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Things to consider about mobile homes

Over 200,000 people in the UK live in mobile homes, some through choice and others because it is the only housing option available to them. This section explains what to do if you are interested in buying or renting a mobile home.

What is a mobile home?

Mobile homes can vary greatly in size and type. A mobile home could be:

  • a caravan
  • a trailer or motorhome
  • a prefabricated bungalow (also called a park home).

The page on mobile homes and sites explains the legal definition of a mobile home.

Prefabricated park homes

Prefabricated mobile homes in a residential park can be as warm, comfortable and permanent as traditional 'bricks and mortar' homes, and can come complete with central heating, double glazing, a garden and car parking area. Well insulated, they are relatively cheap and easy to maintain. In addition, residential parks often provide a safe, friendly community atmosphere, offering on-site facilities and social opportunities such as a residents' committee, babysitting rings and other clubs and associations.

Caravans and motorhomes

Other options, however, such as caravans and motorhomes, do not offer such a satisfactory long term option. Caravans can prove inadequate in the face of Scotland's wet and windy weather, and should only be considered as a temporary measure. Cramped quarters, poor heating facilities and lack of ventilation can lead to health and safety problems, including an increased risk of fire and of residents suffering from stress-related or respiratory illnesses and even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Why choose a mobile home?

Mobile homes are an economical housing option. Some people, particularly those of retirement age, choose to move into mobile accommodation, often selling traditional property to do so.

In many rural areas, however, where there is not enough council housing available and holiday home owners are pricing local residents out of the housing market, a mobile home may be your only option.

What should I consider when looking for a mobile home?

When you buy or rent a mobile home, you need to think about:

  • what the home itself is like
  • where you're going to put it.

Can I put a mobile home on my own land?

Even if you own land to put a mobile home on, you will need planning permission and a site licence, which you can obtain by writing to the council.

The page on mobile homes and sites explains more about where you can put a mobile home. The page on renting or buying a mobile home on a site explains what you should consider when looking at sites.

Are there safety standards for mobile homes?

Yes! Park homes should be built to British Standard BS3632. Various schemes exist, such as the Gold Shield Ten Year Warranty, to ensure that park homes comply with these standards. Make sure any mobile home you buy or rent is covered by a warranty.

A list of approved caravan, motorhome and caravan leisure home models can be found at the National Caravan Council (NCC) website. Approved models have been checked by the NCC and comply with UK legislation and safety regulations. They will carry an NCC Approved sticker.

What are my rights if I buy or rent a mobile home?

Unfortunately, tenants or owners of mobile homes don't have as many rights as tenants or owners of traditional houses or flats. This is because different laws apply to mobile homes. The section on mobile home rights explains your rights.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

The important points

  • Your two considerations if you're thinking about getting a mobile home will be what the home itself is like and where you can put it.
  • There are safety standards for mobile homes, both for park homes and caravans/motorhomes.
  • Sites for mobile homes need planning permission and a site license, even if you are the owner of the land you're parked on.
  • Tenants or owners of mobile homes don't have as many rights as tenants or owners of traditional housing.

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