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Caravan Legislation

Caravan with awning The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 prohibits the use of any land as a caravan site unless the occupier holds a site licence issued by the local authority. We cannot issue a caravan site licence if either the land does not have planning permission for use as a caravan site, or the applicant has had a site licence revoked within the previous three years. Any site licence will expire at the same time as the planning permission.

We can attach conditions to the site licence, which the licensee has to comply with. These conditions are based upon Model Standards and are applicable to permanent residential mobile home sites, static holiday caravan sites and touring caravan sites. They specify minimum standards which must be achieved by the site owner with regard to such matters as:

  • the demarcation of the site boundaries
  • density and spacing between mobile homes in relation to fire safety and fire hazards
  • the provision and maintenance of fire fighting equipment
  • the display of certain notices - including a copy of the site licence

We have enforcement powers to ensure the holder of the licence complies with the site licence conditions. Should the Council wish to alter any existing conditions, before doing so, they must give the holder of the licence an opportunity of making representations. If agreement cannot be reached, again there is an appeals procedure. We cannot address any matters outside the scope of the site licence conditions. These can only be tackled by you under your rights contained in the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (see below).

Caravan sites do not enjoy the same exemptions from planning requirements that, for example, apply to dwelling houses, and whilst, as a general rule, works required by the site licence become 'permitted development', licence holders/caravan occupiers are strongly advised to seek planning advice from the Council before work is carried out.

The Mobile Homes Act 2013

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 gives greater protection to occupiers of residential park homes. The licensing provisions in the Act are aimed at raising standards in the industry and delivering a more professional service to home owners. Measures also provide for more effective enforcement action by local authorities where site operators do not comply with their licence obligations.

        Licence Fees

Under the provisions of the Act we now charge site owners a fee for applying for a site licence, for amendments or transfers of existing licences, and for annual fees. Failure to pay the annual fee may eventually lead to the site licence being revoked. We have the power to refuse to grant a site licence where it is considered that the applicant is unsuitable to hold a licence, and there is provision for Parliament to introduce a "fit and proper person" test for park owners and managers in the future if it is deemed appropriate.

        Compliance Notices

We can serve compliance notices on site owners  to deal with breaches of site licence conditions. Compliance notices:

  • Set out the breaches which have been identified;
  • Tell the park owner what he must do to correct the breaches;
  • Tell the park owner when he must correct the breaches; and
  • Explain how the park owner may appeal against the Notice.

Failure to comply with a notice is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine at level 5 on the standard scale, and the site licence could be revoked upon a third or subsequent prosecution. There are a number of other powers available including the ability for us to carry out necessary works and recover the costs following successful prosecution for breach of a compliance notice.

        Gifting/sale of Park Homes and Site Rules

The Act introduced changes to the sale/gifting of park homes and amendments to existing implied terms relating to the annual pitch fee review procedure on parks. In addition to this it required site owners to re-issue site rules, following residents' consultation. All site rules must be deposited with the Local Authority.

The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended).

If you own your mobile home and live in it on a permanent basis as your only residence this law gives you security in your park home:

  • by defining the limited circumstances in which a site owner can terminate the site agreement;
  • requires the site owner to provide advance notice of the terms that will apply to the person proposing to occupy a park home on their site (the written statement); and
  • dictates exactly what many of the terms and conditions of the contract should be.

The written statement includes implied terms as well as the express terms of the agreement which have been agreed between the site owner and the park home owner. Park Rules may also form part of the agreement and residents should ensure that they obtain a copy.

The Mobile Homes Act potentially provides you with extensive rights. Unfortunately it is only enforceable through the civil courts which means that you must pursue action yourself, usually with the assistance of a solicitor. The Council is not able to intervene on your behalf.

Further information is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Caravan Sites Act 1968

This legislation contains provisions to protect occupiers against harassment or unlawful eviction. We have no statutory role in respect the Act. If you have been made homeless, or are threatened with being made homeless from your caravan, you may apply to the Council's Housing Needs Department.

Updated: 10 Jan 2018
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