Caravans are ultimately designed for ease of living and comfort, so it is no surprise they make for an attractive answer to a permanent home for many people. It is estimated that over half a million people own a caravan in the UK, and this number has climbed exponentially over the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the last two years, making the move to a static caravan as a permanent home, has become aspirational for many people. Most are led by thoughts of living by the sea, or other picturesque parts of the UK, and, importantly, enjoying some equity from downsizing their house.
Living in a static caravan has many advantages, and if you have ever rented a mobile home for a holiday, you will know the pleasure it can bring. Mobile homes are usually luxuriously designed with all the modern conveniences of a brand-new home. Most have double glazing, central heating and top of the range white goods.
However, there are many things to consider when thinking about this as an alternative to a permanent home. Primarily, there is a difference in the type of parks that offer caravans for holidays and those that offer caravans for permanent residency. There are also other factors to consider, deciding to live on a caravan site is a decision that should never be taken lightly. In this blog, we will attempt to explain these factors with a good degree of transparency.
Residential sites v Holiday sites
The UK law states that you can:
- Live in a caravan on a plot of land that you own all year round, subject to the correct planning permission.
- Live on a residential caravan park, with a contract agreed between you and the landowner. The landowner must have the correct residential license.
- You cannot live year-round on a holiday park as the license does not permit this. On these types of parks, some licences only allow you to stay for a maximum of 28 days in any period. North Lakes has a 12-month holiday license, which means although we can open 12 months of the year, you cannot live permanently at North Lakes caravan park.
Most modern Holiday Parks are awarded a 12 month licence, meaning they can open for the full 12 moths. The dates in which a caravan holiday park can open is at the sole decision of the site owner. They are under no obligation to open 12 months of the year, and in fact, many do not.
The only caravan park you can live on permanently is one with a residential license.
This means the council has granted residential permission to the owner to lease plots of land for permanent residency. With this type of agreement, you will register here as your fixed UK abode, and will pay council tax and utility bills here to the landowner. You can live here for the full 12 months of the year, you still do not own the plot or the land your caravan is sited on.
The government now encourages 12 month holiday licenses to help promote all year round tourism. Historically Holiday Parks were only granted an 8-month seasonal license and were restricted to opening for shorter periods. This increase in season length to 12 months has unfortunately seen some park operators take advantage of unsuspecting customers by allowing them to live on site which breaks then parks licence and puts those owners living on holiday parks at risk. If you are told you can live on a holiday park with a holiday licence we would advise proceeding with extreme caution.
As the government and local councils stepped up the policing of holiday parks, many owners have been found to be living on such sites under the impression they had a permanent residence license. We speak from first hand stories and do everything in our power to ensure our owners are forewarned and forearmed with knowledge and information.
Our best advice to you if you are thinking of living permanently in a caravan
If you decide to sell your house and move to a caravan site as way of downsizing and recouping some of the equity on your property to enjoy, this is possible. But it has pitfalls, and we advise you to do your due diligence. Thoroughly check the type of license your park owner has.
Remember, caravans depreciate in value after a few years. If, later down the line, you decide that you want to upgrade your caravan, you will not receive anywhere near as much as you paid for your caravan when it comes to re-selling. Bear in mind this will be your main living accommodation and you will not have another address to live at.
If you downsized your property and are enjoying your equity, remember, as your pot decreases, so does the chance of being able to get back on the property ladder in the future.
Enjoy a caravan as a second home
There are many benefits to having a caravan as a second home, namely enjoying time away in a town and location you enjoy. Our site is owners only, and we make updates every year. We have an open-door policy, so please email us, call us, or make an appointment to visit us.