Rent arrears on licenced traveller sites
Gypsies and travellers who live on public (local authority or housing association) or privately owned authorised sites are subject to council tax, rent, gas, electricity and other associated amenity charges in the same way as other residents.
Security of tenure
On a licenced site, the pitch (the space required to accommodate one household) will be subject to a tenancy agreement and a code of conduct.
In 2008, following the case of Connors v UK (2005), the Mobile Homes Act 1983 was amended by the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, s318, to ensure that gypsies and travellers living on local authority sites in England would have full security of tenure.
The Welsh Government introduced similar legislation in 2013, with Orders for Wales added to the MHA 1983 and Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.
When might a tenant be evicted
The tenant may be evicted from the authorised site if they breach one or more terms of their pitch licence, after being given notice of the breach and not having put things right within the reasonable time scale provided.
Breaches of the pitch licence may include:
- Failure to pay the pitch fees
- Antisocial behaviour
- Failure to maintain their caravan/mobile home
Tenants might also be evicted if the mobile home on the site is not their main residence or a court decides it is reasonable to make an eviction order.
The landlord will apply to court to end the tenancy agreement and then apply for a possession order – these are both usually applied for at the same time.
Enforcement of the possession order
The possession order may then be transferred to the High Court for enforcement by a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) under a writ of possession.
The writ authorises the HCEO to clear only the land identified in the court order. Securing the land to prevent reoccupation is the responsibility of the local authority.