Holiday park home is not a building

The decision in Caddick and another v Whitsand Bay Holiday Park Ltd (2015) gives useful guidance on the factors to consider when determining whether a holiday park home (or other structure) is a building or a chattel.

The case was heard through First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber, and subsequently the Upper Tribunal  (Lands Chamber) on appeal.  It concerned whether a holiday park home was a dwelling for the purposes of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  The tenants had a 125 year lease and wished to claim the service charge protections set out in the Act.

There must be a letting of a “dwelling” for the service charge protections to apply.  Section 38 of the Act defines a dwelling as:  “a building or part of a building occupied or intended to be occupied as a separate dwelling …”.

So the issue in this case was whether the holiday park home was a building.  Without a building there is no dwelling for the purposes of the Act.  Without a dwelling the occupant cannot invoke the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to refer service charge disputes to the Lands Chamber.

The First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber decided the home was not a building and this was supported in obiter on appeal.  It was concluded that the holiday park home was a chattel, and not a building, because the structure could be removed from the land without causing material damage to the structure.

There may be instances where a holiday park home is a building.  Each case is a matter of fact and degree.  The Lands Chamber referred to the House of Lords decision in Elitestone Ltd v Morris (1997) where their lordships decided a bungalow was a fixture attached to the land and not a chattel.  This was on the basis that removal of the structure from the land would occasion its destruction.  By contrast, in this case the experts agreed removal was possible without demolition.

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