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Habitation Checks for Motorhomes UK

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  • 01-09-2021
Habitation Checks for Motorhomes UK

What are habitation checks for motorhomes in the UK? We look at the reasons why you need annual habitation checks and discover what is checked during the inspection.

Do I need a habitation check for my motorhome UK?

Motorhome habitation checks are a kind of inspection service specific to mobile living spaces such as motorhomes and camper caravans. 

Chances are, if you don't own or haven't owned a motorhome, you won't have thought about it much, but they get a lot of the same maintenance issues that your house does. Namely, things seem to go wrong for no reason and need servicing. 

Caravans and motorhomes can suffer from things like damp caused by leaky water systems, gas appliances like the boiler can break down. 

habitation checks for motorhomes in the UK

Unfortunately for most caravans and motorhomes, they don't have the advantage in sturdiness or durability when you compare them to a regular living space. 

As such, they absolutely do need a habitation check or two if you are planning on living in one any time soon. 

When you hopefully do get a habitation check, the engineer responsible for performing it will go over a checklist of things to ensure the safety of your new living space. 

Like with any service, be sure to check the engineer doing the work is a professional and isn't going to cause more problems than they fix. They will check your basic amenities such as gas, electricity, water, ventilation, and other items in order to identify any faults or potential problems. They will do a damp check to see if any of the structure is at risk. 

When it's all done and dusted, I guarantee you will sleep easier knowing your motorhome is in good condition, but if I haven't convinced you yet, here are some other things to consider.

Reasons why you need annual habitation checks

Like I mentioned before, motorhomes will lose in a durability contest with a house. Combine this with the fact that you will likely be driving around in your motorhome on old and bumpy roads with potholes and such, and you can see where issues might begin to occur.

Annual habitation checks will ensure that whatever wear and tear has occurred to your motorhome, it hasn't damaged anything important such as the gas system or the water ingress and that if something is damaged, you can fix it. Trust me, the last thing you want is an unknowingly damaged gas system leaking carbon monoxide poisoning in such an enclosed space.

They say an apple a day to keeps the doctor away? Well, I'd say a habitation check once a year keeps your warranty in the clear. Most if not all insurance companies that cover motorhomes stipulate in their warranty that if the mobile home doesn't get annual habitation checks, then the warranty is voided. Motorhomes aren't cheap. 

Motorhomes that you want to live in for extended periods of time are likely even less cheap, and so if you want to protect your investment, you are going to want to keep the warranty alive and well just in case.

By getting a habitation check, you will be able to gauge the overall condition of your vehicle accurately. By knowing whether or not there is anything seriously wrong, you can make a more informed decision about what you want to do with it. 

Engineers who perform habitation checks regularly will be able to point out all sorts of things wrong with your motorhome that you might not even realize. For example, you might have a faulty water ingress system causing a buildup of damp somewhere you cant see. This damp spot would be the perfect location for mould to grow and eat away at the motorhomes bodywork. 

Or maybe your motorhomes electrical systems are damaged and represent a fire hazard that could pose a severe threat to you when you least expect it. 

Also, in the event that you are done with using your motorhome and want to get rid of it, having a habitation check will give you documentation to use as physical proof that the motorhome or caravan is safe and fit for sale. Having a document like this would almost certainly expedite the selling process, too, as any potential buyer won't have to rely on your word only that the vehicle is in good condition.

Identifying a problem early is the most effective way of dealing with most things. By paying for a habitation check, you will find things that are either not working properly or are starting to degrade. It may not sound like it, but this is a good thing. 

While it would be nice if during the check they found nothing, if they do find something, it means it can be fixed before it fails catastrophically. This is particularly the case with gas and electrical faults. It costs an order of magnitude more to have those systems replaced than to repair them, not to mention the potential for actual harm posed by something going wrong with those systems.

What this means is that even if you are paying money for something that might not be an immediate benefit, in the long run, you are going to end up saving money on repairs and replacement systems.

Avoiding the aforementioned catastrophic failure of your motorhomes systems is not just for saving money. The kind of failures that can occur in poorly maintained gas systems and electrical systems are potentially dangerous in a worst-case scenario. 

By getting annual habitation checks, you are buying peace of mind that nothing terrible will happen in your caravan or motorhome that will pose a threat to yourself, your family or friends. 

Is a motorhome habitation check mandatory?

Whether or not a habitation check is mandatory for your caravan or motorhome depends on a couple of things. How old is the vehicle? Does the vehicle have a boiler? Is the vehicle going to be let out to renters?

A brand new motorhome that is only for your personal use does not require a habitation check initially, even if you have a boiler in it. 

Even if your vehicle is older, you still have no legal responsibility to have annual habitation checks. 

This changes if you are renting the caravan or motorhome out to other people. Seeing as you are offering to let people rent your vehicle, you are legally required to make sure it is Gas Safe and that they aren't going to suffer the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.


Even if the law doesn't explicitly say you have to have annual habitation checks, it is highly recommended that you have them anyway for your own safety and the reasons as mentioned above. After all, nobody wants to live in a damp living space thanks to broken piping.

Do you need a Gas Safe certificate for a motorhome?

Are you planning to rent out your motor home or caravan? If the answer is no, then you don't need one. If the answer is yes, however, then you are required by UK law to carry and maintain a Gas Safety Record. 

This certificate ensures that anyone who is going to be staying in a caravan or motorhome that you rent out to them is going to be safe. 

If, for whatever reason, you don't have a Gas Safe certificate or have failed to ensure the gas systems and appliances in the vehicle are safe. Then something happens to endanger the renters; you are responsible and liable.

To get a Gas Safety Record, you need to have an annual safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer where they perform a series of in-depth checks to ensure the safety of your boiler and gas system. 

How long does a habitation certificate last?

A habitation certificate is a piece of documentation that officially declares a property fit for human habitation. This means many things, but the important part about this document is that you need it to sell a property. 

A new property will have one to show that the developer who built it has followed the necessary guidelines, such as ensuring the gas and electric systems are fitted properly, and it is safe to occupy. 

The certificate lasts for 10 years typically. During this time, you can sell the property without needing another one. If you live in the property for longer than that, you won't need another habitation certificate until you decide to sell it or pass it on to someone else. 

How much does a habitation certificate cost for a motorhome?

If you want to get a habitation certificate for your motorhome or caravan, then a habitation service is going to cost you roughly £200 or more. The cost can change depending on where you live and where you get the service done, however. The service itself should take at least 3 hours for the engineer to check everything, and they will need things like your keys in order to access all of the systems in your vehicle.

So to summarise, I would say that yes, you do need a habitation check for your motorhome or campervan. It's not the cheapest thing in the world, but it only needs doing once a year, and it's a small price to pay for the safety of yourself and your motorhome. 

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