Can A Holiday Home Be a Main Residence?

Posted by Sell My Group in Comment, March 16, 2020

A question that many first time Park Homebuyers have is ‘Can a Holiday Home be a main residence?’

Before you think of buying a park home, it’s essential that you know that different parks have different licences for what you can do there. You will find that there are some parks which offer holiday homes and therefore have a holiday licence, and others which offer residential properties, and have a residential licence.  Also, some parks have both residential and holiday licences!

But what are the main differences?  Can a holiday home be a main residence, or are there restrictions in place?

There is still a lot of confusion regarding site licences and what can be your main residence and what is a holiday home. At Sell My Group, we want to help clear up as many commonly asked queries as possible!  In this guide, we will look at what you need to know about the differences between residential properties and holiday homes.  We also consider the facts when it comes to staying in a holiday property, and what you can and can’t do.

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Vs Residential Homes 2020

Are you thinking about buying a park home?  Firstly, you need to consider which type of park is going to benefit your needs.

  • A residential park home is one where you have full rights to live all year round.  These properties are sited at parks with residential licences.  This means that you can register the home as your official dwelling.
  • A holiday home, meanwhile, cannot be your main dwelling.  Holiday properties are available at parks with non-residential licences.  This means that you are not allowed to use it as a main residence.

Therefore, when you buy a holiday home, you must pay close attention to the site licence issued by the local council.  The amount of time you can spend at any one time at a park can differ from place to place.  What’s more, some parks will also close down for a few weeks each year.  We will cover this in a little more detail shortly.

These points should be clear in any agreements you sign.  Before you buy a holiday home, you will need to prove that you have a permanent residence elsewhere.  If park owners find that you are using your holiday home as a permanent residence, you might be in breach of contract.  This means that they may have the right to remove you from the site altogether.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to ensure you read the terms of your agreement and check the site licence.  If you don’t understand the agreement or site licence, you may wish to speak to a third party, such as a solicitor.

Do You Have to Pay Council Tax on a Holiday Home?

Yes, but in the form of business rates, agreed with your park owners.  If you own a second home or a holiday property, you will still need to pay local authority rates similar to those for your main residence but in the form of contributions to your park.  Your park site owners should clearly inform you of your rates and what you can expect to pay each year.

However, if you let your holiday home to tourists or tenants, you may receive a discount on the tax you pay.  If your home qualifies as a furnished holiday let, you can reduce the amount you pay to your local authority.

The UK government states that a furnished holiday let is one which offers ‘sufficient furniture for normal occupation’.  You must also make sure that you let your property commercially, and it should be available for at least 210 days a year.  This does not apply to any days you stay in the property yourself.

You should also make sure that you advertise your furnished holiday let to the public for at least 105 days a year.  There is further advice on what HM Revenue and Customs requests from you in terms of proof through GOV UK.

Any rental agreements must be agreed with the park operators in the first instance.  Once again, it is always worth looking carefully at the site rules.

Holiday Home as a Main Residence

How Many Months of the Year Can You Live in a Holiday Home?

This can get a little confusing for new holiday homeowners.  While some holiday parks have licences for 52 weeks a year, that does not mean you can live there all the time.  In fact, it’s illegal to do so.

The amount of time you can spend residing at a holiday park will differ depending on the individual park you stay at.  This is something which your park owners will be very clear about when you sign an agreement.

A lot of holiday parks do shut down for brief periods, normally during the colder months.  That does not mean THAT you won’t be able to stay in a holiday home for several months at a time.

Using a holiday home as a main residence means never leaving the site.  Some parks will allow you to stay on-site for weeks or months at a time.  However, again, you must ask your park owners or operators for specific information on what they expect from you.

What Does 12 Months’ Holiday Use Mean?

This is one of the most confusing rules that holiday homeowners are likely to come across.  Twelve months’ holiday use doesn’t mean that you can use your holiday home for a whole year continuously or as your main residence.  In short, it means that you can visit your home, or let it commercially, at any time of the year.

Increasingly, holiday parks are opening up 12-month seasons.  This is because demand is increasing, and people choose to holiday all year round, not just in the warmer months.  There are some areas of the UK which are very popular with holidaymakers even during the winter.  For example, those parks close to areas of natural beauty such as the Yorkshire Dales or the Brecon Beacons will likely operate on a 12-month basis.

However, it is down to the local authority in the area to decide how long a holiday park can open for.  This is because these bodies take control of local planning permission.  Therefore, even if holiday park owners want to stay open all year round, it doesn’t always mean that they can!

As mentioned, some parks take the time to shut down during the winter.  Those that don’t are very popular with holiday homeowners who are keen to let for as long as possible!  However, some parks choose to shut down for essential maintenance.  What’s more, park owners often need to take time to go on holiday, too!

Who Sets the Terms for Holiday Home Agreements?

Park owners will be able to draw up their own rules and regulations for holiday home use and residence.  However, some elements of your agreement will come from local authority advice.  Their rates, of course, will dictate how much you pay to a park in terms of fees.

Local authorities will also be able to set terms in regard to the amount of time you can stay at a park.  Therefore, while you may be able to negotiate with your park owners on some mild aspects of your agreement, stay lengths and fees are generally fixed in place.

Do Holiday Homes Receive the Same Protection as Residential Properties?

No.  In fact, this is one of the key differences between residential and holiday homes.  Legislation passed through the Mobile Homes Act 2013.  Laws passed taking effect from April 2014 allow residential park homeowners to claim specific rights when buying and selling their properties.

One of the biggest changes in the new legislation is the fact that residential parks now need to pass further tests to be able to offer park homes.  It also offers residential homeowners’ fewer restrictions on what they can and can’t do with their properties.  Park owners, for example, can no longer interfere in sales, whereas they had a much broader scope previously.  We have a full guide on the Mobile Homes Act 2013, and how it affects all parties involved.

Holiday homes do not receive the same protections that residential homeowners can expect.  Therefore, if you wish to reside in a holiday home for long periods of time, you are at risk of losing out on specific rights and warranties.

What is the BS3632 Standard?

It is also worth bearing in mind that holiday homes are inappropriate as being your main residence.  The BS3632 standard is a legal requirement that all residential homes need to adhere by.  This standard ensures that properties can be safely and comfortably used on a permanent basis.

Holiday homes and builds receive no cover from BS3632.  Therefore, they are unsuitable for living in beyond a few months at the most.  Living in non-BS3632 properties is not only illegal but will also put your safety at risk.  In other words, it is simply not worth taking these chances!

Can You Run a Business from a Holiday Home?

No.  This is because a holiday home is, by definition, for holiday living only!  You can let a holiday home as a business, should your park owners allow you to.  However, running a business out of a property for holiday use is a completely different matter.

Even if you register for self-assessment, park owners will still likely have the right to remove you from your premises if they find you run a business from their premises.

living in a holiday home

Can I Live in a Holiday Home if I Lose My Main Residence?

If you lose your main residence or are made homeless, it is worth consulting carefully with your park owners.  While the laws on living in holiday properties are clear, it is still worth asking for support from your park operators as they may be able to set up a temporary arrangement.

However, this is not a guarantee, and you must still adhere to the rules in your holiday home agreement.  If you simply move into a holiday home after losing your main residence, park operators may still have the right to forcibly remove you.  Therefore it pays to be careful and truthful with your park owners.

Can I Register with Local Services at My Holiday Location?

This will vary depending on who you are registering with. Local dentist and doctor surgeries, for example, will generally need you to provide evidence of your permanent residence, not your holiday home.  However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sign in as a temporary visitor if you are ill. 

What’s more, there are walk-in clinics based across the UK.  This means that you will likely be able to walk in and receive treatment for minor conditions regardless of your permanent residence elsewhere.  You may even be able to ask for records to transfer over from your usual GP’s office.

Is There a Difference in Residential and Holiday Home Insurance?

Yes.  Policies for holiday homes will assume that you are not living at your property all year round as a main residence.  Residential park home insurance will protect you if, for example, you lose your home and you have nowhere else to live.  Due to the very nature of holiday homes, you won’t receive this protection through holiday property insurance.

In short, it’s incredibly important for you to take out holiday home insurance! Furthermore, if you are letting a holiday home, too, you should consider buying business insurance and public liability cover.  These will protect your interests when you start taking tenants in regularly.

Why Should I Buy a Holiday Home?

If you’re looking for a long-term residence to move to, you should consider buying a residential park home.  You should consider buying a holiday home if you know that you are going to stay in the property for short periods, or if you wish to let it out for profit.

Above all, buying a holiday home means you will have a fantastic foothold in one of the UK’s best-loved resorts!  For example, you may have a favourite coastal haunt, or if you want to take a closer look at the English countryside, investing in holiday property is a fantastic idea.

However, you should always make sure to carefully read through your holiday home agreement!  Understanding that you can’t reside in a holiday home permanently is a good start.  However, there are different rules and regulations for each park.  Therefore if you’re really unsure about what you are signing, make sure to ask for help from a solicitor.

Can a holiday home be a permanent residence?  No, but most holiday parks will allow you to stay for long periods.  However, don’t be ready to move all your furniture in as soon as you buy your plot!

Looking for more tips on buying a holiday home, check out our helpful blog on buying a static caravan here.

About the Author

Justin Allitt is a knowledgeable expert on all things Park Home, Lodge and Static Caravan, with over 10 years of experience in the industry.

Since creating Sell My Group, Justin has helped hundreds of people find their dream holiday or residential park home by connecting buyers with their perfect property, park and location. Whilst growing a reputation as an authority on the topic and a trusted source of industry information.