Use of a mobile home in the garden of a residential house.
If you want to site a mobile home in a field or an area outside of a garden you will need to apply for planning permission.
Siting a mobile home in a garden does not directly require planning but we advise applying for a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’ from the Planning Authorities. It’s surprisingly true that laws relating to touring caravans, the type you tow behind a car, also apply to mobile home and static caravans: a type that can be significantly larger and suitable for year-round residential accommodation.
A caravan, be it a touring or static caravan or a large twin-size mobile home, is regarded as an article of movable personal property known as a ‘chattel’ and there is no public law preventing one being kept in someone’s garden, but there are Laws that regulate the ‘Use’ of land. It is NOT a Permitted Development Right. Siting a Caravan is NOT ‘Development’ whether permitted or otherwise. If the proposed mobile home falls within the criteria of use, conformity and location, then the situation is outside of planning control and approval from the Authorities is not needed.
We do, however, advise that in all cases a Lawful development Certificate is obtained for peace of mind. A lawful development certificate (LDC) is a statutory document confirming that the use, operation or activity named in it is lawful for planning control purposes. A mobile home will not require planning permission based on the follow criteria:
The caravan must be in the ‘curtilage’ of a dwelling house. This is the drive or garden, not adjoining paddock land, for example.
In James v Secretary of State for the Environment 1990 it was held that there are three criteria for determining whether land is within the curtilage of a building, namely:
- physical layout
- ownership, past and present
- use or function, past and present
Definition of a ‘Caravan’
The actual structure must conform to the legal definition of a ‘caravan’ described in the Caravans Sites and Control of Development Acts 1960 and Associated Articles.
Appeal Decision by the Secretary of State (Erewash Borough Council 2002) determined that there are 3 tests to be applied to the park home:
- construction test
- mobility test
- size test
The use must be incidental to the use of the house, meaning used in conjunction with. There are 4 accepted ‘incidental’ tests, reported to the House of Commons (Hansard, for 22 November 2005) as arising from relevant case law. These are:
- the relationship between the respective occupants
- the relative size of the house, its garden and the caravan
- the relative scale of accommodation in the caravan and the house
- the degree to which the caravan is functionally connected to and subordinate to the use of the dwelling house