Holiday Homes and Site Fees - a Guide

Site Fees and Caravan Parks – A Guide


Posted by Justin Allitt in Static Caravans, November 14, 2019

While we have previously discussed the running costs of a static caravan at some length, there are still a few concerns which people may have regarding site fees.  Essentially, all holiday parks will request that you pay towards the running costs of your caravan, as well as those which apply to the upkeep of the park itself.

Static Caravan Site Fees

The site fees that you pay at a holiday park will differ to those that you pay at a residential park, for example.  These parks are, obviously, used for two very different purposes.  What may confuse people, to begin with, is what rates they have to pay to stay in a property legally.  All of these details will be available to you when you sign a specific park contract.  However, it makes sense to know what to expect before you sign any paperwork.

Let’s take a quick look at holiday park fees in a little more detail, and when confusion may arise.

Do I Have to Pay Council Tax at a Holiday Park?

No.  Council tax will only apply if you own a property which is based at a residential park.  As holiday homes are for short-term residence, not for full-time living, there is no need for you to pay your local authority a penny.  In these cases, holiday parks will foot the bill for you.  However, you mustn’t use your holiday caravan as a main residence.  It shouldn’t be your sole place of residence, either.  You should only sign a holiday home contract if you agree to this and if you only intend to stay in the property for short periods or to let it to tenants.

Once a static holiday caravan becomes a ‘dwelling’, in that it is lived-in as a sole residence, council tax will come into play.  The vast majority of holiday parks will not allow you to live on-site, however.  Therefore, never enter into an agreement assuming this will ever be the case.  A park operator will let you know if there is any leeway.  It is fairly easy for you to prove that you are only using your property as a holiday dwelling.  Proof of your permanent address elsewhere will be more than enough!

What are Business Rates?

While you won’t have to pay council tax on a holiday dwelling, you will need to pay business rates.  This is agreed between a buyer and a park before any contracts are signed, and are included with pitch fees and regular invoicing.  Business rates apply to your caravan ownership on any holiday site, which are set according to the number of caravans or lodgings on any given land.

Business rates must be agreed on if you are going to sign and ratify your agreement with a park.  They are to be expected!  However, due to the nature of business upkeep and competition, they may rise from year to year.  This, again, will be clear to see in any contracts or agreements you sign.  A holiday park should also give you plenty of notice to ensure you are aware of rates increasing.

If you do not agree with business rates, you must not sign your contract.  Signing a contract or agreement shows a holiday park that you agree with any changes or rises which may occur in the years to come.  While you may not have to pay council tax, these are rates which will change, and which you will always need to clear.

Will I Ever Need to Pay Both Council Tax and Business Rates?

If it’s clear that you are using a holiday home property as a permanent dwelling, you will face a council tax investigation.  If the property you are living in is based at a holiday park site, business rates will also still apply.  You may, therefore, end up having to pay two sets of rates.

However, you should not live on a static caravan park.  If you wish to buy a property that you want to live in, make sure to look for residential parks.  Paying twice the fees at a holiday park makes little financial sense!  No matter how pleasant a holiday park may be, it is a good idea to look for sites where you can stay permanently, and only pay council tax.

Do Static Caravan Site Fees Differ Across the UK?

Yes.  The site fees you pay a holiday park will vary depending on the facilities you receive, the size of your holiday home, and more besides.  Pitch fees are generally charged separately to business rates but are clear to see on invoicing.  

Naturally, the more facilities and amenities you receive, the higher the pitch fees you will need to pay.  However, other factors that could impact pricing include the local area.  If, for example, you are buying a holiday home in a popular tourist zone, you will often pay more for the privilege.  This is because holiday homes in these regions are in increasing demand.

While the prices you pay for holiday property may vary from region to region, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a great deal.  You may find that you pay less for holiday park properties in areas such as Kent and Essex (See our featured Holiday Park in Essex here), for example, than you may on the South Coast.  This doesn’t always follow, though, and it is a good idea to take a look around and compare parks and rates.

What About Energy Rates?

As explained in previous posts, you will need to pay your holiday park for the gas and electricity you use.  Some holiday parks will run meters, and many will allow you to connect up gas bottles to your caravan for ease of use and replacement.  You will normally be able to buy these on-site.  The rates you pay for electricity will vary from park to park, though many will advise you could pay less in a holiday home than you would at your own dwelling.  It all depends on what you use and how long for, of course!

We should also include water here, too.  Water rates will, again, vary from region to region.  These fees are chargeable separate to electricity, gas and pitch fees, which means it should be fairly clear and easy for you to see what you’re getting charged for.  Some holiday parks will also charge drain down rates, which means they will arrange to remove all water from your caravan before you leave for the winter.  This can be very useful, as it will prevent potential water damage or pipe erosion while you are off-site.

Do I Need to Arrange Insurance Myself?

Not always.  While it can be a good idea to compare and contrast holiday home and insurance (click here to read about holiday home insurance) across the board for the best rates, some holiday park actually let you take out on-site insurance as part of the fees you pay them.  Handily, this can all itemise on the same bill.  However, depending on what you intend to do with your holiday home, you may wish to take out income protection insurance as well as public liability protection.  These will be an invaluable support to you if you choose to set up as a landlord.

Are Site Caravan Fees Easy to Pay?

Most holiday parks will make paying for site fees and services simple to understand and to arrange.  You will normally be able to clear funds for your home ownership in a single invoice, which will, of course, help to make things easy on you if you are concerned by the rates expected of you.

If you do ever worry about the static caravan site fees expected of you, make sure to consult with your park operator.  You can also ask for legal advice and help on contracts and fees through a solicitor if you wish.

Other Fees to Consider

As established in other posts, you will be charged VAT on all holiday park services, and you may also be charged for energy meter services.  Do also expect to pay for your own TV license, which will travel with you wherever you go.  Your holiday park operator will list all fees expected of you before you sign any paperwork, so make sure to read everything in full.

Clearing Fees

It is crucial that you clear park fees in full when requested.  If you don’t, you may be at risk of eviction or expulsion from your site, and may even face legal action.  On top of this, your credit file may be negatively affected.  In any case, it is never a good idea to withhold fees from a holiday park operator. 

If you are worried about your static caravan site fees you need to pay, always consult an on-site expert at your convenience.  Do make sure to take a closer look at other guides we have written to help you navigatestastic caravan buying and what’s expected of you.  Park fees and rates don’t have to be a hassle to understand, especially when help is always available from passionate experts. For further reading see our article on What to Remember When Buying a Holiday Home’.