Rights of mobile home owners

The rights and obligations of people who own a mobile home and rent a pitch from a site owner.

This content applies to England

Agreements under the Mobile Homes Act 1983

A mobile home owner is protected under the Act if their agreement entitles them to:

  • station the mobile home on land forming part of a protected site

  • occupy the mobile home as their only or main residence

A protected site is one that has a site license with no restrictions as to when mobile homes can be occupied. Holiday homes are not protected by the Act as they fail the 'only or main residence' test. Occupiers who are absent temporarily remain protected.

The definition of a mobile home includes most caravans and mobile homes capable of being moved in one piece or in sections.

An agreement under the Act has certain terms implied by law and require the site owner to apply for a court order to terminate it.[1]

Where a mobile home is purchased from an existing occupier, the existing agreement is assigned to the new owner and is binding on them.[2]

Duration of the agreement

An agreement under the Act will normally continue until terminated by the occupier or the site owner. Fixed term agreements cannot be created.

If the site owner’s interest in the land or planning permission comes to an end, the agreement will also end. If the owner’s interest or planning permission is extended, then the occupier's agreement is automatically extended.

Mobile home owners on unprotected sites

Mobile home owners who rent a pitch on an unprotected site fall outside the protection of the Act. The site owner should still follow the terms of any agreement.

Written statement of the agreement

Mobile home owners on protected sites have the right to a written statement of their agreement. The statement is evidence of the agreement but not the agreement itself.

The statement must normally be given at least 28 days before the start of the agreement.[3] The occupier can consent in writing to a statement being given at a later date.[4] Doing this might mean the site owner has the opportunity to add additional terms that the occupier would not otherwise have agreed to.

The written statement must be in a prescribed form and include:[5]

  • the date the agreement is to commence

  • a description of the land and plan of the pitch

  • the statement of implied terms and any express terms

  • information on pitch fees and other charges

  • a prescribed passage explaining the written statement and stating the occupier should get written advice if they do not understand

Where an agreement has not been provided

An occupier who is not given a written statement can apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for an order requiring one to be given.

Until a written statement has been provided in the correct form, the express terms of the agreement are not enforceable.[6]

Implied terms in the agreement

Certain terms are implied into all agreements under the Mobile Homes Act.[7]

The occupier’s rights and obligations

The mobile home owner must:[8]

  • pay the pitch fee and any sums due under the written agreement

  • keep the mobile home in a sound state of repair

  • maintain the outside of the mobile home and all areas of the pitch for which they are responsible

The site owners' obligations

The site owner is responsible for:[9]

  • repairs to the base for the mobile home

  • repair and maintenance for services they supply, such as electricity or sewerage

  • maintenance and cleaning of any parts of the site that are not the resident’s responsibility, including access ways and fences

The site owner must also supply, free of charge if requested, documentary evidence in support of any new pitch fee or other charges under the agreement.

If the occupier requests details of the size and location of the pitch and base, the site owner must provide this and cannot charge more than a set amount for doing so.[10]

Site owners right of entry to the pitch

The mobile home owner is entitled to quiet enjoyment of the home and the pitch.[11]

The site owner can only enter the pitch:[12]

  • between 9am and 6pm to deliver written communications, including post and notices, or to read meters for services which they supply

  • to carry out essential or emergency works, having given as much notice to the resident as is practical

  • for any other reasons, with 14 days' written notice of the date, time and reason for their visit, unless agreed otherwise

Site owner moving the mobile home

The site owner can require that the occupier moves the mobile home to another pitch for essential emergency or repair works. The site owner must return the home to its original pitch on completion of the repairs if requested to by the resident.[13]

If the site owner wants to move a mobile home for any other reason, they must make an application to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The Tribunal must be satisfied that the move is reasonable and that the new pitch is broadly comparable to the original pitch[14]

The park owner is liable for any costs incurred during the movement of the home.[15]

Provision of the owner's name and address

The site owner must inform a resident or the residents' association of an address in England or Wales at which notices can be served on them.[16]

If the site owner serves a notice for any reason, it must contain the owner's name and address where papers can be served. If the notice does not contain this information, the notice is deemed to be not served, and the charge not payable, until this information is supplied.

Recognition of residents' associations

A site owner must acknowledge a resident's association if:[17]

  • it represents the residents on the park who own their mobile home

  • at least 50 per cent of the residents are members

  • it has a chair, secretary, and treasurer

  • it is independent from the site owner, whose agents and employees are excluded from membership, even if they are park residents

  • decisions of the association are taken by vote, with one vote per home

In calculating the percentage of residents, each home is considered as having one occupant. If there is more than one occupant then the first name on the written agreement is used.

Express terms in the agreement

The mobile home occupier and the site owner are free to put any express terms into the agreement, so long as they do not conflict with the implied terms. For agreements made after 1 October 2015 unfair terms within the meaning of the Consumer Rights Act will be unenforceable. For agreements before that date the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 will apply.

Express terms (other than site rules) not contained in a written statement given to the occupier are unenforceable.[18]

If there is a dispute about terms of the agreement, either the site owner and the mobile home owner can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The application must be made within the first six months of the agreement starting or the written statement being served, if later.[19]

The tribunal can vary or remove any express terms, other than a site rule. It can also insert terms as to pitch fees and charges, reviews of charges, provision or improvement of services or the preservation of the amenity of the site.

Site rules

Site rules form part of the express terms of the agreement. They can relate to matters, such as the permitted age of the mobile home occupier or the keeping of pets.

For a site owner to make or vary site rules, they must:[20]

  • consult the occupiers and any qualifying residents' association

  • notify them of the consultation's outcome and new rules to be adopted

  • deposit the site rules with the local authority

Occupiers or a qualifying residents' association, who object to the proposed rules or consider that they have not been made in accordance with procedure, can apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) within 21 days of receiving the consultation response.

An application can be made if:[21]

  • the site owner has not followed the correct process

  • the new rule is inconsistent with rights under the Act

  • the decision to introduce the new rule is unreasonable

The new rules become express terms of the agreement and enforceable only after deposit of the rules with the local authority. The rules cannot be deposited if there is a pending appeal.

Pitch fees and reviews

The pitch fee is the amount payable to the site owner for the right to station the mobile home on the pitch and use common areas of the site.

The requirement to pay a pitch fee is an express term of the agreement.

Costs of maintaining and supplying utilities and costs of licence fees can be recovered from residents through pitch fees.[22]

Pitch fee reviews

Pitch fees can only be reviewed annually. The site owner must serve notice and a document in a prescribed form on the mobile home owner at least 28 days before the review date, outlining any proposed increase and the reasons for it, along with any relevant documents.[23] If this document is not provided the notice of increase to the pitch fee has no effect.

Increases in the pitch fee should not exceed the Retail Price Index (RPI) increase since the last review date. Increases that exceed RPI are allowed if they reflect sums expended for the benefit of the residents, or the effect of new legislation.[24] One case established that comparables with pitch fees on other sites are not important.[25]

If the mobile home owner agrees to the increase then it takes effect from the review date.[26]

Challenging pitch fee increases

If the mobile home owner disagrees with the new amount then either they or the site owner can make an application to the First Tier Tribunal (property chamber). The Tribunal can make an order to determine a new pitch fee amount.[27]

An application can be made after 28 days have passed from the review date but no later than three months. The new pitch fee is payable from the review date but the mobile home owner is not treated in arrears until 28 days from the Tribunals order.[28]

Disputes over pitch fees can go to an arbitrator when the agreement between the parties allows for it. Occupiers cannot be required to use arbitration.

How a mobile home owner can end their agreement

The mobile home occupier must give at least four weeks' notice in writing if they wish to terminate the agreement.[29]

A longer notice period may be agreed by the parties.

How a site owner can end the agreement

A site owner can bring a claim in the County Court to end a mobile home owners agreement. The court will only make an order terminating the agreement if it is reasonable to do so.

The site owner can bring a claim if the:[30]

  • mobile home owner has breached a term of the agreement

  • mobile home owner is not occupying the mobile home as their only or main residence

The site owner can also bring a claim in the County Court if the First Tier Tribunal has determined that the condition of the mobile home is such that it is having a detrimental effect on the site.[31]

If the site owner's claim to terminate the agreement on one of the above grounds is successful, the site owner must obtain a further order from the court authorising them to regain possession of the pitch. This is usually applied for as part of the same proceedings.

Assigning a mobile home agreement

For agreements that started on or after 6 May 2013, the mobile home owner can sell the mobile home and assign the site agreement without the site owners’ consent. The new occupier is required to pay the site owner a commission on the sale at a rate not exceeding that set out in regulations.[32]

The assignment of the pitch agreement must be made in writing in a prescribed form. The assignee must notify the site owner of the assignment within seven days, and must provide information including the purchase price and a statement that they agree to comply with the site rules.[33]

For agreements that started before 26 May 2013, the seller must also serve notice of a proposed sale on the site owner. The site owner can then apply for an order to refuse the sale if the proposed occupier would be in breach of a site rule, for example on age or keeping an animal where prohibited.[34]

The prescribed forms for assignment and sale of a mobile home are on GOV.UK.

Gifting a mobile home to a family member

A mobile home owner can also gift the mobile home and assign the agreement to a member of the family. Family members include spouses, cohabitees, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

The mobile home owner must serve a 'notice of proposed gift' on the site owner, who may only refuse to consent on certain grounds, including if the proposed owner would be in breach of a site rule or if they have failed to provide evidence that they are a member of the family.[35]

Last updated: 4 August 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    pt.1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [2]

    s.3(2) Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [3]

    s.1(3) Mobile Home Act 1983.

  • [4]

    s.1(4) Mobile Home Act 1983.

  • [5]

    Mobile Homes (Written Statement) (England) Regulations 2011 SI 2011/1006.

  • [6]

    s.1 Mobile Home Act 1983, as inserted by Housing Act 2004. See also First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Chambers) (Amendment) Order 2014 SI 2014/1901.

  • [7]

    s.2(1) and Pt. 1, Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983, as amended by Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1 and Consequential Amendments) (England) Order 2011 SI 2011/1003.

  • [8]

    para 1 Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [9]

    para 22 Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [10]

    para 22(a) Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [11]

    para 11 Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [12]

    para 12 Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [13]

    para 10(1) and 10(2) Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [14]

    para 10(1)(a) Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [15]

    para 10(3) Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [16]

    para 26 Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [17]

    para 28 Pt. 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [18]

    s.1(5) Mobile Homes Act 1983, as amended by s.9 Mobile Homes Act 2013.

  • [19]

    s.2 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [20]

    Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/5.

  • [21]

    reg 10 Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/5 as amended by Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/3073; O'Kane v Charles Simpson Organisation Ltd [2015] UKUT 355 (LC).

  • [22]

    PR Hardman & Partners v (1) Greenwood (2) Fox [2017] EWCA Civ 52, Wyldecrest Parks (Management) Ltd v Kenyon and others [2017] UKUT 28 (LC).

  • [23]

    paras 17(2A) and (6A) Ch.2 Part 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [24]

    para 20(A1), Sch.1, Mobiles Homes Act 1983.

  • [25]

    Stroud v Weir Associates (1987) 19 HLR 151.

  • [26]

    para 17(3) Ch.2 Part 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [27]

    para 17(4) Ch.2 Part 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [28]

    para 17(4)(c) Ch.2 Part 1 Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [29]

    para 3, Part 1, Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [30]

    paras 4, 5, Part 1, Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [31]

    paras 4, 5, Part 1, Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.

  • [32]

    para 7A(5) pt1.Sch.2 Mobile Homes Act 1983, reg. 10 Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/981; Elleray v (1) Bourne (2) Hanning [2018] UKUT 3 (LC).

  • [33]

    reg.9 Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/981.

  • [34]

    reg.7 Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/981 as amended by reg.19(2) Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/5; para 8, pt. 1, Sch.1 Mobile Homes Act 1983, as amended by Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1) (England) Order 2006 SI 2006/1755 and by ss.10-12 Mobile Homes Act 2013.

  • [35]

    regs.5 to 7 Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/981; Mobile Homes Act 2013 (Saving Provisions) (England) Order 2013; para 8B(5),Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 Mobile Homes Act 1983.