobile home sites

Local authorities regulate mobile homes sites. When buying a mobile home, prospective purchasers or their solicitor/conveyancer should make checks with their local authority to identify any problems with the proposed site:

  • the planning officer can give advice as to whether the site has current planning permission, whether there are any applications for fresh uses, and what the local authority's plans are for future uses of the site and nearby land
  • information should also be obtained about the current site licence (see below), which contains the rules about lay-out and operation of the site.

In addition to this, it is advisable to check who owns the site and, if it is a limited company, that it is not in financial difficulties or being wound up. This information is available from Companies House.

The site licence

The site licence is issued by the local authority and should be exhibited on the site. It contains information about matters such as fire safety and visual amenity. Checking that the licence is prominently displayed and that the provisions have been complied with will help to give an idea of how well-run the site is. For more information see the page on Protected sites in the section on mobile homes.

Rules and operation

Most sites have rules, which deal with things such as behaviour of pets, noise, speed of traffic etc. Prospective owners should get a copy of these rules and find out about how they are made, how they can be changed, and whether they are included in the written agreement. In some cases, the owner imposes the rules, and in other sites, the consent of a proportion of the occupiers will be needed.

An important factor when deciding on a purchase is to find out what the site is really like to live in and how well it is operated. One way to find out is to speak to existing residents and try to find out the following:

  • how the site rules are enforced
  • how reviews of pitch fees have been conducted and whether rent increases have been fair and agreed
  • whether the services are provided at a fair charge, the basis of which has been explained to residents
  • whether residents have had problems selling their homes when they wanted to move or been obstructed from doing so by the site owner.

If the park owner is a member of either the British Holiday and Home Parks Association or the National Caravan Council, then s/he should follow the code of practice operated by these organisations, which should ensure that the park is well run. It must be borne in mind that site owners exercise considerable control over the living environment and may (and often do) sell sites. This can change the answers to the above queries.

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