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.