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Following the findings in the recent case of Barrs Residential & Leisure v Pleass Thomson & Co (Park Homes- Succession) the ownership of mobile homes has come under scrutiny. 

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What does the law say about mobile homes? 

The majority of mobile homes are located on a caravan park or site; because of this a lot of people will find that their mobile home ownership is governed by site specific rules and this includes rules about the period for which the mobile home may be occupied. For example, some sites allow year-round occupation whereas others state that you may only be in occupation for six months of the year depending on the licence with which they may operate. 
The actual security of tenure is governed by the Mobile Homes Act 1983 with Section 3 covering what happens to a when someone who occupies a mobile home passes away. 

Can I continue to live in the mobile home even though my Partner has passed away? 

Section 3 of the Mobile Homes Act provides that when someone who occupies a mobile home passes away, then their rights under the 1983 Act will pass to a surviving spouse or civil partner provided that they too were occupying the mobile home as their main residence at the time of death (s.3(3) (a)). In circumstances where no spouse or civil partner exists then any other family member occupying the mobile home as their main residence can succeed. In the event that there is no one fitting these categories then the Act states that the rights will pass to the person entitled to the mobile home as per the instructions in the Will or as per the laws of intestacy. Unsure as to what your Will says? Contact our Wills and Probate Team in Longridge

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The Case Law: 

The case of; Barrs Residential & Leisure Ltd v Pleass Thomson & Co, looked at the specific issue of the succession of the Mobile Home. The facts of the case were that Mr Hearne owned a mobile home on a site owned by Barrs Residential & Leisure Ltd. Mr Hearne passed away leaving a Will which provided that his Estate was to be divided equally between his children. None of his children were living with him in the mobile home at the time of his death. 
The key here to remember, is that legal ownership of the mobile home is entirely different to the right of occupation. If go back to the example of site rules, you will note that it is possible to own a mobile home but not necessarily possible to reside in it year-round if the site does not permit year-round occupation. 
In this instance Mr Hearne’s Executors transferred the ownership of the mobile home by a Deed of Assignment to one of his sons on payment of £30,000.00. The Executors stated that in exchange for the £30,000.00 they had transferred the legal title of the mobile home and the right of occupation. 
Barrs Residential & Leisure Ltd objected to this stating that though the Deed could transfer the legal ownership, it could not (and did not) transfer the rights of occupation under the 1983 Act, indeed all of the children would have a right of occupation. 
The Upper Tribunal agreed with Barrs Residential & Leisure Ltd and held that although the son was, as per the Deed of Assignment the legal owner of the mobile home, he did not receive a right of occupation to the mobile home. 
If you live or own a mobile home it is worth contacting our solicitors in Lancaster, or expert Wills and Probate lawyers in Preston to discuss how you will leave our mobile home in your Will, contact or call Lancaster 01524 581360, or Preston 01772 783314 
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