I - DEFINITION OF A RECREATIONAL MOBILE HOME
- According to Decree No. 2007-18 of 5 January 2007, article R.111-33, the following are regarded as recreational mobile homes: habitable ground vehicles intended for a temporary or seasonal use for recreation, which retain their mobility features so that they can be moved by being towed but which the Highway Code prohibits from being driven.
- Moreover, since the Ruling of 28 September 2007 (concerning the installation of chalets, mobile homes, caravans and camping and amending the Town-planning Code), for the application of Article R. 111.33, Article A. 111-2 states that vehicles that meet the standard NF”S 56 410 on mobile homes shall be deemed recreational mobile homes: Definition and installation methods.”
- Thus, you cannot add a concrete terrace or a breezeblock veranda or any other “hard” installation (fence, garden shelter) to your mobile home if that will restrict its mobility. Only removable terraces and canopies that do not hinder mobility are authorized.
- Your recreational mobile home must be placed on wedges that are not implanted in the ground and can be stabilized by posts or other methods that can be removed quickly or stabilized by jacks.
- The connections of recreational mobile homes to the water, wastewater, electricity, gas, telephone, television and other similar networks must be undertaken in compliance with the regulations, standards, state-of-the-art technology or the provisions of the applicable articles in force. They do not undermine the mobile nature of the recreational mobile home provided that they can be removed easily.
- A recreational mobile home must not be confused with lightweight recreational housing, a generic term designating housing without foundations that can be disassembled such as chalets and prefabs. The legislation concerning lightweight recreational housing is more restrictive than that concerning recreational mobile homes.
- A recreational mobile home must not be confused with a mobile home (without the term “recreational”), a generic term designating caravans or “terrestrial mobile homes” used as a main residence by travellers (who will have to pay a residence tax from 1 January 2008 and the installation of which may be permitted on private land if the municipality has not set up any specific spaces).
II - CONDITIONS OF INSTALLATION
- According to Decree No. 2007-18 of 5 January 2007, article R. 111-34, recreational mobile homes can only be installed:
- in residential holiday parks mentioned in para. 1 of article R. 111-32, with the exception of sites created after 1 July 2007 and used on the basis of the assignment or lease of a pitch for a term of over one year, renewable;
- on classified campsites in accordance with the Tourism Code;
- in the holiday villages classed as lightweight housing in accordance with the Tourism Code.
Recreational mobile homes can also be placed, with a view to imminent use, on:
- sites intended as a collective garage for caravans and recreational mobile homes
- parking areas open to the public
- certain vehicle depots mentioned in para. j) of Article R. 421-19 and para. e) of article R.421-23 of the Town-planning Code
- No driving license is required for recreational mobile homes installed in the facilities specified in Decree No. 2007-18 of 5 January 2007 (see above).
- No building permit is required for recreational mobile homes. Its status is such that it is not assimilated to a building. Thus, it is not considered an actual second residence (by the tax office, for example). In tax terms, as the owner of a mobile home you will not be liable to residence tax even if there is an electrical or other connection. However, a recreational mobile home will be subject to the tourist tax for your stays there (a few euros per day). The legal term for a mobile home is a “recreational mobile home”, with the term recreational emphasizing that it is designed for temporary and seasonal use and cannot lawfully be used as your main or permanent place of residence.
The legal term “mobile homes” (without “recreational”) refers to travellers’ caravans. The law of November 2005 giving rise to a “residence tax” of €25 per m² does not apply to that category or to mobile homes.
III- CHOOSING A CAMPSITE
- There are around 10,000 campsites in France but only some o-f them lease pitches to private individuals. Since these campsites differ in size, equipment and services, each one charges prices for the sale on mobile homes and leasing of pitches that reflects its characteristics. The differences may be significant (Just as you pay more for a coffee on the Champs Elysees than you would in the countryside, a mobile home on a campsite at the seaside with a water park will be more expensive than a 2-star rural site). Make sure to compare.
- Be aware also that a campsite, in the interest of standardization and brand image, may dictate the choice of brand for your mobile home, certain characteristics (sloping roof, age) and may ask you to purchase exclusively through it.
- What do the stars represent?
Just like hotels, the 10,000 French campsites are classed accorded to a system of stars, from 1 for the more basic to 4 for the best equipped. These stars provide information about the quantity of equipment at the campsite but not its quality or maintenance. Therefore, you could end up getting better service in a 3-star than a 4-star. In other words, while all of the sites will have roughly the same number of WCs and water points, depending on the stars, the pitches will be larger or smaller, have security at night or not, etc. The more stars there are, the more showers there will be, the more tubs for washing laundry or dishes, electrical connections, etc. On the other hand, swimming pools and organized entertainment are extras, not included in the rating system. Prices are set freely: a 3-star may be more expensive than a 4-star.
- What do the quality labels represent?
The labels posted at the entry to certain sites provide information about the quality of the services offered. If you like your creature comforts, campsites with the “Quality campsite” label offer a warm welcome, pristine surroundings, precise information and a private, quiet pitch in harmony with the environment (www.campingqualité.com). The "qualité Tourisme" label issued by the public authorities more or less meets the same criteria (www.qualite-tourisme.gouv.fr). If you are concerned about the environment, the "La clef Verte" or “the Green key” label guarantees natural spaces, a maximum of 50 families per hectare, proper management of water, energy and waste as well as spreading awareness about protecting nature amongst the holidaymakers (www.laclefverte.org).
- Parc Résidentiel de Loisirs (residential holiday park): A residential holiday park is a special campsite (article R.444-3b of the Town-planning Code), accommodation that is halfway between a campsite and a timeshare. Fundamentally, it is intended for long-term leasing and not for receiving holidaymakers. They are rare (only 97 of them in France) and some sell a pitch (assignment of the plot of land), which is not possible in a campsite, while others lease it for a fixed duration (hotel system). The space provided there for mobile homes is larger than on a campsite with an average area of 200 m² per pitch. However, the prices are generally higher.
The dealers for IRM recreational mobile homes (details on this site under the heading “SALE”) can offer you pitches on various campsites in their region.
IV - AREA OF YOUR MOBILE HOME AND YOUR PITCH
When choosing a pitch you also have to pay attention to:
Its length: can you put any size of mobile home there (the longest ones are 11 meters long and 4 meters wide) or am I limited to a maximum length?
- The total surface area: according to the Decree of 28 September 2007 (article 111-7), a recreational mobile home may not exceed 30% of the total area of the pitch assigned to it by the campsite. Detachable canopies and terraces (i.e. they can be removed and are not embedded in the ground or attached to the accommodation) are not included. However, a garden shelter exceeding 5 m² or a fixed terrace that is not at ground level will be included in this 30%.
- In a campsite the pitches provided for mobile homes are not necessarily any larger than those for caravans. They merely need to comply with the standards in force with an average area for pitches of 90 m² in * and **, 95 m² in ***, and 100 m² in ****, with a minimum area of 70 m² in * and **, and 80 m² in *** and ****. Having said that, residential pitches often exceed the average required.
On a **** campsite, if you have an average pitch of 100 m², your mobile home cannot exceed 30 m². If you wish to install a mobile home with an area of 40 m², you will need a plot measuring a minimum of 135 m².
V - CONTRACT FOR LEASING A SITE
Before buying a mobile home, you should find a campsite or residential holiday park and draw up a contract for leasing the pitch with the owner of the campsite or residential holiday park. This will stipulate that the lease is granted on a temporary basis for recreational purposes only. Don’t forget that you are only the tenant of the pitch on which you are installed: your contract will generally be for a year and automatically renewable but may be renegotiated each year. The owner of the site will make the various installations in its establishment available to you (swimming pool, common areas, organized entertainment, etc.) and in exchange you must pay charges (an occupancy charge, water, gas, electricity, etc.) and insure your mobile home.
- As a tenant on the property of the campsite owner, as in any “condominium”, you must respect the clauses of the lease and the campsite’s internal rules. Don’t hesitate to request and compare them before choosing your campsite.
- Mobile homes are generally viewed as caravans by insurers with the exception of journeys by road. If the insurer does not have a “caravan” type contract, it may offer you an “individual housing” type contract. If you have any difficulties in finding a specific insurance policy, the French Federation of Campsites and Caravans will offer you solutions adapted to its members (FFCC: 78, rue de Rivoli, 75004 PARIS. Tel.: +33 0 890 21 43 00)
VI - TRANSPORT, STABILISING AND CONNECTING
- Your mobile home can only be transported as an abnormal load. That makes the process relatively expensive with the amount varying widely depending on the distance to be covered from the factory where it was built to the final campsite (approximately €4 to €5 per kilometer depending on the type of wideload shipping plus fixed sums for loading and unloading). As regards installation (stabilization, connections), its cost can also vary from €500 to €2,000 depending on the accessibility of the site. The cost may be even higher if a crane is needed.
- Bearing all these “budgetary items” in mind, we recommend going for solutions that are “all-inclusive, delivered and installed”.
- Do not forget that stabilization must be done carefully in order for the doors of your recreational mobile home to open properly. Moreover, stabilization and connection shall be at the sole liability of the person carrying them out and are not covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee for your recreational mobile home.
The IRM mobile home dealers (listed on this site under the heading “sales network”) are able to offer you a pitch on various campsites in their region, a broad choice of IRM recreational mobile homes and the possibility of transporting and installing it for you as a “turnkey” package. For any further information, do not hesitate to contact them.