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Q. What makes a home mobile?

A. In legislation 'mobile home' and 'caravan' are synonymous and 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'.

The definition includes:

·         conventional caravans and mobile homes

·         dormobiles

·         touring caravanettes, and

·         adapted railway carriages.

A large, twin-unit caravan may come within the definition if it is:

1. designed for human habitation

2. capable of being moved from one place to another by being towed, or by being   

    transported on a motor vehicle or trailer in one, or two sections

3. shown to be capable of being disassembled into no more than two sections

4. maximum length of 18.288m (measured externally) *

5. maximum width of 6.096m (measured externally) *

6. maximum height measured internally The connection of mains water/electricity/sewerage or addition of cosmetic skirts that do not fix the structure to the ground do not prevent it from coming within the definition.

*These sizes are about to be increased in Scotland

 People sometimes ask if the addition of a porch or decking negates the position.

In the case of decking or a porch, provided it can be shown to be capable of being removed then the structure remains mobile.  The decking should not intrude unreasonably into the spacing between homes, for privacy purposes.

Where a conservatory is involved, this is a grey area yet lots of companies advertise conservatories for park homes so many local authorities must allow it. (Planning permission is required for any extension although some Councils do not seem to expect applications in this regard.)

There has been , to my knowledge, no test of the position in the Scottish Courts but since the Caravans and Control of Development Acts apply throughout the UK case law in England would likely be considered by a Sheriff.  See below:

Case law

A mobile home with an extension which was too wide to be moved lawfully on the public highway but could lawfully be moved if disassembled into two components each was held to be within the statutory definition of caravan.  Also within the statutory definition of a caravan was a mobile home attached by large bolts to a concrete wall and foundations, as it was possible to remove the bolts, and the wall and foundations were only under a small part of the mobile home.

The removal of the towing bar was no obstacle to transporting the home, as it could go on the back of a lorry.

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