Lodge Holiday Home Associations

What Are Lodge Holiday Home Associations?

Posted by Sell My Group in Lodges, December 4, 2019

If you have already investigated buying a lodge holiday home, you may have already found that there are more than a few groups set up to protect and uphold owners’ rights.  While holiday parks set up fair and legal contracts which should be read through in detail, there are some occasions where owners feel they need additional support.

Associations vary in terms of size and scope, but many can and will be formed at holiday parks and sites themselves.  Some bigger associations may seem more attractive for owners to join from the get-go.  However, you are well within your rights to set up your own association if you wish.

In this guide, we will take a quick overview of UK associations, what they do, and what you need to know if you are considering joining or setting up your own group.

Why Set Up or Join an Association?

Many people across the UK elect to join or build an association in the name of rights protection.  Becoming a member of a holiday park scheme means that you have access to a wealth of support from fellow owners as well as those who know the industry well.

It is not frowned upon to set up or join an association, though it is entirely optional.  Many people choose to own lodge holiday home without any such memberships, instead choosing to rely on solicitor advice if they feel they have a problem that needs addressing.  Holiday park operators are open and receptive to the needs and wants of their homeowners.  The best place to start when it comes to any kind of problem is to address your operator or staff outright.

In some cases, owners feel that they need the support of fellow holidaymakers, which is where associations come in.  While there are big associations covering thousands of holiday homes in the UK, it is growing increasingly popular for people to form their own groups on-site.  This is both for convenience and in the name of shared interest.

What Are the Major Associations in the UK?

If you have already started looking to buy a lodge holiday home across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, then there are a few organisations you may have come across before.

One of the major holiday home associations in the UK is the NCC or National Caravan Council.  This body represents all holiday homeowners across the country and works mainly to protect the rights of their members in light of changes to the law and contractual issues.  The NCC works to promote best practice initiatives, to support businesses, and to help owners access resources which may help them in their everyday running.

The British Holiday & Home Parks Association, or BH&HPA, caters to homeowners at both holiday and residential parks.  The organisation’s membership includes holiday homeowners and managers, as well as those who may own residential property elsewhere.  The main aims of the BH&HPA are to represent the rights of their members on a national level, appealing to government representatives and lawmakers in light of issues which affect anyone in ownership of holiday property.  Membership through the service will grant you access to resources and representation if you need it.

What Are The Benefits?

One of the main benefits of setting up membership at a national organisation is the access that such bodies have to the UK government.  They also offer a lot of support and advice on all matters relating to holiday home ownership, as well as legal advice where necessary.  Many people choose to ask their associations for advice on contractual matters alongside solicitors.  While joining an association is not compulsory, if you are concerned about protecting your rights, or would like to know more about what holiday home ownership entails, you can always feel free to sign up with a national organisation.

What Are Occupiers’ Associations?

The law and lodge holiday home ownership can get a little tricky to understand sometimes.  That’s why, at park level, there are also occupiers’ associations set up to help holiday homeowners understand their rights and their contractual obligations.  Known as residents associations at permanent residential parks, these associations have the right to legally approach park operators as part of a group if they feel that there are problems which need addressing.

Occupiers’ associations can form at any holiday park in the UK, and park owners and operators must meet with such groups if certain problems arise.  Providing that specific requirements are met by the group, a park operator should address associations concerning changes and the ongoing running of the park itself.  Associations set up on-site may not have the sweeping access to national policy that larger organisations do; however, they work to represent the rights and interests of all who own property in a given community.

Once again, occupiers’ associations are not compulsory for you to join.  In some cases, only a portion of lodge holiday home owners on-site will form an association.  Regardless, associations will still defend the rights of all owners at a given park.  It may be worthwhile for you to join a park if you feel that you need close representation, or if you would like to be reliably informed when any major changes to holiday home ownership are likely to occur.

Setting Up an Occupiers’ Association

To set up an occupiers’ association, you will need to meet a series of criteria.  Otherwise, a park operator isn’t obliged to meet with you.  It’s crucial, therefore, to make sure all of the following points are covered before you establish a connection with your operator.

  • Your association should be open and inclusive.  This means that you will need to keep membership open to everyone who owns a property at the holiday park you are representing.  You must not restrict any members for any reason.
  • You must also provide a public listing of all members who have enrolled in your association.  This should be readily available to view on request, whether from the park operator or otherwise.
  • You should also have clear rules and guidelines.  Make sure that these guidelines, too, are publicly available to read on request.  You must not secrete rules or divert from your own terms.
  • Your association needs to be completely independent of the operator.  This means that there must be no conflicts of interest, and anyone working on behalf of the operator or owner cannot join.  This is to make sure that representation is kept fair.
  • You must appoint at least three people to elected posts.  Your members should elect a chairman, a treasurer and a secretary.  These details, too, should be made public.
  • You cannot run an occupiers’ association if less than 50% of park homeowners are members.  Enlist more than 50%, and you will have full rights as an association. 
  • When enlisting members, each home or pitch is classed as one member or occupier.  Therefore, you cannot include multiple people at the same property as multiple owners.
  • You should ensure that all decisions made by your association are agreed to by vote.  The only issues which aren’t applicable are administrative tasks.  These will fall to the three elected members.
  • Finally, to be recognised as an association on-site, the park operator must agree that you qualify in writing. 

To Join or Not To Join

Many people choose not to join associations as they feel they are adequately represented on their own or through legal services.  However, there are plenty of reasons why people choose to form associations.  Associations are useful resources when it can sometimes be difficult to find information on lodge holiday home ownership.  Associations exist instead of legal protection, to some extent, however, you will have protection through any contracts you sign with your park operator.

If you do wish to join or start an association, it is worth discussing matters with your park operator and/or a solicitor.  You are never obliged to group together at any point, but you may find it useful to access like-minded support if you have a grievance.  Legal support is not always available – which is why associations provide feasible protection to all lodge holiday home owners.

Finding Out More

As a holiday home listing service, we do not host any further specific details on associations or on-site groups.  If you are buying a property at a residential or holiday park and would like to know more, we encourage you to get in touch with either the BH&HPA or the NCC in the first instance.  Otherwise, you are well within your rights to join an on-site organisation.

Owning a holiday home means you will be subject to various terms and conditions.  You have the right to representation, however, providing you read and understand your contract carefully at the point of sale, and that you retain such documents, you have nothing to worry about.  If problems do occur, rely on an association or your operator to help put things straight.