Park/Mobile Homes

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 and Mobile Homes Act 1983 provides the definition of mobile homes.

Tenancy or License?

Whether a mobile home or caravan is actually mobile will essentially determine whether it constitutes a mobile home. Sometimes, mobile homes are defined as a dwelling-house in which case the occupant may hold a tenancy agreement.

In a court 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].

Where a mobile home is rented for holiday purposes for a short term, the occupants of the mobile home will hold an excluded license agreement and there is not requirement to obtain a court order to evict any excluded licensee who refuses to vacate the mobile home.

Case law

What is a mobile home is a matter of fact and degree according to the legal and non-legal context of each case. In determining whether a structure was or not a mobile home, the preferable approach was first to examine the meaning of a caravan in its ordinary sense (ie a covered carriage or cart or a dwelling on wheels which could be towed) and then to see whether the context provided for any different or more refined meaning [3].

Chalets with roofs and porches may be within the definition, although in determining the width and length the measurement is normally taken from wall to wall, and excludes the roof and the eaves [4]. Advisers should be aware that the dimension test often causes problems and local authorities may interpret this incorrectly.

A structure that is sufficiently attached to the land and cannot be removed in one piece or in sections is likely to be a dwelling-house [5].

A prefabricated structure standing on a concrete base was held not to be a caravan because it could not be moved in one piece and, to be a caravan, it had to be designed or adapted for human habitation and be capable of being moved by a single motor vehicle without having to be dismantled.[6] However, a mobile home with an extension which was too wide to be moved lawfully on the public highway but could lawfully be moved if disassembled into two components each was held to be within the statutory definition of caravan [7]. Also within the statutory definition of a caravan was a mobile home attached by large bolts to a concrete wall and foundations, as it was possible to remove the bolts, and the wall and foundations were only under a small part of the mobile home. The removal of the towing bar was no obstacle to transporting the home, as it could go on the back of a lorry [8].


For a mobile home let under a license agreement, the licensee if protected from eviction [9]. To terminate the license agreement a notice to quit must be served and must give no less than 4 weeks’ notice. If the licensee does not vacate the mobile home by the end of notice period, a possession order must then be obtained from the court.

For a mobile home let under an assured shorthold tenancy, the landlord must serve a section 8 or 21 notice and obtain a possession order thereafter if the tenant does not comply with the notice served.

[1] Makins v Elson [1977] 1 WLR 221.

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

[3] Windsor and Maidenhead RLBC v Smith [2012] EWCA Civ 997.

[4] (1) Brightlingsea Haven Ltd (2) Hammerton Leisure Ltd v (1) Morris (2) Foster (3) Clark [2008] EWHC 1928 (QB).

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

[6] Carter v (1) Secretary of State for the Environment (2) Carrick DC [1994] EWCA [1994] 1 WLR 1212.

[7] (1) Odina (2) Launay v Mackland Ltd [2009] Central London CC claim no. 7HW01516.

[8] Hand v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWHC 314 (Admin).

[9] s.1 Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

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