Here we offer you expert guidance on buying a holiday lodge, including the key questions to ask

Finding a park

Q: How far should I travel
A: If you plan to go regularly, pick a park you can get to within two hours

Q: How can I judge a good park?
A: Look for a park with quality graded symbols (stars). Inspectors from tourist boards and trade associations grade parks on layout, landscape and atmosphere.

Q: Should I buy new or used?
A: It depends on your budget but some parks reject older homes (10+)

The buying process

Q: What size home should I buy?
A: If you will spend a lot of time there, get a spacious well-equipped model. If you visit less often and like eating out, small is best.

Q: How much will it cost?
A: Most parks quote an all-in figure for the lodge and plot. You will also pay an annual pitch fee, priced according to facilities. Nearly all parks have mains electricity, water, sewerage plus LPG.

Q: When can I use my home?
A: Many parks are licensed to open from March 1st to October 31st, but some open for 10, 11 or 12 months.

Q: Can I sub-let my home?
A: Check with your park owner. Some parks will even handle the business on your behalf, for a fee.

Insurance

Q: Should I insure my lodge?
A: Yes, it’s a significant investment.

Q: Can I get a loan to buy it?
A: Yes, specialist companies will help. Pick up a copy of our sister magazine Park Home & Holiday Caravan for more details.

Security

Q: How to I know the park site owner is reputable?
A: Check your park owner is a member of the National Caravan Council, or the British Holiday & Home Parks Association. Members must adhere to its Code of Practice.

Q: How can I prevent a dispute?
A: Ask for a Written Agreement before buying and go over it with a fine toothcomb, making sure it covers the way you need to use your home. If unsure of anything, seek advice from a specialist solicitor. This is really important as, unlike residential park home owners, you’re not covered by the Mobile Homes Act.

Q: If a park owner wants to remove my static caravan or lodge from the park, how much notice should he give?
A: He must give you at least six months, in writing.

Q: When will park site fees increase?
A: The owner should give at least three months’ notice of price rises for improvements to facilities.

Build standards & structural warranty

Q: What building standards should I look for?
A: Caravan holiday homes should be built to British and European Standard BS EN 1647 and identified as such by a badge on the home. Top-end lodge homes built to BS3632:2015 will generally be described as conforming to residential standards.

Q: Will it have a warranty?
A: Leisure lodges should have a warranty too, Platinum Seal or Gold Shield, and although many manufacturers give a statutory guarantee of 12 months, some offer extended schemes for up to 10 years. Always check the conditions of these extended warranties, as some are only available from selected parks, regardless of the manufacturers extended warranty. Other schemes may cover all parks. If you automatically receive an extended warranty check with the park site owner, not the manufacturer. Some schemes are underwritten by an insurance company and may also have liquidation cover in case the manufacturer goes into administration. If a manufacturer offers its own extended guarantee this only applies while they remain in business. If you are buying a second hand lodge, ask if it has a warranty and if this can be transferred to you as the new owner.

Selling

Q: If I sell, will my park site owner get a level of commission?
A: A commission of up to 15% (plus VAT) is payable to the park. Never buy unless you have a plot.

Useful Sources of Information

National Caravan Council
T: 01252 318251
E: info@nationalcaravan.co.uk
W: www.nationalcaravan.co.uk
BH&HPA (British Holiday & Home Parks Association)
T: 01452 526911
E: enquiries@bhhpa.org.uk
W: www.bhhpa.org.uk

National Association of Caravan Owners (NACO)
W: www.nacoservices.com
E: info@nacoservices.com
T: 01255820321