Static Homes?

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  • #33881
    Stalbansbenefits
    Participant

    I understand that Local Housing Allowance doesn’t apply to houseboats, caravans and mobile homes.

    Any thoughts on where Static Homes fit into all this? If I google static homes, they are generally referred to as Static [i:efe2ccbb0e]Caravans[/i:efe2ccbb0e], so in the absence of a definition of caravan within the regs, I’m thinking they should be exempt from LHA as well (which kinda makes sense, in that you would expect the rent to be less than a ‘normal’ home, so they shouldn’t be lumped all together…)

    How do other Local Authorities deal with them?

    #94196
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I think the definition of a mobile home is a mixture of the practical and the legal. It is obviously important to consider whether the structure is physically mobile – has it got wheels, does it have foundations sunk into the earth, could you roll it or lift it with a crane in order to put it somwhere else? But I think it is equally important to consider whether it is legally separate from the land that it stands on. If you fail to pay your site rent, can you in theory be required to get your caravan off the site? Do the caravan and the site belong to different owners?

    I am not trying to be too prescriptive, but I think the traditional static caravan retirement park type of home is a mobile home for HB purposes.

    #94197
    Nicky
    Participant

    I’ve just handled a re-cons case where the claimant is occupying a home in a park used to house mobile homes. Likely to go to appeal shortly. I found the following:

    Section 5 Mobile Homes Act 1983 and (subsequently) section 29 Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 define a mobile home (and a caravan) as:

    “a structure designed to be lived in that can be moved from place to place (for example by being towed or transported on a trailer)”.

    I consider this would cover structures such as static caravans, park homes, etc. There is case law covering the actual practicality of moving such a structure but its findings were along the lines of “tough – the fact that the structure is now inaccessible by lorry or crane doesn’t matter, it is still a mobile home”.

    #94198
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Bumping up this thread as we have “bungalows” and “lodges” on these sites and some of my staff have argued that they are not RO referral claims but LHA (which gives them a far more generous benefit). My argument is that these are site rents only and the purpose of the legislation (clearly) is to treat all these types of structures as not permanent and thus deserving (if that is the right word) of a lower amount of HB. The buildings I am talking about (I use the word loosely) are either wooden or single brick, or converted railway carriages, and are all located in holiday parks. What they are [i:04eb169d16]not[/i:04eb169d16] is mobile.

    Any suggestions?

    #94199
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    Not sure if your properties fall under the definition of a mobile home for HB purposes but the links below should be of use.

    The fact that they are immovable does not mean they are not “mobile homes” for HB purposes. As long as they can be defined as a “mobile home”, in law, then they have to be exempt from the LHA.

    Click to view the Mobile Homes Act 1983
    http://www.joalleisure.com/mobile-homes-act-1983.html

    Click to view the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1) http://www.joalleisure.com/mobile-homes-act-1983-amendment-1.html

    #94200
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Following up Kay’s references, the 1983 Act says that a “mobile home” has the same meaning as “caravan” in the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Section 29(1) of that Act says:

    [quote:93c3f0ce6d]“caravan” means 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[/quote:93c3f0ce6d]

    If we borrow that definition and apply it to HB, these are not mobile homes.

    As an alternative, I would suggest that you apply a real property approach. If that is correct, you need to know whether the plot is legally separate from the structure: is the chalet part of the land, or is it owned separately? Separate ownership means the chalet would be legally mobile if not physically so.

    #109946
    sharonwarner
    Participant

    Hello

    Could I re-raise this thread as I have now got a request for a recon on the same issue.

    We have park homes, have always treated as vans, and the RO has also considered them as such and we refer to RO.

    I now have an appeal from the landlord stating that it is not a mobile home but a “respected park home” manufactured to a high standard and should therefore be LHA.

    I note that there were appeals on this subject so wondered if anyone could let me know the outcome? I am trying to establish if the home can be moved if the site fee’s are unpaid and I think that they would have to be but just trying to find the likely outcome in all honesty!

    Thank you in advance.

    #109948
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Funnily enough, I went to a Tribunal last week on this very issue. I was prepared to concede that the actual accommodation the clt lives in does not fit the legal definition of a mobile home or caravan as he occupies a brick built bungalow but this appeal was in respect of the site rent because he “owns” the bungalow (albeit on a lease) and doesn’t pay rent for that. I argued that the legislation surely intended site rents to be valued at a lower level than one roomed accommodation. After all LHA is based on the clt’s bedroom needs INSIDE a dwelling, one roomed flats and apartments, whereas site rent is for the land on which the dwelling stands. Although I was not suggsting that the accommodation itself was analogous to a mobile home I argued strongly that the payments he made were exactly similar to ground rent covered in Reg 12(g). I also suggested that Reg 13(C)(5d) talks about “periodical payments of a kind … which a person is liable to make in relation to a houseboat, caravan or mobile home” and that the phrase “of a kind” should be understood in terms of the TYPE of payment, not that he has to be making them on that specific accommodation. Stretching a point I know but I was able to dig up guidance to Rent Officers on valuing site rents (on VOA website) and that clearly distinguishes between site rents and dwellings.
    Did I win? Well it seemed to be going my way but the Judge decided to adjourn it so that he could see a copy of the lease (not sure what relevance that has, but there you go). Watch this space

    #109982
    Kevin D
    Participant

    One option: visit the site and look at the communal notice board. Many “caravan” sites have a notice placed by the LL/site owner referring explicitly to the Mobile Homes Act. If not “mobile homes”, why the need to display such a notice?

    #109998
    sharonwarner
    Participant

    That’s a good idea Kevin, thanks!

    I have gone back to the customer but he maintains that the dwelling is a fixed site so I have asked him to get me something from the park owner regarding moving the homes and will see where we go with that!

    #110003
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Analogies are potentially dangerous but some random thoughts have somewhat mischievously sprung to mind.

    The clmt’s argument is, amongst other things, his home is not a mobile home because it is a “respected park home” and (presumably also to be argued) stays permanently.

    If I have a “respected road car” and remove the wheels, does that change the characteristic of the vehicle still being a car; respected or otherwise?

    Further, and nearer the mark, if I have a “respected street home” and attach wheels to it, does that make it a mobile home?

    HOWEVER, CH/3110/2003 may be of interest. It looked at whether a chalet was a caravan or mobile home and the issue of whether it was a permanent structure was considered to be a factor. Probably not quite so relevant but offered for completeness, rent for a “lodge” (i.e. cabin) was considered to be eligible in CH/2498/2008.

    #110010
    sharonwarner
    Participant

    Kevin, you are a star! Thank you so much!

    If you’ve seen my car, you may well argue if Car is the right term!!! 🙂

    #110144
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    There are many park homes near where I live –
    here is one for sale. Very difficult to argue this is a “caravan” with this price! Mind you, you could not get a mortgage on it.

    £124,950

    A superbly presented 36′ x 20′ park home situated on the sought after Newhaven Heights development. The property, which is being offered for sale with ‘No Chain’ has accommodation to include an ‘L’ shaped lounge/dining room, well fitted kitchen, master bedroom with en suite shower room, further double bedroom and Bathroom/WC. Other benefits include uPVC double glazing, gas central heating,

    #110145
    sharonwarner
    Participant

    Thanks Peter. My guy paid £116,000 for a 2 bed van furnished with double glazing, fully fitted kitchen and carepeting throughout!

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