Static Caravans vs Mobile Home

What’s The Difference Between A Caravan And A Mobile Home

It can confuse when you hear the terms, static caravan, caravan and mobile home. Because at first glance it would seem, the odd one out is a static caravan.

As the name implies it’s ‘static’ it doesn’t move, does it? And you’ll often hear the name mobile home used for all three. So what’s the difference.

The quick answer is no difference at all. They are all the same. To call them a mobile home is a bit old-fashioned these days. It was used to describe a caravan, a residential home. 

Residential Static Caravans

I think we’ve all seen episodes of the American TV show The Rockford Files, where he lives out of a trailer (static caravan) by the sea. 

Of course, in the UK a static caravan will always be on a permanent residential caravan park. These days they make a useful starter home for couples and not just retirees looking to downsize. There are around 200,000 people living in mobile homes in the UK, but close to 100 times that in the USA.

As technology has advanced the quality of static caravans has improved a tremendous amount. It’s a fact. A static caravan today is a far cry from the ones I used to holiday in when I was young.

A lot of them are luxurious by anyone’s standards. When you buy a new one, they all have as standard, or you can choose as extras, central heating, free-standing furniture (of the same quality as a traditional home), integrated appliances, uPVC double glazing and fully fitted out bathrooms.

In fact, I’ve seen static caravans bigger than some two or three-bedroom apartments that they build these days. It can be a wonderful way for a young couple, struggling to get a mortgage, to get themselves on the bottom rung of the housing market, and they are not sacrificing luxury or living environment to do so.

It’s far more likely that it’s a residential static caravan interchangeable with a mobile home.

Buying A Mobile Home

If you are considering buying your first mobile home (static caravan), you need to consider a few things before you take the plunge.

If buying a new one is out of your reach, then you might look at used ones. The prices variations are pretty huge, as will the condition of the caravans you are looking at.

You might be lucky and find a second-hand van that’s cared for by the previous owners. Some owners lavish as much care and attention on their caravans as they do their permanent homes.

All purchases of a mobile home now attract 5% VAT. The caravan will probably already be on a pitch, and you would take over that pitch and licence from the current owner of the van. Remember to check the licence itself, that will tell what period remains on the licence. At the end of the current licence, the park may want you to remove the caravan or they might allow an extension of the licence.

If you are buying new, then you will need to factor in the cost of transporting your caravan to the park you have selected, site fees and connection to utilities.

Remember when you buy a mobile home you get access to a great deal more. Most sites have amazing facilities, from clubhouses with live entertainment, play areas for children, and not to forget they are in some of the most picturesque areas of the UK.

There is also the opportunity to meet new people. In a normal brick and mortar home, it can be a little insular. But attitudes and atmosphere changes when you’re in a park. This style of life gives you the possibility of making many lasting friendships. 

Differences Between Park Homes Static Caravans, And Lodges

In the article, I thought we would also talk about the differences between Park homes, static caravans and lodges, as they all seem to be lumped under the same title as a mobile home.

Park Homes

They build Park homes, also referred to as a mobile home, to the Specification for Residential Park Homes, which are specific regulations governing the build and you can find them under the British Standard BS3632.

They build this type of structure using timber frames and to a standard for habitation all year-round. As long as the site you have located your park home has a residential license, your park home can be your permanent UK residence.

The Mobile Homes Act protects your tenure when parks have a residential park license.


Lodges can be residential homes or holiday homes. They build them under the same British Standard, that is with timber frames, and can be extremely luxurious.

What qualifies them as residential or holiday is the license the park holds. If it’s your intention to make a Lodge purchase your primary place of residence, you must double-check the license.

Sometimes you may come across a park offering 11-month residencies. This means their license is not residential, only holiday. To be legal, you need to provide a permanent UK address.

Mobile Home Insurance

Insurance is important for obvious reasons, but which type do you need to buy? The terms in use for different homes can cause confusion here.

It’s best to view this not as the name of the home i.e. mobile home, lodge or whatever, but where you have it in situ. If the license you come under is residential, then you need to purchase that insurance if however, your license is for holiday only then you need to purchase holiday leisure home insurance.


There’s a great deal you have to consider before you buy your mobile home, and it might seem a worrying experience.

Hopefully, in this article, we have at least helped you understand the differences between static caravans vs mobile home.

If you want a substantial holiday home, you will use a few times every year, think static caravan. For something more permanent for downsizing or taking your first steps into the property market, consider a park home that has a residential license. 


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