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Buying A Static Caravan Advice for those about to purchase a static caravan.

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  #1  
Old 22-02-2016, 12:47
nkcaravan nkcaravan is offline
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Default Buying an older static caravan (25 - 35 years+) to live in full time on a site

Hello, I'm new to these forums. I stayed in some static caravans on holiday last year and really enjoyed it, and I'm now considering living in one full time.

My idea is to buy an older static, perhaps something built in the 1980s, which can be bought for less than 1000. As long as the caravan is in good condition and cozy to live in, its age doesn't matter. I've already seen some decent ones for sale online.

I'd like to know what sites will allow me to live there full time(or as much of the year as possible) in my older static. Would it need to be a residential park, holiday park or park home?

I'm looking to live on a site near Skegness, Newcastle, North Wales or the North West. How much would it be to get the caravan transported to a site and hooked up to mains water and electric? What about site fees/ground rent, etc?

Basically I want the cheapest way of living in a static as possible. Do sites allow older statics on them? What about placing the caravan on a farm instead?
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Old 22-02-2016, 12:58
RRRob RRRob is online now
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You cannot live full time on a holiday park. there are some holiday parks with a 12 month licence but you still cannot live there as your only home. When you join a park, they will ask you for your home address as you need a home address where you pay council tax, gas, electricity etc to prove you have a "real" home.
The only sites you can live on legally full time are Residential sites but these are overwhelmingly designed to support Park Homes built to a special standard. You cannot put a normal caravan on there as the regulations covering residential homes have to meet a much higher standard that a normal caravan meets. Residential park homes are very much more expensive. I have seen them sold starting at around 50,000 upwards for a second hand unit & new ones would start at a minimum of 100,000 upwards. They are basically prefab bungalows. there is no residential site that would allow you to put a caravan on it.
Holiday parks make their money not just by ground rent, but by the money they make on a sale of a caravan both new & second hand. You would be very hard pushed to find any site holiday or otherwise that would allow you to put on a caravan of that age. Even sites that allow bring ons will look for a van that is no more than 10 years old or so. Then they will not just let you pay ground rent. Typically, sites that allow bring ons charge you a initial fee which would cover the money they would make by selling one of their own vans. Typically 2000 or so plus your ground rent.
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Old 22-02-2016, 13:19
nkcaravan nkcaravan is offline
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Thanks for the reply, so it's not possible to live in an older static full time as my main residence then? What if I just contacted loads of residential caravan parks and asked them?

Also, you say I can't live on a holiday park full time, so what is the maximum amount of time that you're allowed to stay in a caravan on a holiday park?

Finally, I stayed on Whitley Bay caravan park last year, which is a holiday park that rents out caravans to holidaymakers, yet there were also people living there full time (I know because I spoke to them), so is it the case that some sites are both a holiday park and residential park in one?

Last edited by nkcaravan; 22-02-2016 at 13:24.
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  #4  
Old 22-02-2016, 14:14
RRRob RRRob is online now
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Re Whitley bay, I am not sure if it has a residential section. Some caravan parks do as I know of one in Aberystwyth too. The trouble is, with the squeeze on local government finances, councils are receiving less money from central government and they have now woken up to the fact that there are some people doing exactly as you say. There have been people who were using holiday caravans as their full time residence. The trouble is, they use the local facilities without contributing to them by paying council tax. So now local councils are cracking down on caravan park owners and carrying out checks to ensure that they are not used by people living in the full time. At one time, some site owners turned a blind eye to people staying on site as their only home but now that the councils are cracking down on the site owners and telling them they could lose their licences if they allow anyone to do as you would like to do. Most caravan sites are holiday licensed only & have a fixed open period. For example, the site my caravan is on is only allowed to open from March to November & the site is closed from Mid November, December, january, February & opens again in Mid March. There are some sites that have a 12 month holiday licence, but although these van owners can use their vans throughout the year for holiday use, i.e. a week here, a week there throughout the year, they cannot have the van as their only home & stal there full time. Councils are now cracking down on holiday sites where people have been using them as their main home. There have been cases where families have asked the council for school places for their children, applied for bus passes, claimed rent allowances, registered with the local doctor etc, but these are now being stopped & anyone who is thought by the local council to be living full time in a caravan on a holiday park will be investigated by the council & stopped from doing so & the site owner will be threatened with the loss of their licence if they continue to allow it.


Many holiday parks now insist you supply them with a copy of your council tax bill that you pay to your home council to prove you really do have a main home and that your caravan is not being used as your only residence. Those that do not, will insist on you supplying them with your home address to where they will bill you for your yearly site fees & so they can make checks to see that you do have a main residence. I am not saying that the caravan park you stayed on last year or whenever was breaking the law by allowing people to live full time in their vans because as you say, there a a very few sites who do have a holiday section and a residential section but these are very few in number & those that do would be very unlikely to allow you to bring on a van of your own but would want to sell you one of their vans. Thats how they make their money. Site fees + initial sale of caravan + a cut of the money from any private sales on site. For example, some sites will only allow you to sell your van through them. they will sell it & give you the money raised from the sale minus around 15% of the sale price which is their cut plus a fee they will charge you for them to sell your van. So its not just a case of find a site & pay your pitch fee. You will either have to buy your van from them, or the few sites that do allow you to bring on your own would charge you the yearly site fee + a siting fee + a charge to allow you to bring on your van + the cost of a gas & electric safety check.
If you are looking to buy a caravan and live on site for lifestyle reasons i.e. as a retirement home and a nice quiet place in the country to live then yes its possible but would cost you tens of thousands of pounds. If you are looking to do it as a means of cheap housing, well yes there were a few people who did that in the past & I know of 2 families myself who did that, but those loopholes have now been closed & its no longer possible to do I am afraid. You could contact some residential park home site & ask them if they would allow you to put a caravan on there, but i doubt if you would find a site that would allow it.
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  #5  
Old 22-02-2016, 14:15
mick1950 mick1950 is offline
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all i will say,bluntly,in spite of what you think you know about "certain parks".......you ain,t got no chance.sorry to sound harsh,but that,s the way it is.
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  #6  
Old 22-02-2016, 14:33
RRRob RRRob is online now
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This part of my reply is separate from the advice I give earlier as I do have sympathy with anyone why may NEED to find cheap accommodation due to financial reasons, maybe through unemployment, or someone who has gone through a divorce or for whatever reason is having a hard time of things. maybe site owners & certainly local councils would not like me making this suggestion, but if this is the circumstance that makes you want to try to live full time in a caravan, then I could offer one bit of advice which is well meaning but please feel free to ignore it if this is not your reason for wanting to live in a caravan.
If you have a financial need to live in a caravan rather than it being a lifestyle choice, you may consider buying a TOURING caravan. If you have a car of course, you can then move the van from place to place. This has several advantages. First you can find a touring site that will allow you to buy a yearly pitch. I know of several sites in the area of where my static van is sited that allow people to rent a pitch typically having a closure period of one month. So they would open from febriary to December & just close for january. Some people leave their touring vans on thhese sites just for storeage and then hitch the van up to their car & drive to sites around the country for their holiday periods. But some people especially when they become older & no longer find it easy to hitch up a caravan & dont want the hastle of moving it, do pay a pitch fee for the whole year & leave their touring van on its pitch & visit it as many would do a static caravan. The rules covering touring vans are not the same as a static as they can potentially be moved at short notice. So you would probably find it much easier to get a touring van site owner to allow you to buy a yearly pitch (you can find quite a few advertising this on eBay for instance). Then at the time the site is closed, you could either move in with a family member for a month or so, or possibly find another site and move your van from one site to another so you continue living in it all year. Another advantage of a touring van over a static van is that although they are much smaller than a static, so less room of course, there is less space to heat and they are usually far better insulated than a static caravan. I have a friend who uses his touring caravan throughout the year. he does have a bricks & mortar home, but he often spends Christmas & the new year away in his tourer. He is currently having a fortnight holiday in his tourer now & last night it was minus 4 degrees outside and plus 22 degrees onside his caravan so he tells me & they were as warm as toast. So just a suggestion if you should need relatively cheap living for financial reasons.
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Old 22-02-2016, 14:40
RRRob RRRob is online now
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Just re read my previous posts. My touch typing skills are getting very sloppy I see! I tend not to look at the computer screen while typing and just rely on my years of keyboard operation to get me through. Clearly, I need to slow down my typing speed & concentrate & at least look at the keyboard or screen when I type. Sorry if my previous posts were difficult to read.
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Old 22-02-2016, 15:55
nkcaravan nkcaravan is offline
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Thanks again for the detailed replies, that's a lot to type (but it was all perfectly readable, don't worry!).

Re: Whitley Bay, I stayed for over a month during the winter, and the caravan owner was perfectly happy to let me stay the whole winter if I'd wanted to. They didn't ask me for ID, proof of address, nor any other questions, not even a deposit. As long as I paid them the rent each week, all was fine. I didn't need to sign a lease or tenancy and I could leave at a week's notice. There were other caravan owners on site who let their caravans out for the winter long term too, with no deposit or ID etc. How can this be?

As for buying an older static, if companies are selling 30+ year old statics, someone must be buying them, and if as you say sites don't allow older statics, where do these buyers put their caravans then?

The touring caravan idea of pitching it on a site for a year is good. Is that legit, do sites allow you to live in the touring caravan all year while pitched there as your main residence?

Do they allow bigger sized touring caravans (ie twin axel, say 4 or 6 berth with separate back bedroom)?

Another question, how would I receive mail if I lived in a caravan full time? Do sites allow mail to be sent to the office?

Finally, what about camper vans? If I bought one, could that be pitched up on a site all year and used as my main residence?

I am on a budget yes and I just want to keep my living costs as low as possible and lead a simple, carefree life without being lumbered with all the materialistic, consumerism that modern society forces upon us. Just a little caravan where I can live and have my own space to do as I please without being hassled, that's all I ask.

Last edited by nkcaravan; 22-02-2016 at 16:02.
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  #9  
Old 22-02-2016, 16:12
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eddiesolo eddiesolo is offline
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Most older statics are sold for companies to use as site office security, or for folk wanting one while building a house etc. Others are sent abroad.

I would say that you will be very lucky if you can get a site that will allow a van of that age on, and allow you to stay all year around. As the guys have already pointed out it is not viable for sites to do this, they will be warned and you will off the site + you will have to pay for disconnection and then getting rid of your van. They will not be willing to endanger their licence-it is difficult enough with yearly inspections by the council and fire inspectors.

A static, despite having one that is more modern with better insulation and is winterised still isn't designed for all year living, they take a lot to heat and trust me, if you get -figures you lose more heat than you can pump into the van, the gas alone will cripple you. Park homes are built differently and designed to be a permanent residence.

I cannot see any site offering you a permanent pitch for long stay either static, caravan or van without you having a permanent address.

Only thing I can think of is you look into the Gypsy style of life and see what they do and how they work it. If you can prove that you want the lifestyle of having to move around all the time then you may get that to work. As for stopping in one place year in year out, not going to happen unless you buy a park home-they are not cheap though.

Point to add that most sites will allow you to stay for a maximum of 28 days then you have to leave the site for a min of 2 days before returning to the van. This is so you cannot stay all the time.

This is a opinion, maybe a farmer is willing to open up a space for you and your static with his address as yours, how you will go about it regarding the council etc I do not know.
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Old 22-02-2016, 19:03
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As other posters have said there are a number of points to be considered.

I can't see any sites allowing you to bring on a caravan that is 20 -30 years old. They may already have vans that old but you wont be able to bring one on. On our site vans over 12 years old are either sold to other sites, scrapped or sold off to be exported to Europe. A van that old wouldn't be as well insulated as a newer van, your gas and electric to heat it would probably be astronomical, other posters have quoted using a gas bottle every 2 weeks during the winter, ours cost 57 a bottle.

Living on a site doesn't always mean living cheaply a lot of people find they cannot afford the site fees, which can be anything from 1500 to 5000 (or more) a years plus rates, gas and electric.

Living on a residential site can be very, very expensive. A site near us has new vans costing anything around 150,000 and many usually have an age restriction for over 50's only.

I see what you are saying that you want to live a simple carefree life but unfortunately this is not easy to find in this day and age, lovely dream but not always practical. Unless you have your own land I think it would be difficult to get a farmer to let you stay on their land for any length of time. What would you do about sewage and drain disposal, running fresh water, and electricity for your lighting and heating. Farmers often have to have planning permission to have a residential caravan on their land.

Many touring sites only allow you to stay for a maximum length of time, 28 days on ours. Again the fees can mount up for staying on a touring site and you still have your other running costs.

Unfortunately I don't think you will get anything worth living in for 500 to 1000 pounds, sites can make more than this to sell them abroad. Nice dream but sorry don't think your going to be able to realise it.
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