Caravan owners usually comment individually to their park owner about issues that need attention. In doing this, park owners can marginalise complaints as long as one caravan owner does not know if another has the same complaint. This means that complaints may not be resolved satisfactorily from the caravan owner’s point of view. We understand that this is a fairly common experience amongst caravan owners.
To formalise proceedings you could choose to form an Owners’ Association. Licences also refer to fees under review as “proposed fees”. We are aware that many park owners attempt to set fees unilaterally, which is not fair - remember that your local Trading Standards Department is empowered to act on unfair terms and practices. You can always ask them to intervene for you to discuss any fee review with your park owner. Don’t forget that the NACO Advice Team is on hand for help and guidance. In our view, forming an association of caravan owners is helpful to both you and the park owner as common issues can be discussed and resolved quickly and easily by this means.
INITIAL STEPS FOR FORMING AN ASSOCIATION
It is helpful to have an initial meeting of a small group of caravan owners who are prepared to organise an Association. Bear in mind that a fair amount of administration will be required throughout. Once sufficient interest is shown, you should approach your park owner to see if he is prepared to circulate a membership invitation letter to all caravan owners at their home address, with an application form. This is a good co-operative way of working between you and the park owner. You need to nominate one person who will be the focal point for the return of the application forms.
THE AIMS OF AN ASSOCIATION
On the application form you should include the aims of the Association. Typically, these could be:
“To represent the shared views of owners and to work with park management to aid the development and running of the holiday park to the mutual benefit of caravan owners and the park owner.”
(Examples of the invitation letter and application form are available from us. The letter should also advertise an in augural meeting with venue, date and time.)
Obviously, it is very useful if your park owner is prepared to help, encourage and recognise your fledgling Association. In this respect, it may be prudent to remind them of the Adjournment Debate in Parliament on 2 March 2009. This was primarily focused on the regulation of residential parks, but helps to put forward a good case. In this debate, the Government expressed its determination for caravan owners’ associations to be formed and that park owners be encouraged to recognise them. You can see the debate on the Hansard website –search for Hansard online.
While the application forms are being returned, you will need a small group of caravan owners who will plan an inaugural meeting at which a Constitution will be approved and a working committee will be elected from those present. The meeting will then elect the main officers of the Association: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Secretary, along with any other posts you create.