Cheltenham mobile homes
Considerable progress continues to be made in improving standards on Cheltenham’s mobile home sites, and we welcome the introduction of the Mobile Homes Act 2013. There are over 300 mobile homes in the Cheltenham borough area on around 13 licensed sites.
The establishment of new mobile home sites is currently constrained by local planning policies and we don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future.
What constitutes a mobile home?
The legal definition of a mobile home is the same as that for a caravan.
Broadly speaking, it covers any structure designed or adapted for people to live in which is capable of being moved from one place to another (whether by being towed or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer) and any motor vehicle so designed or adapted.
This does not include railway stock on a railway line which is in use, nor tents. It does include twin units separately constructed and designed for assembly on site, provided that the twin unit is physically capable of being moved when assembled (whether by being towed or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer).
The twin unit must be no more than 60 feet (18.288 metres) long, 20 feet (6.096 metres) wide and the living accommodation no more than 10 feet (3.048 metres) high.
The question of whether any individual mobile home is within this definition can only be decided finally by a court. If you are not sure whether the definition applies to your mobile home you should consult your local authority or Citizens Advice Bureau or seek advice from a solicitor.
The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960
This act means that we can stop land being used for people to live in caravans without first obtaining a formal licence. This enables us to monitor sites, making sure adequate facilities exist to ensure decent living standards for residents.
Site licence conditions - what do they mean to you?
As stated mobile home parks are effectively controlled by the authorities ability to attach, review and vary certain conditions to any granted licence. This issues each park site owner (the site licence holder) with a series of conditions which should be meet in order to achieve effective management of their individual sites.
Principally concerned with the physical conditions at each privately owned park, the site licence condition seek to address matters such as
- park lay out and spacing
- how many mobile homes there may be on the site
- landscaping and its management
- fire precautions
- site parking for residents and visitors
- storage provision and its construction
- health and safety
The site owner must keep to the conditions attached to the licence, however in the event that disputes regarding site licence conditions occur, residents are advised that they should first contact their site manger to help resolve the issues.
Any complaints about site conditions which cannot be resolved by discussion with the owner should be made to the local authority, via the mobile home liaison officer.
Copies of site licence conditions can be obtained upon request direct from site owners, who must by law display a copy on the official site notice board.
The Caravan Sites Act 1968
On the 1 April 1970 new measures to restrict harassment and eviction of mobile home residents were introduced. The act covered provision for gipsy sites and clarified what is a ‘protected’ and ‘non-protected’ site i.e. permanent residential mobile home sites verses touring sites and holiday caravan sites.
The Mobile Homes Act 1983
This act introduced important new rules about security of tenure, the sale of mobile homes, the gift of a mobile home and rights concerning the inheritance of a mobile home.
The act also placed a duty on park owners to issue a written agreement to individual park residents, containing implied/express terms which were required to be observed.
A guide for residents and site owners is available for more information.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
This Order reforms the law relating to fire safety in non-domestic premises. It replaces fire certification under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 with a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of employees, a general duty, in relation to non-employees to take such fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances to ensure that premises are safe and a duty to carry out a risk assessment.
Model Standards 2008
The Model Standards 2008 represent what is normally to be expected as a matter of good practice on caravan sites. They should be applied with due regard to the particular circumstances of the relevant site, including its physical character, any relevant services, facilities or other amenities that are available within or in the locality of the site and other applicable conditions.
The Mobile Homes Act 2013
This act aims to improve standards in the industry and give greater safeguards to mobile park home residents, whilst providing the local authority with greater enforcement powers to address site contraventions.
Advice on the new licensing enforcement tools is available for park home site owners.
This new legislation has introduced a number of changes, including:
- the removal of the requirement for the site owner to consent to the sale or gift of a mobile home on his or her site
- the requirement for any increase (or decrease) in site fees to be published and in line with retail price index, unless there are exceptional circumstances. 28 days notice of any annual change in fees must be given
- banning certain site rules giving new procedures for a site owner to follow if they want to make a new site rule
- new protection against harassment, illegal eviction and the giving of false information
The act places a duty on us to create and publish a fees policy. This sets out the introduction of fees and charges for the costs of licensing and monitoring compliance of the licences and separate charges for any formal enforcement action taken.
Park rule register
The act also places a duty on councils to provide an up-to-date register of lawful site rules for each protected mobile home park within our district. Read the mobile homes site rules regulations 2014 for more information.
The onus is placed on individual site owners to consult with its park residents and then formally lodge a copy of its site rules with us.
These provisions will become effective by 13 February 2015, at which time all previous park rules will cease to be valid.
For further information or advice contact our mobile home liaison officer.