Gypsies and Travellers: Living on a site

Find out what your rights are on a council or private site and how to apply for a pitch

Types of sites

Most Gypsies and Travellers living in caravans or mobile homes live on:

  • council owned sites
  • privately owned sites that have a licence

These are known as authorised sites.

Most council and private sites are permanent.

Some councils provide transit sites. These are sites where you can only stay for a short period of time, usually up to 3 months.

How to apply

To apply for a council site you’ll need to contact the council.

Some areas have a Gypsy and Traveller liaison officer who you can speak to.

The council will have their own local rules on:

  • how to apply
  • who can get a pitch

The council may keep a waiting list if their sites are full.

The council could refuse your application if you have:

  • arrears from a previous stay on a council site
  • a history of antisocial behaviour
  • no connection to its area

A council’s Gypsy and Traveller liaison officer may also be able to tell you about private sites in the area.

Your agreement

When you move on to a site you are given a written agreement. This should set out:

  • the site rules
  • your pitch fees
  • the site manager’s responsibilities
  • notice you must give if you want to leave

Costs

Costs will usually include:

  • pitch fees
  • council tax
  • utilities

Help with paying costs

You can claim benefits to help with pitch fees if you're on a low income or out of work.

You can apply for council tax support on GOV.UK

If you qualify, your council tax bill will be reduced.

Facilities

Facilities on sites vary. They can include:

  • space for a caravan
  • space to park vehicles or a second caravan
  • toilets, showers or baths
  • storage space

If you are not happy with the facilities or conditions on the site, you can make a complaint to the site manager.

If you live on a council site you can also:

Leaving the site to travel

Most permanent sites allow you to keep your pitch even if you are away travelling.

Your agreement for your pitch may say how long you can be away for.

You can also check with the site manager. If you get permission from the site manager, ask for this in writing.

You must continue to pay your pitch fees and council tax while you are away.

Eviction from a site

You can only be evicted from a permanent site if the site owner gets a court order.

You can be evicted from a transit site if the council gives you 4 weeks’ notice. No court order is required.

Find out more about eviction from a site

You can ask the council for homeless help if you're homeless or facing eviction in the next 8 weeks.

Inheriting a pitch or mobile home

Your pitch will pass to your husband, wife or civil partner automatically if you're living together in the mobile home when you die.

If you don't have a married or civil partner, it can pass to another family member who lives with you. This includes an unmarried partner. 

Partners or family members who live with you can continue to occupy the pitch.   

If you don't have a partner or family member living with you, your mobile home can be passed to your next of kin or to someone else in a will.

They would need the site owner's permission to live on the site. They could remove or sell the mobile home if the site owner refuses permission.

Still need help?

You can get specialist advice for Gypsies and Travellers from the following organisations:

Call the Gypsy and Traveller Helpline on 0121 685 8677

Call Friends Families and Travellers (FFT) on 01273 234777

Use the FFT services directory to search for other specialist services


Last updated 19 Dec 2019 | © Shelter

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