Rights of mobile home renters

Rights and obligations of people who rent a mobile home under a tenancy or licence.

This content applies to England

Type of agreement

Most people who rent a mobile home will not have the same protections as mobile home owners under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. The Act protects those who have a right to station the mobile home on a protected site. A person who only rents the mobile home and does not rent the pitch from the site owner will not meet this condition.

A person who rents a mobile home may have a tenancy if the conditions are met. The mobile home must be considered a dwelling house.

Other mobile home renters will have a licence to occupy the mobile home.

Tenancies of mobile homes

To have a tenancy the mobile home must be able to be defined as a dwelling house. This depends on the permanency of the home. For example, whether it is connected to mains supplies and whether it cannot easily be moved.

In a one case where a mobile home received the services of electricity, water and telephone and the mobile home was resting on supports so that its wheels did not touch the ground, the court found that it did constitute a dwelling house.[1]

Another case found that if a caravan is rendered completely immobile by the removal of wheels or by being permanently blocked in, then it should be regarded as a dwelling house.[2]

Assured or assured shorthold tenancy

A mobile home occupier may have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy if:

  • the agreement began on or after 15 January 1989

  • they have a tenancy agreement of a mobile home (and pitch)

  • the property is a dwelling house which is let as a separate dwelling[3], and

  • the dwelling does not come within one of the exceptions to the Housing Act 1988

A mobile home occupier who can satisfy the above conditions has security of tenure and the site owner can only evict if they can prove one of the grounds for possession or if the occuper is an assured shorthold tenant by using the section 21 possession procedure.

The provision of services by the site owner (unless the services are so substantial as to no longer afford the occupier 'exclusive possession' when the occupier would then be classed as a licensee) do not take the occupier outside the protection of the Housing Act 1988.

Regulated tenancy

an occupier may be able to show they have a regulated tenancy if they can show the following:

  • the agreement began before 15 January 1989

  • the dwelling does not come within one of the exceptions to the Rent Act

  • they have a tenancy agreement of the mobile home (and pitch), rather than a licence agreement, and

  • the property is a dwelling house which is let as a separate dwelling

The occupier may have an agreement that is called a licence, but a court will look at all the facts to determine whether there is actually a tenancy, including whether the occupier has 'exclusive possession' of the mobile home.

A mobile home occupier who can satisfy the above conditions has security of tenure and the site owner can only evict if they can prove one of the grounds for possession under the Rent Act 1977.

Mobile home occupiers (tenants or licensees) who pay for services provided by the site owner and whose agreements began before 15 January 1989 may only have restricted contract[4] protection under the 1977 Act. This provides limited security of tenure. In practice, very few mobile home occupiers have a restricted contract.

Secure tenancies

If the site owner is a public sector landlord and has let or granted a licence of a mobile home and pitch to an occupier then there may be a secure tenancy under the Housing Act 1985 or a flexible tenancy (as created by the Localism Act 2011).

An occupier would have to satisfy the same test of occupying a dwelling house that is let as a separate dwelling.

Licences of mobile homes

A mobile home occupier will have a licence if the mobile home cannot be considered a dwelling house or other conditions of having a tenancy are not met.

If a mobile home occupier rents a pitch on a protected site then they may have protection from eviction under the Caravan Sites Act.

Mobile home renters on unprotected sites or who rent the mobile home only may have the protection of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The Act refers to premises let as a dwelling, rather than a dwelling house.[5]

Last updated: 4 August 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    Makins v Elson [1977] 1 WLR 221.

  • [2]

    R v Rent Officer of Nottingham ex p Allen (1985) 17 HLR 481.

  • [3]

    Spielplatz Ltd v (1) Pearson (2) Pearson [2015] EWCA Civ 804; see also Elitestone v Morris 30 HLR 266 [1997] 1WLR 687; (1997) 30 HLR 266, HL.

  • [4]

    s.19 Rent Act 1977.

  • [5]

    s.2 Protection from Eviction Act 1977.