Purpose of this article
This article is for owners of static holiday caravans sited on holiday parks and for those thinking about becoming owners. It is to help you work out if the terms of your agreement with the park owner are fair. It does not apply to other types of caravan agreements such as those for residential park homes available for occupation all year. (You can’t use a caravan on a holiday park as your main or only home.)
Caravan holiday home agreements
The agreement between you and the park owner or operator is a binding contact affecting your future use of the caravan, how much you pay and what you get for your money. So it is important.
Both you and the park owner have legal rights and responsibilities. The agreement should be in clear language, so that you can understand your obligations and what you can expect from the park owner. The park owner shouldn’t use unfair terms in the agreement and can’t unfairly take away your legal rights. If a term is found to be unfair, it is not binding on you and a park owner can’t rely on it in any dispute. However, only a court can decide if a term is unfair and you should make sure you are happy with the agreement before you sign up to it. Make sure that there is nothing in I that you don’t understand or are not prepared to agree to.
For further advice about an agreement, please contact a consumer advice organisation or seek your own legal advice. There is a list of useful contacts below.
What to think about
To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, the terms and conditions of your agreement should be in writing. Before signing anything, make sure you have all the information to make your decision.
You need a pitch to use a static holiday caravan and therefore the agreement will comprise a contract for the sale of the caravan and a license giving permission to use the pitch.
It is important that you understand and agree how long your caravan can stay on the pitch. Is an annual license going to be long enough? A license of short duration gives the caravan owner little security, and when it comes up for renewal the park owner may offer to renew it on less favorable terms. If the park owner wants you to replace your caravan with a newer model, when will this happen? You should ask and keep a note about:
What is provided?
What else you have to pay
If things go wrong
The terms of your agreement should be readily understandable. You may be asked to comply with other terms and conditions as well. Take your time to read the contract for the sale of the caravan, the pitch license, the park rules and regulations and any other agreement, such as a credit agreement, carefully. Ask for time to read through all this and don’t let yourself be rushed into a decision. If you don’t understand what the terms mean, ask. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to now and what is to happen later.
What are unfair terms?
Unfair terms are those made by the park owner in advance, in an agreement that you have no choice over, other than to accept or reject as a whole, and that give the park owner an unfair advantage over you. A park owner has to deal fairly and openly with you.
Unfair terms are often hidden in the detail. For example they could
Terms should be clear and easy to read. Agreements should no use jargon, difficult works you don’t understand or over-long sentences.
If you think a park owner is using an unfair term to your disadvantage, or you are not sure about a certain term, take some independent legal advice.
What to look out for
Watch out for terms that:
Where can you get advice
Consumerline (Northern Ireland) – Tel: 0845 600 62 62 or www.consumerline.org
Citizens Advice or local advice centers – see local directory information or www.citizensadvice.org.uk
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Published on 10 November 2017 By Dan Ellacott