Property Law uk

Maintained by Gary Webber

Mobile homes and caravans

The editor of this section of the site is Tim is Tim Selley, solicitor with Crosse and Crosse Solicitors LLP (www.crosse.co.uk)

Mobile Homes Act 2013

Mobile Homes Act 2013

This Act changes a number of features of mobile home law. In particular it deals with pitch fees, a regulation for site ownership along the fit and proper person lines, park rules and restrictions on sale of homes on sites. Not all of the provisions are coming into force at the same time.

Wales - New licensing regime

The Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 4 November 2013. It is anticipated that it will not substantially come into force for 12 months.

The main aspects of the Act essentially make provision for an updated licensing regime, the sales of mobile homes, inspection of sites, and limits on the increase of pitch fees for residential mobile home sites in Wales.



Application of the Mobile Homes Act 1983

Howard v Charlton
[2002] EWCA Civ 1086

Facts

The mobile home owner had an agreement, to occupy part of the caravan site, which was protected by s1 of the Mobile Homes Act 1983. Subsequently he added an extension to the caravan. The site owner argued that this made the caravan a fixture, that the protection afforded by the Act therefore ceased to apply and that he was entitled to possession.

Held

The Court of Appeal disagreed. The agreement still applied and there was nothing in the agreement entitling the site owner to terminate it on the grounds stated. In any event the Act applies not to the home as such but to the agreement.


Mobile Home disputes

Transfer from County Courts to Residential Property Tribunals

Park Homes: Transfer of dispute resolution from County Courts to Residential Property Tribunals

Most of the functions of the County Courts under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 are being transferred to Residential Property Tribunals on 6 April 2010.

The aim of the transfer of the jurisdiction is to provide residents of mobile homes (including caravans) and the owners of sites on which they are located, with a level playing field in the resolution of disputes, by providing access to a dedicated, low cost specialist (housing) tribunal, which can deal with cases quickly and without the parties needing to be legally represented.

The 'fact finding' role of County Courts has not been transferred to Residential Property Tribunals in respect of termination cases involving a breach of an agreement, or a claim that the resident of the park home is no longer occupying it as his only or main residence, but has been done in respect of claims relating to the detrimental condition of the home to the amenity of the site.


Mobile Homes Agreement

Termination - old notice

Telchadder v Wickland (Hodlings) Ltd
[2012] EWCA Civ 635

Summary

A Judge had been entitled to terminate a mobile home agreement based on a warning notice served three years prior to proceedings being commenced and had taken into account all the relevant factors including disability and convention rights.

Facts

D owned a mobile home that was sited on a plot on a protected mobile home residential site owned by C. D resided there pursuant to a licence agreement dated 1st June 2006, which incorporated ‘Park Rules’.

Following anti-social behaviour by D, which C claimed were in breach of the Park Rules, D served a notice setting out particulars of breach and the anti-social behaviour on 15th July 2006. D served a further warning letter on a few days later. Further warning letters were sent including one on 15 August 2006 after D had dressed up in camouflage and combat clothing, including a mask, and had made unwanted approaches to other residents causing them alarm and distress. Subsequent to that D made threats to kill other residents. Possession proceedings were issued in 2009.

D suffers from a disability; mild learning disability, autistic traits, anxiety disorder and depression. He also has a history of heroin addiction.

C applied for a possession order.

First instance

The Judge found a number of anti-social behaviour allegations had been proved and that there was therefore a breach of the Park Rules and the licence agreement. Paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 of the 1983 Act implies a term into a licence agreement that:
    ‘The owner shall be entitled to terminate the agreement forthwith if on the application of the owner, the appropriate judicial body – (a) is satisfied that the occupier has breached at term of the agreement and, after service of a notice to remedy the breach, has not complied with the notice within a reasonable time; and (b) considers it reasonable for the agreement to be terminated’
The Judge also found that the letter of 15th August 2006 was a notice under the paragraph. He then made an order for possession after considering whether it was reasonable to make such an order in light of the incidents he had found, but also against the background of D’s disability, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Equality Act 2010 and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Issues

D appealed on the basis that:
  • The notice of 15 August 2006 was not sufficient notice for the purposes of the Act, and
  • It was not reasonable to terminate the agreement and order possession.
Decision on appeal

The appeal was dismissed.

In relation to the first point, the Court of Appeal found that the notice was adequate. Mummery LJ said that it did what the legislation required in that it:
    "described the conduct complained of, required the defendant to stop it, gave him an opportunity to do so and warned him of the consequences of not doing so."
Further he commented that unlike other forms of statutory notice, there was no prescribed wording or form and no limits on duration.

In relation to the second point, Mummery LJ agreed with D that it was necessary to consider the 1995 Act, the 2010 Act and the Convention, whether or not expressly pleaded or relied upon as part of the circumstances in which an order was to be made. However, the Judge had done precisely that and had balanced D’s rights as against the other occupiers and residents.


Pitch fee increases

Form

Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees)(Prescribed Form)(England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/ 1505)

With effect from 26 July 2013, a site owner must provide detailed information to each resident for whom a pitch fee increase is proposed. These Regulations contain a form, which must be used, or a form with wording substantially to the like effect. If such a form is not used then the review will be invalid. In addition, any residents who pay the reviewed amount will be entitled to seek a refund.


Wales

Caravan sites

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2013 (Consequential amendments to the Mobile Homes Act 1983) (Wales) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1722 )

This order seeks to bring caravan sites provided by local authorities for accommodation for gypsies and travellers in line with the legislation already applicable in England.



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