All static caravan holiday parks will request that individuals pay towards the running costs of their caravan, as well as contributing to the general upkeep of the park in general. Fees often contribute towards things like:

  • Refuse collection
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Amenities (for example, if the caravan park has a swimming pool or other recreational facilities)
  • Utilities

It’s not unusual for holiday home owners to be concerned or confused when it comes to holiday park site fees. In this article we will discuss the running costs of a static caravan in detail and highlight the ways in which your site fees are typically used.

Understanding holiday home park site fees

Site fees paid at a holiday park differ from those you would be expected to pay at a residential park. This is because both types of park are used for very different purposes, and this is where confusion sometimes arises. The rates people must pay to legally stay in a property differ based on the amount of time you will be staying, and whether you will be staying permanently. It is typically not permissible to stay permanently in a static caravan holiday home park in the UK.

The details of what your holiday home park site fees will cover should be made available to you when you sign a specific contract, whereby you agree to abide by the terms and conditions put in place by the park operator. It is good practice to thoroughly read through those terms to gain a full understanding of what you will receive in exchange for your fees paid, how often you will be expected to pay your fees and what conditions you will be expected to abide by.

Let’s consider holiday park fees in more detail, as this will clarify some of the main bones of contention and points of confusion:

Am I liable to pay council tax at a static caravan holiday park?

No. Council tax only applies if you own a static caravan if is was based on a residential caravan park. Holiday homes are only used for short-term stays as opposed to full-time living, which means you won’t have to pay any council tax to the local authority of the borough your static caravan resides in.

As your caravan is classed as a holiday home, your caravan park should foot the council tax bill – although under the regulations, you are not permitted to use your caravan as a main residence, and it must not be your sole place of residence. You should only be prepared to sign a holiday home contract if you agree to these terms, and you only intend on staying in the property for short periods.

If a static caravan holiday home becomes a dwelling – in other words, if it becomes lived-in full-time – council tax becomes an issue. However, this is rarely the case, as most UK holiday parks forbid individuals from living onsite full-time.

Understanding static caravan business rates

While you won’t be expected to pay council tax on your static caravan holiday home, you will be required to pay a proportion of the parks’ business rates. These rates are agreed between the park owner and the buyer of a static caravan before any contracts have been signed. Business rates usually invoiced separately to the pitch fees, although often at the same time.

Rates will apply to your caravan ownership on any holiday site around the UK. They are set in accordance with the number of static caravans/lodges on a plot of land.

Rates should be thought of as a trade-off for not paying council tax. Essentially you are paying for the park to deal with things like refuse collection, grounds maintenance, drainage, security and all the other things your local authority at home typically takes care of.

Will there ever be a time when I need to pay business rates and council tax?

If it becomes clear to the local authority that you are using your static caravan holiday home as a permanent dwelling, you could end up facing a council tax investigation. If the council rules that you are in fact residing permanently in your caravan, you will be expected to pay council tax in addition to any park business rates you are liable for. This ultimately means that you will end up paying two sets of rates.

Paying twice makes no sense from a financial perspective. If you want a static caravan that you can live in, you should look for a residential park instead – this way, you will only pay council tax.

How do static caravan site fees differ around the UK?

Site fees can differ greatly around the country, depending on the type of park you have chosen, the facilities you receive, and level of maintenance onsite and more. It’s worth pointing out that pitch fees are typically charged separately, and this will be clearly labelled on your invoice.

Naturally, your site fees will be greater depending on the location of your static caravan. For example, if you purchase a holiday home in an area which is incredibly popular with tourists, you can expect to pay more for the privilege. This is because holiday homes in tourist hotspots are in high demand.

It can be a good idea to shop around to compare parks and rates. For example, a holiday park in the heart of the Cumbrian Lake District may charge more than a park in Shrewsbury.

Understanding static caravan holiday park energy rates

While staying in your holiday home, you will be expected to pay for gas and electricity usage. While some holiday parks allow its holiday home owners to supply their own gas via refillable gas bottles, others will use meters to monitor usage rates. Some parks may even sell refillable gas bottles onsite.

Electricity rates can vary from park to park, although you’ll typically pay less for electricity in your holiday home than you do in your permanent dwelling. Ultimately, it all boils down to what appliances you use, and how long you use them – just like at home!

Water rates vary from region to region, and some parks will operate via water meters while others charge via the rateable value of your holiday home. Some parks may also offer a separate “drain down” service, where the park operators will arrange to remove all water from your static caravan before you leave the site for the winter. This can be incredibly useful, as it prevents water damage and pipe expansion/erosion while you are offsite.

Static caravan insurance

Some caravan parks will insist that you insure you holiday home via their block insurance policy. Others will allow you to arrange insurance yourself. It all boils down to personal preference – some enjoy the convenience of having their caravan insurance itemised on their regular bill, whereas others might want to shop around to find a better deal.

How easy is it to pay caravan site fees?

Most holiday parks are flexible when it comes to arranging payment of site fees. Some may allow you to pay in monthly instalments, whereas others might want annual fees upfront. If you are worried about the fees expected from you, it can be beneficial to speak to your park operator to see if you can come to an agreement.

Other fees

In addition to ground rent for static caravans and business rates, you may also encounter other fees. For example, if you intend on watching television in your holiday home, you should be prepared to purchase a television licence. However, if you already own a TV licence for your home dwelling, this will also cover you for your holiday home. – unless you intend to rent your caravan to the public

You should expect to be charged VAT on services provided by your holiday park. Your park operator should provide you with a list of all fees expected from you, and you should receive this before you sign any paperwork. Make sure you read the itemised list in full to ensure there aren’t any hidden extras or fees you don’t agree with.

Clearing your site fees for static parks

It is imperative that you pay your park fees in full when requested to do so. Failure to do so could result in expulsion or eviction from the site, and the park operator could even take legal action against you to recover any fees owed.

It is never a good idea to withhold fees from your caravan park operator – your credit file could be negatively affected as a result. If you are worried about being able to pay site fees, you should consult with your park operator, and perhaps seek advice from a financial expert who could help draw up a payment plan.