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Building & Renovation

Mobile Home or Building?

Tuesday 09 March 2021

When does a mobile home in France become a building structure?

In a recent case in the French courts, an individual acquired a small piece of land in the commune of Chelles (Seine-et-Marne), on which he installed a mobile home.

In the local plan (PLU) the land was classified as a natural zone, with strict controls on new construction.

In addition, under planning law, a mobile home or leisure building cannot be kept on land for a period more than three months, without planning consent being obtained.

The mobile home owner proceeded to undertake minor infrastructure works on the land, including fencing and gravelling a large surface area.

Over several years, the local council served notices on the owner to vacate the land, which he refused to do as a result of which the matter ended up in the courts.

In court, the owner stated that the mobile home was the principal residence of himself, his wife and child, and that enforcement action against them constituted an infringement of their human rights.

In considering the case, the court heard that the owner had removed the wheels from the mobile home, which was sat on concrete anchors.

The court considered that as the mobile home had been immobilised and had to be considered a construction, for which no planning consent had been granted.

In addition, even if the change in status were this not to have been the case, the installation of a mobile home without authorization, also contravened Article R 421-23 of the planning code if there for a period in excess of three months as is the case here.

The court therefore ordered that the mobile home be removed, failing which they authorised the mayor to demolish it.

It is noteworthy that from beginning to end, this case took 11 years.

You can read more in our Guide to Mobile Homes and Caravans in France.

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