how mobile is a dwelle.ing?

Only our mobile dwelle.ing has been designed to meet the definition of a caravan and conforms to BS 3632-2005 (Residential Park Homes – Specification). This means it can be used as a permanent dwelling without having to comply with Building Regulations.

Our other dwelle.ings fully comply with Building Regulations as dwellings and non-dwellings. The smaller ones can be adapted to allow relocation, but will require a galvanised steel base. This however may impact on planning, letting or mortgage criteria.

Here is the full definition of a caravan:

Caravan definition

v1.1 2012

The definition of what constitutes a caravan is often misunderstood, and does not simply apply to accommodation with wheels attached that can be towed by a car or other means. So far as the law is concerned, a park/mobile home, a caravan holiday home, touring caravan or Gypsy and Traveller home are all capable of coming within the legal definition of a caravan provided they retain the element of mobility.

Mobility means that the caravan must be capable of being moved when assembled, from one place to another, or to a different site. The physical movement need not be by means of towing with a car or other vehicle. It may involve movement by specialist equipment such as lifting gear, lorry or low-loader. The crucial element is that to meet the definition of ‘caravan’, it may not be fixed to the ground. Permanent works, such as a large porch or extension, which fix the caravan to the ground could mean that a caravan no longer comes within the legal definition of a caravan and could as a consequence be treated as a building.

Where a caravan is permanently affixed to the ground, this potentially has serious planning, legal and contract implications for site owners and residents. Site owners could be in breach of planning permission for the site, and residents of park homes would lose their protection under the Mobile Home Act 1983.

The connection of mains water / electricity / sewerage or addition of cosmetic skirts that do not fix the accommodation to the ground do not prevent the accommodation from coming within the definition of a caravan.

LEGAL DEFINITION OF A CARAVAN

Section 29 (1) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 a caravan is defined as

“… any structure designed or adapted for human habitation 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 but does not include:

a) Any railway rolling stock which is for the time being on rails forming part of a railway system, or

b) Any tent.”

This definition was modified by Section 13 (1) of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 (“The 1968 Act”), which deals with twin-unit caravans. Section 13 (1) provides that a caravan is:

“A structure designed or adapted for human habitation which:

a) Is composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on a site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices;

and

b) Is, when assembled, physically capable of being moved by road from one place to another (whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer), shall not be treated as not being (or not having been) a caravan within the meaning of Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 by reason only that it cannot lawfully be moved on a highway when assembled.”

Section 13(2) of the 1968 Act also prescribes the following maximum dimensions for “twin unit caravans”:

(a) length (exclusive of any drawbar); 60 feet (18.288 metres);

(b) width: 20 feet (6.096 metres);

(c) overall height of living accommodation (measured internally from the floor at the lowest level to the ceiling at the highest level): 10 feet (3.048 metres).

From 1 October 2006 in England The Caravan Sites Act 1968 and Social Landlords (Permissible Additional Purposes) (England) Order 2006 (Definition of Caravans) (Amendment) (England) Order 2006 [SI 2006 No 2374] further amended section 13(2) of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 by increasing the maximum dimensions of a structure that can be defined as a “twin unit caravan” to:

(a) length (exclusive of drawbar): 20.00 metres (65.616 feet);

(b) width 6.80 metres (22.309 feet);

(c) height: 3.05 metres (10.006 feet).

Subsequently these revised dimensions have also been adopted by the National Assembly for Wales.

Lettings Information

When considering whether or not lettings information falls within the statutory definition of a caravan, the Rent Officer must consider the actuality of the accommodation in question. The accommodation cannot be considered to be a building (such as a bungalow) unless it is physically and permanently affixed to the ground and is incapable of being moved.

Connection of services do not constitute permanent fixing of the accommodation as in most cases they can be simply disconnected to facilitate movement.

Similarly, brick skirts around the base of a mobile home would not constitute permanency if the accommodation could be moved using specialist apparatus.

If the accommodation was mounted on integral fixed foundations, then it could be said to be permanent. Similarly, if the accommodation exceeded a twin unit of the maximum dimensions in legislation, then it would fall outside the definition of a caravan.