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Common law rights for mobile home tenants and owners

If you rent a mobile home or you rent a pitch for a mobile home that you own, you will have certain rights under common law.

Who has common law rights?

You will have common law rights if:

  • you rent a pitch to keep your mobile home on from a site owner, and/or
  • you rent the mobile home itself from the site owner or another landlord.

I rent my pitch

If you rent a pitch you'll have common law rights even if you don't live on a protected site, eg if you live on a holiday site during the summer.

This applies to any kind of site - if any problems arise that aren't covered in your rental agreement, eg disputes over repairs or the renewal of your lease, you can use your common law rights to argue your case.

I rent my mobile home

If you rent your mobile home from a landlord but don't have an assured, short assured or regulated tenancy you'll still have common law rights.

Should I have a tenancy agreement?

If you pay rent to a landlord for your mobile home, or to a site owner for your pitch, you should have a rental or tenancy agreement. This agreement could be verbal or in writing, although it's best to have it in writing. It should state:

  • your name and the name of your landlord or site owner
  • a description of the mobile home and/or pitch you're renting
  • how much rent you will pay
  • how long you can rent the mobile home and/or pitch for (the term of the lease).

You should also agree on:

  • rent - when your rent is due, what it covers and how you will pay it
  • service charges - what these are and what they cover, eg the provision of gas, electricity or water supplies
  • repairs - who is responsible for carrying out repairs
  • ending the tenancy - whether you are able to leave before the lease comes to an end and how much notice you need to give
  • other rules - concerning guests, pets, etc.

The terms of your tenancy agreement can override your common law rights. However, your landlord or site owner cannot include unfair terms in your agreement. Read the page on tenancy agreements to find out more.

What happens when the lease runs out?

Once the term of the lease has run out, it will automatically repeat itself with the same terms and conditions unless:

  • you want to move out and give the correct notice to leave (see 'what if I want to move out' below)
  • the landlord or site owner wants you to move out and gives you the correct notice to leave (see 'what if the landlord or site owner asks me to leave' below).

If your lease renews itself, the process is called tacit relocation. So for example, if your lease lasts a year, it will automatically repeat itself for another year; if it lasts six months, it will repeat itself for six months. However, if your original lease was for more than a year, it can only renew itself for a year.

Some tenancy agreements may state that the lease will last for a year and then renew itself on a monthly basis. This means the landlord or site owner won't have to wait another year before they can ask you to leave. However, they will still have to give you 40 days' notice to leave (see 'what if the landlord or site owner asks me to leave' below).

What if I want to move out?

Before moving out of a mobile home there are several practical steps you should take:

  • check your tenancy agreement - it may say that you need to give four weeks' notice before you can move out, or that the site owner must give you four weeks' notice if they want you to leave. This is called a 'notice to quit'.
  • if notice isn't mentioned in your tenancy agreement you can still leave before the end of the lease, so long as you agree a noitce period with your landlord or the site owner.
  • if you can't come to an agreement with your landlord or the site owner, you'll have to wait until the end of your lease, because you'll need to pay rent until it comes to an end.
  • if you don't have a written lease and you don't know when your lease ends you can usually assume it's a year from the date you moved in, or the date you first started paying rent. Check this with your landlord or the site owner to be sure.

You will need to give your landlord/site owner a notice to quit in writing at least four weeks before the term expires. If your lease is for a year or more, you should give at least 40 days' notice.

What if the landlord or site owner asks me to leave?

The landlord or site owner must give you the correct notice to leave, and can't evict you without a court order.

If you rent a mobile home on a protected site, you will have additional protection against eviction, and may be able to get your eviction order suspended by the court.

See the section on eviction for more information.

What if the site owner is harassing me?

It is a criminal offence for a site owner to harass or evict by force a tenant who rents a mobile home or a mobile home pitch. Read the page on harassment to find out more.

Does the site owner have to carry out repairs?

Unless your tenancy agreement states otherwise, the common law lays down rules about responsibility for repairs in rented property.

Landlord's responsibilities

Before you move in, your landlord must ensure that the mobile home:

  • is safe and fit for you to live in
  • doesn't let in wind or rain
  • has adequate ventilation and insulation
  • can be heated adequately.

If any of the installations break or stop working, it's up to you to report this to your landlord. They should then get the problem fixed within a reasonable amount of time.

Tenant's responsibilities

In return, you as the tenant must look after the mobile home and any furniture and fittings it contains and make sure you repair any damage you cause. However, this doesn't include fair wear and tear.

Problems with repairs

Some landlords may take a long time to get round to carrying out repair work, or may refuse to do repairs altogether. If your mobile home is in a very bad state of disrepair and the landlord is refusing to carry out repairs, you can ask your local council for help.

The council's environmental health department has to inspect and take action to sort out repairs that:

  • affect your health
  • cause a problem for the public
  • disturb people in any neighbouring property
  • make your home unfit for you to live in.

The sort of problems that the environmental health department can deal with include:

  • dampness which affects your health
  • pests such as rats, vermin or other infestations
  • problems with drains, rubbish and sewage
  • most types of noise
  • defective electrical wiring.

Contact your local council's environmental health department and inform them of the problem. They may then carry out an inspection of your mobile home. If they agree that the problem is likely to affect your health or cause a nuisance to other people, they have to take action. This could include giving a written notice to force your landlord to carry out repairs (an 'abatement notice') or carrying out the works themselves. If your landlord does not comply with an abatement notice, the council can take them to court.

Remember, as a common law tenant you only have limited rights - your landlord may choose to evict you rather than carry out the repair work. Think carefully and speak to an adviser in your area before taking drastic action over repairs.

The section on repairs has information on what to do if your landlord refuses to carry out repairs. Bear in mind that if you live in a mobile home, you can't apply to the private rented housing panel.

Park conditions on protected sites

If you live on a protected site, the site owner must keep up certain standards in order to comply with the conditions of their licence. Find out what you can do if you are unhappy with the conditions in the park.

Rent and pitch fees

Unfortunately the common law doesn't protect you against rent increases for the mobile home, a pitch, or for any service charges. Neither does it restrict how often the site owner can increase these charges.

The site owner cannot resell you mains gas or electricity supplies at a profit, see the section on utilities for more information.

If you're unhappy about rises in your rent or service charges, try negotiating with the site owner. You can also get advice from an adviser in your local area.

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The important points

  • You will have common law rights if you rent a pitch to keep your mobile home, from a site owner, and/or you rent the mobile home itself from the site owner or another landlord.
  • If you pay rent to a landlord for your mobile home, or to a site owner for your pitch, you should have a rental or tenancy agreement.
  • It is a criminal offence for a site owner to harass or evict by force a tenant who rents a mobile home or a mobile home pitch.
  • If you live on a protected site, the site owner must keep up certain standards in order to comply with the conditions of their licence.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us

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