Can I Live in a Static Caravan All Year Round?14 December 2022
According to the National Caravan Council (NCC), the caravan industry’s trade body, in 2017 there were at least 365,000 caravan holiday homes in the UK, plus an additional 159,000 residential caravan park homes. We’re willing to bet that number has increased in the last five years.
With so many people already enjoying static caravans, and more taking the plunge every year, there are bound to be questions about how they can be used. In this article we’re going to have a look at the laws and logistics of living in a static caravan all year round. We’ll explain about different types of parks, and the different standards that static caravans can be built to - and why these matter if you want to live in one all year round.
What’s the Difference Between a Holiday Park and a Residential Park?
In the UK, you can only live all year round on a park that holds a permanent residential licence. Most parks have a holiday licence, meaning they will have restrictions on how long you can spend there, and will usually close for part of the year. If you’re hoping to use your static caravan as a permanent home then it’s essential to check the licence status of any site you’re considering. You can do this by speaking to the site, or by enquiring with the local authority.
No matter how perfect the location might be, if you want to live in your static caravan all year round a holiday park is not appropriate - and in fact is illegal. To own a home on a holiday park, you must also have a main address where you pay council tax. As well as breaking the law the restrictions you’ll face include being unable to vote or register for a GP from a holiday park address.
You can use a residential park as your main location - but you will be required to pay council tax on this property.
Are All Static Caravans the Same?
There can be a lot of differences between different models of static caravan - and even different specifications and options on the same model. It’s important to understand the different terminology used to differentiate between types, and which models will be appropriate for all year living.
Here at Willerby we offer three different levels of home. What you may think of as a traditional static caravan, we refer to as a holiday home. These are beautiful homes built on a single-width steel chassis (usually between 10 and 14 feet wide). Holiday homes - as you might expect from the name - are intended for occasional use, not full time living. But that’s only the beginning of the Willerby range.
The next level of Willerby is our holiday lodge range. These are built on twin steel chassis fixed together, and at around 20 ft wide are substantially larger than our holiday homes.
If you want something to live in all year round, then the absolute minimum you need to look for is that the model you are considering is built to BS 3632 standard. This means that it reaches the minimum standards of insulation and space required for a residential home. Anything built to leisure standards (EN1647) cannot be used for all year round living. Some holiday home models can be upgraded to BS 3632 standard (at Willerby we refer to this as a Lodge Specification upgrade) - but that’s not the only thing you need to consider.
Many residential parks have fairly stringent requirements on exactly what level of home is permitted - and every one is slightly different. The only way to be sure is to speak to the park you are interested in living on. But many will not allow single unit holiday homes, regardless of the standard they are built to; they will insist on a larger twin unit home, to suit the aesthetic of their park.
That’s where Willerby’s Bespoke homes and lodges come in. They are designed from the very start to be residential homes. Every model can be customised to make it unique to you, and offers an experience more like living in a beautiful modern single-storey house than what you might think of as a traditional static caravan. If you want to enjoy the ultimate in luxury living on a residential park, Bespoke is the way to go.
What Are the Advantages of Moving Permanently to a Lodge or Park Home?
Buying and maintaining a lodge or park home can be a lot cheaper than a bricks and mortar home - especially if you want to live in an area of beautiful countryside. Energy bills can be a lot lower too, with all of Willerby’s models being incredibly well insulated and energy-efficient.
It’s important to weigh up the other costs when you’re planning your budget too. Although the initial outlay might be cheaper and you’ll likely save on your fuel bills, you’ll need to factor in things like pitch fees and park maintenance. These are likely to be more expensive than you’d be used to on a holiday park too.
Many permanent residents choose to live this way after downsizing from a larger home - often after retiring. Living on a residential park means that you’re likely to have a wealth of amenities and leisure opportunities right on your doorstep, and you’ll never struggle for parking either. Most parks have a great sense of community, though if you prefer to keep to yourself then there’s plenty of space for that too.
And if you want spectacular views and access to the countryside or seaside then you’re likely to be well catered for too. Many parks are located close to the coast or hills, with others being super handy for golf courses or fishing lakes. Choose wisely and you could be able to enjoy your favourite pastime every day without having to travel!
Can You Put a Static Caravan on Your Own Land?
If you want to put a caravan on your own land, you’ll need to talk to your local council. Different authorities will have different rules and interpretations, so the answer could vary depending on where you live (or where you want to live).
If you’re renovating or rebuilding a house and you want to live in a static caravan in the grounds while the work is completed, there’s a good chance that this will be allowed - as long as it is a time-limited, temporary arrangement. Always talk to your local council first though, as they will be able to advise on what you can and can’t do.
If you have land (or you would like to buy land) away from your main home that you want to live on permanently in a static caravan, then you will almost certainly need planning permission. The best way to find out exactly what you can and can’t do is to speak to the local council, who will be able to advise you.
Remember that whatever your location might be you’ll still need a home that’s suitable for all-year-round living if you plan to make it your main residence. That means making sure that it’s built to the correct standards and has enough space for your needs.
More Helpful Tips for Moving to a Residential Site
They say when you’re looking for a new house that the first three things on your mind should be location, location, location - and the same is true when you’re searching for that perfect park. Of course you’ll want to be close to your dream activities - maybe the golf course, a fishing lake or the beach. But make sure you consider more practical issues too.
- What amenities are on the site, and what else will you need?
- How far is it to the local shops?
- Where is the local supermarket?
- Can you get a supermarket delivery?
- Is there a pub?
- Do you like going to the cinema, bingo or bowling? If so, can you get there easily?
- Is there access to public transport? You might have a car, but what about when it’s in the garage? Or when people come to visit?
- What’s the nearest town, and how easy is it to get to?
- If it’s somewhere coastal, does everything stay open over winter?
- Are there takeaways nearby?
You should definitely have a good look through the park’s brochure, and check out any online reviews you can find - but make the effort to talk to the people who live there too. You’ll find out all sorts about day-to-day life on the park and get a much better feel for whether it’s the kind of community that you’d like to be part of.
It’s also really important that you have a good look around the actual model of home or lodge that you’re thinking of buying. Many parks will have some that you can look around, and if you’re buying a Willerby then you can check out current models at one of our showgrounds.
When you reach the purchasing stage, make sure you get good legal advice to make sure the transaction goes smoothly - especially if you’re selling as well as buying. And remember that you can’t take out a mortgage on static caravans or park homes. Finance is available, with plenty of options to choose from - but make sure you do your research and shop around before committing.
Living in a park home or lodge is a popular option for a lot of people, and with good reason. But there are a few important points to remember before you start making plans. If you want to make a park home or lodge your permanent home, then it must be located on a residential park (not a holiday park), and it must be built to BS3632 standard as an absolute minimum. You should also give serious consideration to the available space, and whether it will suit your needs long term.
Whether it’s a new idea to you, or something you’ve been considering for a while, hopefully you’re now feeling a little bit more informed and inspired. It’s important to do your research and to be sure that living on a residential park is right for you - but if it suits you, we think there’s no better way to live.
There’s lots of information on different models of homes and lodges - and different parks throughout the UK - on the Willerby site, so why not dive in and see if you can find the perfect combination for you!