How to find a place to rent privately

How to find a private rented home


Find out how to find a place to rent privately and what to consider when thinking about where to rent.



How to find a private rented home


Search online
Many landlords and letting agencies advertise online. Popular national websites include:

Rightmove

Zoopla

Spareroom

Gumtree

You may also find local websites or social media sites advertising places to rent.

Use a letting agent
Use a letting agency to help you find a home to rent.  It is an offence for a landlord or letting agent to charge most ‘admin’ or letting fees so always get advice before paying any fees.

Check or advertise locally
Look in local papers, magazines, shop windows and notice boards. You could also place an advert yourself.

Contact your local council
Your local council housing options service should be able to help you (especially if you need a landlord who accepts benefits or you are on a low income).


What sort of place are you looking for?


Private rented housing can vary greatly in quality, size, price and services. Think carefully about the sort of place that will suit you.

You need to be realistic about what you are prepared to accept. In some areas of the country it is easy to find affordable places to rent but in other areas there may be very little available within your price range.

Have a look at our checklist Getting the right place to help you think about where to rent.


How to follow up an advert


Private places often let quickly. If you find somewhere you like:

  • ring the landlord or letting agent as soon as you can
  • ask as much as possible about the property to decide whether it is suitable
  • ask the landlord if they are registered and have a licence under the Rent Smart Wales scheme. If you are dealing with a letting agent, ask the agent if they have a licence
  • arrange to visit the accommodation as soon as possible – before you agree to anything
  • get another person to go with you to view the property and let someone else know where you are going
  • have details of referees or references ready
  • be prepared to pay a deposit (but don’t carry large amounts of cash and always get a receipt) and be sure you view the property before handing over any money.

Check out our ‘Staying safe renting a property_10 Top Tips‘.


‘No DSS’ policies


It is discrimination for a letting agent to refuse to rent to you because you are on benefits or have a ‘no DSS’ policy. If this happens to you, use our Challenging DSS Discrimination toolkit to find out what you can do.

Have a look at this Open Doors project YouTube video to find out more about discrimination in private rented housing.


What to look for when going to a viewing


During the viewing, check that:

  • the property is secure
  • the heating, lighting and plumbing works
  • any furniture is in a good state of repair.

If other people live there, try to meet them to see if you will get on with them.

Take a look at our Viewing a property checklist for ideas about other things you should look at before deciding whether to rent a place.


What each place will cost


You should find out as much as you can about the costs of the accommodation before you agree to move in or sign anything. This includes:

  • how much is the rent?
  • does the rent include bills?
  • how much is the council tax?
  • how much are the bills (in winter and in summer)?
  • are the bills shared with other people?

Renting privately can be expensive.

Use a budget planner to work out if you can afford the accommodation.


How much you have to pay in advance


It is usual to have to pay a deposit and rent in advance, when you sign the tenancy agreement. Landlords normally ask for one month’s rent in advance and one month’s deposit, although it can be more than this. Make sure you ask how much these are before you sign anything.

Most letting fees for tenants are banned in Wales so always get advice before paying anything over. For more advice on which fees are banned, click here.


Whether you can get housing benefit or universal credit


If you are on benefits or have a low income you may be able to get housing benefit or universal credit housing costs to help pay the rent. If your income isn’t too high you may be able to get help even if you are working.

You can check what the maximum housing benefit would be in your area by checking the local housing allowance for your area. But remember that you may not receive this maximum amount if your income or savings are too high.


Whether you need references


Landlords often ask potential tenants to provide references to prove that you are reliable and will be able to afford the rent. This usually means providing bank details and/or a letter from your employer confirming employment. Sometimes landlords request character references or references from former landlords. If you are taking on a tenancy for the first time, a landlord might accept a reference from a parent or guardian.

You might be asked to provide a guarantor for the rent. This is more common for young people. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent if you do not.


What kind of tenancy agreement you would have


Always check what type of tenancy you will have before you move in and ask to see the tenancy agreement.

A tenancy agreement will state the rights and responsibilities that you and your landlord have during the tenancy. You should check it carefully before you sign it, and get advice if you are unsure about anything it says.

Private tenants usually have fewer rights than people who rent from councils or housing associations, but all tenants have certain basic rights under the law. Your landlord can’t take away these basic rights, regardless of what your tenancy agreement says. Even if the landlord doesn’t give you a written tenancy agreement, you still have legal rights.

Most new private tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies but there are other types of private tenancy. If you’re not sure what type of tenancy you have look at our pages on private tenancies.

If you are under 25, take a look at our Setting up your first home advice page, specifically put together for young people.


We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Tenancy Transfers

Tenancy Transfers


If you are a council or housing association tenant and want to move to a new home you can apply for a tenancy transfer.



What is a tenancy transfer?


Most council and housing association tenants can apply for a transfer.

A tenancy transfer is when your landlord allows you to move to another council or housing association property in the area.

A tenancy transfer is different to a tenancy exchange, where you arrange to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant.


How to apply for a tenancy transfer


Contact your council’s housing office or your housing association to apply for a tenancy transfer. You will be asked to fill in a form or register online.

Every council should provide free information about how to make an application for a tenancy transfer and how their transfer scheme works.

You will be asked for information about why you need to move. Explain in detail any special needs, difficulties or problems you or your family have – for example a health condition that makes your current home unsuitable. Enclose copies of any evidence that you have (such as photographs, letters from your doctor etc.)

Your chances of getting a tenancy transfer will depend on:

  • the reasons you want to move
  • whether your landlord has accommodation of the right size – larger homes are usually in short supply
  • whether you need a home that has been adapted – in this situation you may have to wait longer.

Who qualifies for a tenancy transfer?


To transfer tenancies in Wales, you must be:

You probably can’t apply for a transfer if you:

  • are a council tenant with an introductory tenancy (you will probably have to wait until the tenancy becomes secure)
  • are a council or housing association tenant whose tenancy has been demoted
  • are a housing association tenant with a starter or assured shorthold tenancy
  • rent a bedsit or hostel room from the council
  • you live in supported housing or a care home
  • you, or any member of your household, have been found guilty of serious unacceptable behaviour. See our page on eligibility for council housing for more details on what this behaviour could include.

Priority for a tenancy transfer


You may be entitled to priority for a transfer if:

  • you are living in very poor conditions (for example, your home is in serious disrepair or lacks basic washing / cooking facilities)
  • your family has grown and your home is now overcrowded
  • your current home is no longer suited to your needs because you are ill or have a disability
  • you need to move to a particular area to avoid hardship (for example, you suffer with a mental health illness and you need to be close to people who support you).

In some cases, you may also get priority if:

  • your home is now too big for your household, for example because your children have left home
  • you are under-occupying your home, and since the introduction of the bedroom tax you can no longer afford the rent.

Your application for a transfer should be dealt with using the same rules that apply to people who are applying for a council or housing association place. See our page on Who gets priority? for more details.


How long will a transfer take?


Tenancy transfers can take a long time. There is no guarantee that you will get the home you want. There is a shortage of property in most areas.

To speed up the process, you may need to be flexible about what you are prepared to accept.


Transfers to another area


You may be able to transfer to a tenancy in another area, for example to be near a special school or other service.

Ask your landlord about getting a nomination to another council or to a housing association in a different area.


What can I do if I am unhappy with the decision about my transfer application?


If you are unhappy about a decision that has been made about your application for a transfer, you might be able to ask for that decision to be reviewed.

Transfer applicants should be treated in the same way as people who have applied to the council or housing association for the first time, so they should be given the same rights to challenge any decision. Take a look at our page on Challenging allocation decisions to see what you can do.

If you need help challenging a decision then get advice from Shelter Cymru as soon as possible. You usually have to ask for any review within 21 days of receiving the decision so make sure you don’t delay.


Tenancy exchange


You might have a better chance of moving home if you consider a tenancy (mutual) exchange with another council or housing association tenant.

Get advice from Shelter Cymru if you are not sure whether to apply for a transfer or exchange.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Tenancy Exchanges

Tenancy Exchanges


Council and housing association tenants may be able to swap their home with another council or housing association tenant.



What is a tenancy exchange?


A tenancy exchange (also called a mutual exchange) allows you to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant anywhere in the UK.

Tenants arrange tenancy exchanges themselves, often with the help of tenancy exchange websites.

You must get permission to exchange your tenancy from your landlord and follow the proper process. You could be evicted if you try to exchange your tenancy without permission.

The tenant you are swapping with must also get permission from their landlord.

A tenancy exchange is different to a tenancy transfer, where your landlord transfers you to a new tenancy in another council or housing association property.


Who qualifies for a tenancy exchange?


To exchange tenancies in Wales, you must be:

You can’t exchange tenancies if you:


How do I find a tenancy exchange?


Use a tenancy exchange website to help find another tenant to swap homes with, for example:

Some sites charge a fee for registration. Ask your landlord if they have an arrangement that allows you to use a home swap website for free.

When you register online to use a tenancy exchange service you are asked details about your current home, the kind of home you’re looking for and where you want to live. Include photographs if you can.

Once you have registered, you can get details of properties, make contact with other tenants and arrange to view their homes.

When you find a suitable property and you and the other tenant are happy to swap, you must ask your landlord for permission to exchange. The person you want to swap with must do the same with their landlord.

Your landlord has six weeks to decide whether or not to give you permission to exchange your tenancy. If you get no decision within six weeks, get advice.


What rights do I have if I exchange my tenancy?


Before you agree to a tenancy exchange:

  • check what type of tenancy you will be taking over in your new home. You may have different or fewer rights with your new tenancy, especially if the new home is in England where there are different types of tenancy
  • check if repairs or redecoration is needed. When you exchange, you accept the property in the condition you find it
  • find out how much rent you will pay
  • don’t make or accept any payment for exchanging with the other tenant. This is illegal and you could be prosecuted and evicted.

Some tenancy exchanges must be transferred using a deed of assignment. This is a legal document that must be signed by an independent witness.

Get advice from a Shelter Cymru adviser before you swap your home if you are not sure of your rights.


Can a landlord refuse permission for a tenancy exchange?


Landlords can refuse permission for a tenancy exchange if there are reasonable grounds to do this.

Reasonable grounds for refusing a tenancy exchange may include:

  • your landlord has started eviction proceedings
  • an injunction or other action to stop antisocial behaviour has been taken against you or someone living with you
  • you work for your landlord and your home was provided in connection with your job
  • your home is adapted for a person with special requirements and nobody in the new tenant’s household has those requirements
  • the home you want to move to is much larger than your household needs
  • the home you want to move to is too small for your household and you would be overcrowded
  • if you owe rent, your landlord may tell you that this must be paid off before you can exchange your home.

Get advice if your landlord doesn’t give you permission to exchange. An adviser may be able to negotiate with your landlord so the tenancy exchange can go ahead or can submit an appeal against the decision. It might be helpful to ask your landlord for a copy of their mutual exchange policy.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Letting agencies

Letting agents


Letting agents act on behalf of landlords.



What do letting agents do?


There are various different types of letting agencies. Some just find tenants for properties (these are often known as accommodation agencies). Others manage properties on behalf of landlords and the tenants may never have any direct contact with the landlord.

Letting agencies often:

  • find tenants
  • collect rent
  • manage the property
  • arrange repairs
  • provide tenancy agreements and inventories.

Choosing a letting agency


Letting agents in Wales must be licensed under the Rent Smart Wales scheme. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent if they have a licence. If they do then they must keep to the requirements of a Code of Practice and can face penalties if they don’t comply. See our pages on Landlord registration and licensing for more information.

You should also check if the letting agent is a member of a professional body. It shows the agent has agreed to a voluntary code of conduct and professional standards.

The main professional bodies are:

Each of these organisations lists its member letting agencies on its website.


What should I ask the letting agency?


Before agreeing to take accommodation from a letting agency find out:

  • what the agency does on behalf of the landlord
  • if they have a licence under the Rent Smart Wales scheme
  • what sort of tenancy agreement they are offering
  • how long you can stay
  • what charges you will have to pay before you move in
  • how much the rent is and how often it’s paid
  • how the agency wants the rent paid.

Can letting agencies charge?


Many letting fees in Wales are banned. This means it is an offence for landlords and letting agents to charge them. Find out here which fees are banned and what you can do if you are charged a banned fee.

If your tenancy started before the 1 September 2019 the ban probably won’t apply but letting agents must still display any fees they charge clearly and include a description of each fee.

Don’t pay any fees until you’ve been offered a place.


‘No DSS’ policies


It is discrimination for a letting agent to refuse to rent to you because you are on benefits or have a ‘no DSS’ policy. If this happens to you, use our Challenging DSS Discrimination toolkit to find out what you can do.


We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Landlord registration and licensing

Landlord registration and licensing


Landlord registration and licensing helps monitor private landlords and agents and ensure they are suitable people to let out property.

The registration and licensing scheme in Wales is run by Rent Smart Wales.

If you live in an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) your landlord must comply with the Rent Smart Wales scheme in addition to complying with extra licensing rules. Our page on HMO’s explains these rules in more detail.



What is landlord registration?


All private landlords of ‘domestic tenancies’ in Wales must be registered with Rent Smart Wales. This means that if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, an assured tenancy or a regulated tenancy your landlord should be registered. If he/she is not registered then they will be committing an offence and can face penalties.

In order to register, a landlord must provide accurate and up-to-date information about themselves and all of their properties that they operate in Wales. They will also have to pay a fee.


What is landlord licensing?


Any person who lets or manages a ‘domestic tenancy’ in Wales must have a licence from the Rent Smart Wales scheme. This includes landlords who self-manage their properties and letting agents who may have been appointed by the landlord.

This means that if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, an assured tenancy or a regulated tenancy your landlord or their letting agent should have a licence. If they do not have a licence they might be committing an offence and could face penalties.


How does my landlord/agent get a licence?


The application for a licence can be made online at the Rent Smart Wales website or by requesting a paper application by ringing 03000133344.

To submit a valid licence application, the landlord or agent must:

  • pay a fee,
  • declare that they are a ‘fit and proper’ person, and
  • provide evidence that they have been on training about their rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

The licence will last for 5 years, after which a renewal application is required. In order to keep their licence, the landlord or agent must keep to the requirements of a Code of Practice. If you are worried about the conduct of your landlord or agent who is licensed you can report it to Rent Smart Wales who will investigate. If your landlord or agent is not following the Code of Practice, they run the risk of losing their licence or not being able to have their licence renewed when it expires. Complaints can be made anonymously if you prefer.


What is the ‘fit and proper person’ test?


The ‘fit and proper person’ test means that private landlords and agents have to meet a certain standard before they can legally rent out property. The test is designed to weed any bad landlords or agents out of the system and to improve the standards in the private rented sector generally. This should give you, as a tenant, extra protection from bad landlords.


How does the ‘fit and proper person’ test work?


When Rent Smart Wales receives an application for a licence from a landlord or agent, it will have to decide whether or not they are a ‘fit and proper person’ to let out property.

In deciding whether an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ Rent Smart Wales can consider information showing that the applicant, or anyone associated with them, has done any of the following:

  • committed a criminal offence
  • discriminated against someone in any business activity
  • broken any other laws in relation to housing.

A criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean that an applicant won’t pass the test. The council will have to look at every case individually and decide whether the information received will affect the person’s ability to be a good landlord or agent. It can also consider anything else that is relevant.


What training does my landlord or agent have to do in order to get a licence?


Before they can be given a licence your landlord or agent must show evidence that they have been on relevant training, covering the main rights and responsibilities of renting and managing properties in Wales.


How do I find out if a landlord is registered and/or licensed?


If you’re looking for a place to rent, you should check that the landlord is registered and complied with the licensing rules before you agree to move in or sign a tenancy agreement. You can do this by checking the public register online or you can phone 03000 133344.  You will need either the landlord or agents name and the address of the property.

If your landlord and/or agent is licensed but you are having concerns about their conduct you can report this to Rent Smart Wales who will investigate the problem.


What if my landlord isn’t registered or my landlord/agent has not yet got a licence?


If your landlord is not registered, or has not yet obtained a licence or appointed an agent who is licensed, make sure you let them know that they should do so – it’s possible that they may not have realised yet.

Action by Rent Smart Wales or your council
Landlords or agents that are not registered or complied with the licensing rules can be prosecuted. They may also face one of the following penalties:

  • a fixed penalty notice – giving them the option to pay a fixed penalty of £150 or £250 (depending on the offence) rather than have a conviction
  • a rent stopping order (RSO) – stopping rent being paid by the tenant for a period
  • a rent repayment order (RRO)– requiring them to repay any rent, housing benefit or universal credit received for a period.

It is up to your local council or Rent Smart Wales to decide what action to take if your landlord or agent does not register or get the right licence. Contact your council’s public protection department or Rent Smart Wales directly if you are concerned.

Action by the tenant
Where a landlord has been successfully prosecuted, or a RRO has already been made in respect of housing benefit or universal credit, tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal themselves for an RRO so that they can have some of their rent repaid. If you want to do this contact the Residential Property Tribunal Wales. Any application by a tenant must be made within 12 months of any conviction or RRO and costs £155 (unless you are on certain income related benefits). The application form for a tenant to apply is here.

Restriction on eviction
If you have an assured shorthold tenancy and your landlord :

  • is not registered, and
  • has not either obtained the proper licence, or appointed an agent who is licensed

any section 21 notice they may have given you to end your tenancy cannot be relied on to evict you. If you receive a notice and are in this situation, see our page on eviction of assured shorthold tenants and get advice as soon as possible.


Where can I found out more information?


Rent Smart Wales has produced a Guide for Tenants in Wales, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords, agents and tenants in Wales, including more information about licensing. You may also stay up to date with Rent Smart Wales on Facebook or Twitter.


We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Renting or buying a mobile home on a site

You will need to rent somewhere to put your mobile home


When looking at renting or buying a mobile home on a site, you should take account of the same factors as you would when looking at a traditional home, for example, cost, location, and safety. The page on ‘things to consider‘ has other examples.

There are also other, more specific, factors you should consider when looking to buy or rent a mobile home:


Is the mobile home stationed on a protected site?


A protected site has planning permission and a site licence from the council. In order to receive a site licence, the mobile home site or park must reach certain standards. Find out more about protected sites and site licences on the page about mobile homes and sites. Mobile home residents who live on a protected site have many more rights than residents who live on an unprotected site, including more protection from eviction.

Before moving in, ask to see a copy of the site licence. Check that the site is licensed for residential use, not just as a holiday site, and that it conforms to the standards set out in the site licence.

Visit the site and check the following:

  • Are there adequate fire safety precautions in place?
  • Are the mobile homes spaced sufficiently apart?
  • Is there an adequate supply of electricity, gas, water and sewerage facilities? You could ask other residents about this.

You could also contact the council and ask if there have been any problems with the site licence. The environmental health department will usually hold the licence.


Does the site owner own or lease the land?


It’s important to find out whether the site owner actually owns the land the site is based on, or whether they lease it from someone else. If they lease it, ask how long their lease will last. When their lease ends, your right to stay on the pitch will end as well. This means that if, for example, the lease is for five years, you may have to leave the site at the end of those five years.


Is the site owner a member of a recognised organisation?


Find out if the site owner is a member of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) or the National Caravan Council. All BH&HPA and NCC members must agree to abide by the Park Home Owners’ Charter, which lays down the rights and responsibilities for site owners and park residents. Generally, this means that the park is more likely to be well maintained and you are more likely to receive a high standard of service.

LEASE has information about site obligations and rights.

Park home site owners may also be registered with a scheme such as the Gold Shield Ten Year Warranty, which will ensure that all the homes in their park conform to British safety standards.


How much will it cost?


Before you move in, ask the site owner about the cost involved.

  • How much is the rent for the mobile home?
  • Will you have to pay a deposit?
  • How much are the pitch fees and how much have they gone up over the past few years?
  • What are the service charges (for example, the supply of electricity, gas, water and sewerage) and how are they calculated?

What do other residents think about the site?


Talk to other people who live on the site to get their opinion. Mobile home parks are small communities: can you see yourself fitting in?


Do you agree with the rental terms and park rules?


Ask the site owner if you can see a copy of the agreement you’ll have to sign and a copy of the site rules. Read this carefully before making any decisions.

  • Does the agreement include a plan of the site?
  • Is your pitch clearly marked?
  • What services are supplied and how much will you pay for them?
  • Are there any rules you think are unfair, for example concerning guests or pets?
  • Can the site owner change the rules without consulting you?

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Owning a mobile home

If you own your mobile home, you may need to rent a pitch


Most people who own their mobile homes still need to rent a pitch to station it on. If you own a mobile home on a rented pitch, your rights come from the law and from your agreement with the site owner. This page covers both protected sites and unprotected sites.


Rental Agreements


When you rent a pitch to place your mobile home on, you should have a rental agreement with the site owner, which gives you certain legal rights

However, these rights only apply if:

  • you own your mobile home, and
  • you rent the pitch it’s stationed on, and
  • your mobile home comes within the legal definition, and
  • your mobile home is your only or main residence, and
  • you live on a protected site.

So, for example, these rights don’t apply if:

  • you own a mobile home on a rented pitch but only use it for holidays, or
  • you live on a holiday site.

Resolving disputes


Any disputes over your rental agreement can be settled in the county court, or by applying to an external arbiter. However, you can only apply to an arbiter if both you and the site owner have agreed to this in writing.

An arbiter has the same powers as the court, in that they can change or add something to your rental agreement. However, they can’t force you or the site owner to comply with their decision – in this case you would need to go to the court. In addition, once the arbiter has made their decision, neither you nor the site owner can appeal against it.

Arbitration is a cheaper option than going through the courts. However, if the site owner wants to evict you, it’s best to go to the county court rather than an arbiter.


Right to a written statement


Once you have come to an agreement with the site owner to rent a pitch, you are legally entitled to a written statement. This should include:

  • the names and addresses of the parties
  • the date of commencement
  • a description of the land and a plan of the pitch that the mobile home is to be stationed on
  • the site owner’s interest in the land
  • your rights to ‘quiet enjoyment’ (to live in your home without unnecessary interference from the landlord)
  • the site owner’s right to enter the pitch
  • the obligations of the occupier and owner
  • the pitch fee and the period for which it is payable
  • how and when the pitch fee can be increased
  • any other additional charges
  • the statement of terms implied by the law, and
  • any express terms of the agreement.

All written statements should start with an explanation that they set out the terms on which the occupier is allowed to stay on the site. It should also state that an occupier should obtain legal advice if there is something they do not understand.

The written statement is evidence of the agreement between the mobile home owner and the site owner but this is not the agreement itself.

The written statement should be given at least 28 days before the agreement is entered into.

If you’re not given a written statement you can apply to the court for an order requiring the site owner to provide one.


Implied terms


There are terms to your agreement with the site owner that are laid down in law and cannot be changed. These are called ‘implied terms’ and they include:

  • how the agreement can be ended
  • your right to sell your mobile home
  • your right to gift your mobile home
  • your rights regarding succession
  • your rights if the mobile home is to be re-sited.

How the agreement can be ended


You can end the agreement at any time, provided that you give the site owner at least four weeks’ notice in writing.

If the site owner wants you to leave, they must give you at least four weeks’ notice. If you have not left after the notice runs out, they must get an order from the court before you have to leave.


Right to sell your mobile home


Normally when you sell your mobile home you pass on the agreement you have with the site owner to the person you are selling to.

The site owner should approve the new owner, but should not refuse their approval unreasonably. The only factor they can take into account when deciding whether to give approval is the suitability of the new owner. If your site owner is refusing to give their approval unreasonably, you can apply to the courts for a decision. The site owner can claim a commission payable on the sale, but cannot claim any other payment.

You may be able to sell your mobile home to the site owner if they are interested, but they do not have the right of first refusal (being offered the chance to buy your home before anyone else). Even if your agreement says that they do have the right of first refusal, they probably won’t be able to insist on it.


Can I give my mobile home to someone else?


You can give your mobile home, and pass on the agreement, only to a member of your family. The definition of a family member is very wide, covering anyone you are related to by marriage, including stepchildren, and people living together as husband and wife, civil partnerships and same-sex couples. The gift must be made to a person approved by the site owner, but the site owner cannot withhold their approval unreasonably.


Can I pass my mobile home on when I die?


If your spouse or civil partner was living with you at the time of death, they will inherit the agreement with the site owner and all the rights that you had. If there is no spouse or civil partner, any family member living with you at the time of your death can inherit the agreement.

The rules are different when there are no family members living with you to inherit your mobile home. In this case, the person who inherits your mobile home is able to sell it on site and pass on the full agreement to the buyer, provided the site owner agrees. However, the person who inherits the mobile home does not have an automatic right to live there or give it to a member of their family, unless the site owner agrees that they can.


Can the site owner claim commission on a sale?


Yes. The site owner can usually claim commission of up to 10 per cent of the sale price. Site owners can choose to claim a lower percentage, but cannot charge a higher one.

The site owner cannot claim a commission if your mobile home was given as a gift to a family member.


Can the site owner move me to another pitch?


The site owner can only move your mobile home to another pitch for essential or emergency repair works. If the owner wants to move your mobile home for any other reason, and you do not agree with the move, s/he must make an application to the county court. The court must be satisfied that the move is reasonable. In addition:

  • the new pitch must be broadly comparable to the original pitch, and
  • the site owner is liable for any costs incurred during the move.

If the mobile home is to be removed for repairs to the pitch, the site owner must return your mobile home to its original when the work is completed.


Express terms


When you make the agreement, both you and the site owner can agree to add in additional ‘express terms’ or conditions, provided they don’t come into conflict with the implied terms, which are your rights by law. For example, you can include terms about:

  • the provision of services
  • the sums of money you will have to pay for use of the pitch and services, and when you should make the payments
  • any age restrictions for residents
  • your responsibilities to abide by the park’s rules
  • the rights of the occupier to ‘quiet enjoyment’
  • if any pets are allowed on the site.

It is important to make sure that the express terms are included in your written statement; otherwise they may be difficult to enforce.


Can the express terms be changed?


Once a written statement has been issued both you and the site owner can apply to the court within six months to have any of the express terms changed or deleted. Once six months have passed, they become legally binding and cannot be changed, so it’s important to look at them carefully during the six-month period.

However, the right to change the express terms only applies to new agreements. If the mobile home has been given to you or if you have bought a second-hand home in a park, you won’t have the right to change the express terms of the written statement and neither will the site owner.


Pitch fees


Written agreements usually contain a section that states when pitch fees can be reviewed and how any increase will be calculated.

Things that might be taken into account when calculating a pitch fee increase include:

  • inflation
  • money that the site owner has spent on making improvements to the park
  • any other factors to do with the park.

If you are unhappy with a pitch fee review you should write to the site owner and ask how it was calculated. If you are not happy with the response, you should keep paying the old amount but refuse to pay the increase.

The site owner will either negotiate a smaller increase with you or start legal proceedings. You also have the right to apply to the county court to settle this dispute. Get advice from a Shelter Cymru adviser or Citizens Advice Bureau.

The new pitch fee cannot come into effect until both you and the site owner have agreed it or the county court has decided the matter for you. Therefore, until a decision is made, the site owner cannot claim that you have rent arrears just because you have not paid the increase.

However, once the new increase has been decided on, you will have to pay the backdated increase from the review date. This could end up being a substantial amount of money, so it’s best to set aside enough money to cover the full amount of the proposed increase while the dispute is going on.


Will I have to pay any other charges?


Beside pitch fees, you may have to pay additional service charges, for example for the gas, electricity, water and sewerage, or for the maintenance of the site, such as gardening. However, any charges you have to pay must be listed in the express terms.

If you’re not happy about paying for certain services, you can try to get the relevant express terms changed during the six-month period after the written statement has been issued.


Park rules


The express terms of your written statement may well include a responsibility to stick to the park rules. These cover such things as:

  • whether you’re allowed to keep pets
  • where you can park vehicles
  • where you can hang washing out
  • considerate behaviour, for example there may be restrictions on playing loud music at night.

Who enforces park rules?


Park rules are enforceable by the site owner but not by other occupiers. For example, if you have a noisy neighbour you will have to persuade the site owner to take action against them. However, unless the express terms state that the site owner is responsible for enforcing the rules, you cannot make them take action against rule breakers if they choose not to.


Can the site owner change the park rules?


The site owner should not be able to change the park rules without first consulting with the park residents. If your site owner is a member of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, they have to give you 28 days’ notice before they can change rules that affect the park.

If you disagree with the proposals you should tell the owner in writing. If you can get at least of a third of the people living in your park to ask the site owner for a meeting, the site owner will either have to withdraw the proposals or meet with you to discuss and vote on them. If less than a third of the occupiers write to the site owner, the changes will go ahead after 28 days.


Do I need a new agreement if the site is sold to a new owner?


No. When a new owner buys a site, the existing agreements have to be honored. The new owner cannot change your agreement until it has come to an end. The new owner cannot change the park rules either without the agreement of all the mobile home owners.


Do I need to get permission from the site owner if I want to make changes to my pitch?


Yes. If you want to put anything on your pitch or mobile home, for example, decking or a porch, you should ask the site owner first. If possible get permission in writing as it can be useful if a dispute should arise later.


The Park Home Owners’ Charter


Many residential mobile home park owners have signed up to the Park Home Owners’ Charter, drawn up by the National Park Homes Council and the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, along with park home residents committees. This explains your rights and obligations when you buy, live in and sell your mobile home

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Buying a mobile home

Finding a mobile home to buy


Most people in mobile homes own their own home. There are several ways to buy a mobile home such as a caravan, motorhome or park home. This page explains how to go about finding a mobile home to buy.


A home already stationed on a site or in a park home


If you want to live in a park home, you will probably need to purchase a home already stationed in the park. Most park homes do not rent out pitches for people to station their own mobile homes on. If you are interested in buying a mobile home stationed on a site or park, you can search for mobile homes to buy at the British Holiday & Home Parks Association’s UK parks website. The National Caravan Council website lists caravan parks across the UK.


Direct from a manufacturer, sales centre or dealer


The UK Parks website has links to park home manufacturers in the UK – bear in mind that you will need somewhere to station the mobile home, and most park homes will not rent out pitches for this purpose. Find details of caravan and motorhome dealers near you in the Yellow Pages.


Second hand from a private dealer


Websites such as RV Sales and Autotrader offer caravans and motorhomes for sale.


How much does a mobile home cost?


Depending on their condition, caravans can cost anything from a few hundred pounds, while park homes cost upwards of £20,000, making them significantly cheaper than traditional bricks and mortar property. However, bear in mind that you will have to pay a pitch fee and service charges as well, and that the value of a mobile home will not increase in line with traditional properties.


Can I get a mortgage?


Banks and building societies don’t offer mortgages for buying mobile homes. Some sales centres offer financial packages, while some financial institutions, such as RoyScot Larch, specialise in loans for mobile homes. Bear in mind that the interest rates on your loan will be significantly higher than the average interest rates charged for a mortgage.


Will I have to pay stamp duty?


There is no stamp duty to pay when you buy a mobile home.


Do I need a survey?


If you are thinking of buying a park home, it’s best to get a surveyor with specialist knowledge of mobile homes to look over the property and the site. They may be able to spot problems that could cost you a lot of money in the future.


Will I have to rent a pitch?


Unless you buy land on which to site your mobile home, you will have to pay pitch fees to the owner of the site you live on. Pitch fees will vary in price, but are usually around £70-£120 a month. Read the page on mobile home sites to find out what you need to consider when looking at a site.

There are laws regulating the renting of pitches that give you certain rights, including protection from eviction. When you buy your mobile home, you are entitled to a written statement laying out the terms and conditions of renting the pitch and living in the park.

If you are buying a new home in a park, you will be able to negotiate the terms of the agreement with the site owner. However, if you are buying a second-hand home, you will have to abide by the previous owner’s agreement. This means:

  • on the downside, you won’t be able to change any conditions you’re unhappy with
  • on the upside, the site owner cannot change the conditions either and so, for example, cannot increase the pitch fees when you move in.

The section on owning a mobile home explains more.


Will I need a solicitor?


When entering into any legal contract, it’s best to get a solicitor to look over the rental agreement before you commit yourself. Make sure you find a solicitor experienced in mobile home law, or at least in housing law. You can find a solicitor at The Law Society website. You can also get free housing advice from a Shelter Cymru adviser or Citizens Advice Bureau.


Restrictions on rights


Mobile home owners who rent a pitch do not enjoy all the rights that ‘bricks and mortar’ home owners have.

  • You’re not free to sell or give away your mobile home to anyone you like, or leave it in your will to anyone you like. The site owner must approve the new owner, although they shouldn’t withhold their permission unreasonably.
  • When you sell your mobile home, you have to pay 10 per cent commission on the sale to the site owner. The section on owning a mobile home explains these restrictions in more detail.
  • In certain circumstances, you could be evicted from the site. Find out more by reading the page on eviction of mobile home owners from a pitch.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Renting a mobile home

Renting a mobile home


Most mobile home residents buy their own park homes or caravans. However, it is possible to rent a mobile home on a site.



How do I find a mobile home to rent?


Most caravans, motorhomes and park homes are only available to rent for holidays. However, some residential parks do offer properties to rent on a more permanent basis.

You can search for mobile homes to rent at UK Parks.

Many mobile home occupiers rent caravans through their family or friends. However, be aware that if you are renting a caravan on someone’s land and they don’t have permission and a site licence, you will have very few rights and can be evicted easily.


How much rent will I have to pay?


Mobile home rents should be cheaper than traditional properties. However, there are no controls over rent for mobile homes, so you will need to negotiate with the landlord.

You will probably also have to pay pitch fees and service charges to whoever owns the site that the mobile home is on.


Can I claim Housing Benefit?


Yes. Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent or pitch fees if you are on a low income. For more information click here.


What are my rights if I rent a mobile home?


If you rent a mobile home, your rights will be set out in the law and in the agreement you have with your landlord. This will either be a written or a verbal agreement. To find out what your rights might be see our page on mobile home tenancies.

For advice if you are being evicted from a mobile home, click here.


We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Mobile home accommodation

Things to consider if you’re thinking about a mobile home


Moving in to mobile home accommodation can be a big step. There are lots of things you should consider before you buy or rent a mobile home.



What is a mobile home?


Mobile homes can vary greatly in size and type. A mobile home could be:

  • a caravan
  • a trailer or motorhome
  • a prefabricated bungalow (sometimes called a park home).

Why choose a mobile home?


Mobile homes are an economical housing option. Some people, particularly those of retirement age, choose to move into mobile accommodation, often selling traditional property to do so. In many rural areas, where there is not enough council housing available or where house prices are beyond your reach, a mobile home may be your only option.


What should I consider when looking for a mobile home?


When you buy or rent a mobile home, you need to think about:

  • what the home itself is like
  • where you are going to put it
  • how much you will have to pay to the site owner for pitch fees
  • what agreement you will have with the site owner.

Can I put a mobile home on my own land?


Even if you own land to put a mobile home on, you will need planning permission and a site licence, which you can obtain by writing to the council.

Our pages on renting or buying a mobile home on a site explains what you should consider when looking at sites.


Are there safety standards for mobile homes?


Yes. Park homes should be built to a British ‘residential’ Standard (BS3632). Various schemes exist, such as the Gold Shield Ten Year Warranty, to ensure that park homes comply with these standards. Make sure that any mobile home you buy is covered by a warranty.

A list of approved caravan, motorhome and caravan leisure home models can be found at the National Caravan Council (NCC) website. The NCC has checked these models and approved that they comply with UK legislation and safety regulations. They will carry an NCC approved sticker.


What are my rights if I buy or rent a mobile home?


Unfortunately, tenants or owners of mobile homes don’t have as many rights as owners or tenants of ‘bricks and mortar’ homes. This is because different laws apply to mobile homes.

To find out what your rights might be take a look at our pages on :

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us