Want to buy a home of your own for just £10,000?
In these tough economic times, buying a home of their own is still a dream for many people. However, you can buy a used static holiday caravan from under £10,000, so why not buy one and live there instead? Specialist caravan journalist Steve Rowe answers this question
Well, the good news is that this isn’t just an attention-grabbing headline, this low-cost lifestyle is actually achievable; I’ve met people who have bought a cheap second-hand holiday caravan and now effectively use it as their main home in the UK. Used caravans can be bought from under £10,000 and even brand-new ones often cost just £30,000 or so. With static holiday caravan parks spread all over the UK, you’re not just limited to certain areas either, with bargains to be had in some very desirable seaside locations.
Now, you’re probably thinking, this is all too good to be true, surely? Well, yes, there are some very important factors that need to be taken into account before you head off to splash your cash on a static holiday caravan, or a more luxurious holiday lodge.
Can a static holiday caravan be by main home?
This is perhaps the most important issue; under British law, a static holiday caravan or lodge can’t be your main UK address. This is due to the way that parks are licenced for holiday-use only, plus the fact that owners don’t pay Council Tax like owners of traditional homes or even park homes. Owners of static holiday caravans need to have another address listed as their main residential address, with many people getting round this by giving a relative’s address as their main home. Others list a home in somewhere like Spain as their main address, with the holiday caravan just used as a place to stay when they are back in the UK.
Can I live in a static holiday caravan all year round?
Most holiday parks are only licenced to be open for 10-11 months of the year, so that fact alone means that owners usually can’t live in their holiday caravans or lodges all year round – many just head off on holiday somewhere, or visit relatives, for the period that the holiday park is closed. However, there’s an increasing trend for parks to have 12-month licences, in which case you can have access to your caravan or lodge all year round, but the law still states that the lodge or caravan can’t be your main address, so people who live on holiday parks all year round as their main home are technically breaking the rules.
Can I keep my static holiday caravan for ever?
Here’s another major factor that needs to be taken into account. Although you will own the static holiday caravan once you’ve bought it, you will only be renting the plot or pitch which it sits on, on a holiday park. Annual pitch fees can range between about £2000 and £5000, so this is a cost you need to take into account. More importantly, though, when you sign the written agreement with the park owner, enabling you to keep your caravan on their park, this will often include a clause which says that the caravan can only be kept on the park for a set number of years, typically 15 years – then it will need to be replaced by a new caravan. Park owners set this rule partly because they want to keep their parks looking modern, with new caravans only, but also because they often make a commission on the sales of new caravans on their parks. If you buy an old holiday caravan, but have no park to site it on, then it’s probably only going to be worth a couple of thousand pounds to a caravan dealer.
Can I rent out my static holiday caravan when I’m not using it?
The answer to this question will depend entirely on what you’ve signed-up to with the park owner when you bought your caravan or lodge. Some parks will let you rent your caravan out independently, but others will insist that you use their own rental service, paying a commission. Other parks may ban renting all together.
Are luxury holiday lodges different to static holiday caravans?
Over the past couple of decades, holiday lodges have developed as a new type of holiday living. Much bigger than a caravan, they often consist of a ‘twin-unit’ design, where two separate parts of the home are transported separately then bolted together on the site. Because of the much higher costs, most park owners have a separate agreement for holiday lodges, usually providing a much longer period that the lodge can be kept on the site. I’ve even come across some parks that issue 99-year leases for their lodges, so it’s rather like buying a leasehold flat. Again, though, a lodge on a holiday park can’t be your main UK address and you may not be able to use it all year round, depending on the opening dates and licence of the park that you have sited your lodge on.
To buy or not to buy?
So, it is entirely possible to buy a used holiday caravan for £10,000 and then ‘live’ in it, though you may technically be breaking the law if this is your main UK address. You may also be limited by the number of months each year that you can use the caravan, plus you will also have to pay annual pitch fees to the park owner. Static caravans and lodges are now surprisingly well built, with all the luxuries of brick-built homes, so the lifestyle itself can be just as good as living in a traditional house, with the advantage that you’ll feel like you’re constantly on holiday!