Buying a Lodge or Caravan – Alternative housing options

Buying a Lodge or Caravan – Alternative housing options

In this day and age, there are many different housing options on the market.  One alternative to conventional bricks and mortar is the increasingly popular “tiny house” which can take the form of a caravan, trailer, and even a converted storage unit! In this article, we explore the legalities involved with buying a lodge or other alternate home.

These are all exciting, innovative projects to convert small spaces into amazing homes. If you are in the market for a quirky living arrangement and are looking to buy a lodge or caravan for example as your main residence, you may be wondering how this transaction may differ, or not, to the normal transaction of buying a home.  As always, we are here to help!

Another consideration is where you might park your mobile home. These sites usually require planning permission and a site license from the local council. Residential sites have protections provided to them by legislation which will cover both the site owner and residents.

Over the last few years, the government has done a considerable amount of work on this topic. New legislation was passed in March 2013 to address matters such as the purchase of a home, site licensing and the fitness of the site manager. Under this new legislation, a license for a residential site can only last for a maximum of 5 years once the provisions of the Act are fully implemented. Therefore, if your home is parked on one of these sites at the moment you will need to be sure that the lease is for the full length that you want to stay, or ensure that it is renewed, as you may find yourselves towing your home out of there!

Your solicitor will be able to deal with site agreements under the new legislation, residents associations, purchase or sale of mobile homes, and they can apply for licenses or appeal the enforcement of conditions if the requirements under the law have not been met. Further, if you require planning permission to park your home, your solicitor can help you to apply for and obtain this!

Living in a park home is surprisingly popular! Over 200,000 occupiers already live on parks around the country. Park home living can be a very rewarding experience and choosing the right solicitor for your purchase will help ensure you make the best start in your new home.

Buying a lodge as holiday homes!

You do not need to make the lodge or caravan your permanent home.  They make great holiday homes! You can go somewhere beautiful and sunny, but only need to travel two hours from home. They make great family, and even pet, friendly holiday homes! What’s even better is that when you arrive all your things are already there, and you even know who your neighbours are.

A huge advantage that a caravan holiday home has over a house holiday home, is affordability, and lower maintenance.

Lodges and Caravans as your permanent residence!

You don’t have to only buy a caravan as the purpose of a holiday home.  They can pose a great alternative to traditional housing, again having the major advantage of affordability.  Also, living in a caravan park provides a great community feel, as you will have a lot of neighbours all living fairly close to each other.

What’s the real difference between buying a traditional house and a caravan as your home?  They both provide you with four walls and a roof over your head, a home base, a bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen etc, you may think that they are largely the same, but there are still some differences.

The main difference is that with a caravan park home you will not own the land on which your home sits when compared with a traditional house made of bricks. Instead, you will enter into a license agreement with the park owner. This agreement will set out the terms on which you are agreeing to live in the park. The law surrounding this is fairly complex therefore it is advisable that you seek out a good solicitor to help you with understanding this transaction, and to guide you through it. This will also give you peace of mind that everything has been done properly!

The process of buying a lodge or caravan as your home.

If you are seriously looking into buying a caravan on a park home site, then please read on as we will set out the main components of the transaction. It is important that you are aware of what you need to do and provide as the buyer, and what the seller will need to do and provide.

Once you’ve reached the stage where you have made an offer on a park home, which has been accepted. The seller will have to provide you with the following documents, at least 28 days before your completion date, unless you agree on a shorter period. If the seller is unable to provide you with any of the required documents, for any reason then they must inform you in writing and give a written explanation as to why this is the case.

They will need to provide you with;

  • The occupation agreement/ written statement.
  • A copy of any previous assignments of the written statement.
  • Park rules.
  • Details in writing of the charges for utilities and services supplied to the home, including when they fall due and when they will next be reviewed.
  • Details in writing of all other charges relating to the home or the park, including charges for the use of a garage, parking space or outbuilding etc.
  • A copy of any current warranty.
  • A copy of any surveys of the home, base or pitch which have been carried out in the last year.

In addition to these documents, the seller must also provide you with the following information at least 28 days before completion, again you could agree on a shorter period if desired. This information must be provided on the Buyer’s Information Form.

  • The proposed sale price when buying a lodge or park home.
  • Details of any commission the park owner will receive on completion of the sale.
  • Details of the pitch fee, including when it is payable and when it is annually reviewed.
  • Details of any pitch fee arrears, and any agreement the seller has with the park owner for clearing these.
  • The park home’s council tax band
  • Park owner’s contact details including name and address
  • The name and address of the local authority which provides the park’s license.
  • Date agreement started and also date the agreement was assigned to seller if they were not the original owner
  • An explanation of the sale process, and how the home will be transferred to you.
  • A statement confirming the seller’s legal ownership, the home is sold with vacant possession and that all outstanding loans have been settled prior to sale.
  • Detailed information of any legal proceedings involving the seller in relation to the home itself, the agreement or the park

Both you and the seller must also complete a Notice of Proposed Sale form, which must be sent to the park owner at least 21 days before completion by the seller.

Once you have reached this stage you and the seller will exchange signed copies of the Assignment form which effects the transfer of occupation rights from the seller to you, and this must be done immediately before completion. After this is done and you are ready to complete, on completion you will pay the purchase price to the seller, minus the 10% statutory commission.

After completion, but within 7 days, you must send the park owner a Notice of Assignment which sets out;  your name and the names of anyone who will live at the park home with you, the address of your new home, the date of assignment of the agreement, the price you have paid for the park home, the amount of commission due to the park owner on completion, and the seller’s address.

Once the park receives this, they should then provide you with details of the bank account where they want the commission to be paid. Once you have received this information you have 7 days to pay. Make sure that you keep all of the signed forms in a safe place for future reference.

As you will appreciate from reading this, there is still a fair bit to be done when buying a lodge or park home, therefore it is recommended that you instruct a solicitor to help you keep track of all the deadlines and paperwork, to ensure your transaction runs smoothly.

Disclaimer – our articles are designed to give you guidance and information.  There is no substitute for proper direct advice, particularly as everyone’s circumstances are different.  If anything in this article may affect you, please contact us for advice that is specific to your circumstances.

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