A holiday caravan may prove the perfect answer if you are looking for somewhere to call a second home from home – whether for your own use or in order to generate a seasonal income from holiday lettings.
The purchase is likely to represent a serious investment, so the following guide may not only help you in your search for a suitable caravan, but also to suggest some of the potential pitfalls to avoid.
It might sound like a statement of the obvious, but choosing the location for your holiday caravan is likely to be critical.
Clearly, it makes sense to have visited the area in order to satisfy yourself that it is somewhere you want to come back to for repeated visits – and the distance from your home is likely to be a determining factor in this decision.
If you are hoping to attract guests in terms of caravan rental, you need to make sure that it is situated in an area popular with tourists and visitors.
Where to buy
It is not impossible to buy your holiday direct from the manufacturer or an independent retailer, but you then have the problems of:
- finding a park and a pitch on which to put it – since many parks may already have all the caravans they are licensed to accommodate, your choice may be severely limited; and
- if you manage to find a park and negotiate the lease of a pitch there, you still have the problem of transporting your caravan there – holiday homes like this are no small items to move, so the cost may be very substantial.
For these reasons, the majority of purchasers buy – either new or second hand – their static caravan already pitched in the park where it is intended to stay.
Similar care needs to be taken when choosing not just the location of the caravan park or resort, but the actual pitch within the grounds.
The most critical aspect, however, is to distinguish between a park that is for permanently occupied park homes from holiday parks which typically close for certain months of the year (usually the winter time).
A further difference between park home sites and those for holiday or static caravans is that the former are regulated and controlled through government legislation, whereas holiday home parks are not subject to mobile homes legislation but are instead licensed by the local authority.
How you use it
When looking for a suitable holiday park, you might want to bear in mind that some may be more appropriate than others with respect to the lifestyle you want to enjoy when on holiday – some, for example, may hold a particular attraction to families with small children, others might appeal to young adults and those in search of a much quieter time might opt for a park oriented towards couples.
You are likely to get a feel for the type of park it is when you read through the park’s literature and, of course, when you visit the place. Some giveaway clues may be in the way facilities, equipment, play areas and gardens are maintained.
In order to keep your holiday home at your chosen park on the pitch it is allocated, you enter an agreement with the park’s owners for the lease of that plot of land.
The lease agreement and the various rules and regulations through which the owners manage the park is an important contract which you need to understand very clearly from the start.
It not only sets out how much you need to pay – by way of a monthly or annual fee – but also covers many other aspects of your tenure, such as:
- the duration of your lease (the length of time your caravan may stay on the pitch);
- whether your caravan needs to be below a certain age in order to stay on its pitch – the website My Holiday Caravan points out that some parks may allow an indefinite occupation of your pitch, provided you keep the caravan well maintained and in a reasonable state of repair;
- your rights with respect to the park owners reallocating your pitch to another part of the site; and
- if you plan to let your holiday home, whether the park imposes any further restrictions, such as the age any let caravan needs to be – a discussion thread on Net Mums, for instance, reveals that when lettings are arranged through park management, there may be a stipulation that the caravan needs to be less than a maximum age.