Are you living in a caravan and struggling to pay your site fees? This article explains how to manage static caravan finance and deal with site fee payment.
Static caravan site fees – What happens if I don’t pay them?
You should read through the terms and conditions of your lease with the caravan site to establish what their policy is when site fees cannot be paid and establish whether you should seek further legal advice. You should check what was agreed and whether there is any security against the van. It may be that you are able to remove the van from their site and come to an arrangement to pay the outstanding debt.
If you are in a position to do so you could try to arrange a payment plan with the caravan site for the arrears. You might be able to sell the van (if that is what you wish to do) to a local dealer, or privately, you would at least be able to get a quote of the value of the caravan today. Failing that can you rent out the caravan during the holiday season as a means of increasing your income to a level sufficient enough to cover the site fees.
Finally, if you wish to make a complaint about the site agreement then initially this would be to the site itself, you can request a copy of their complaints process and escalation of complaints directly from the site.
How can I change a payment plan for a static caravan on hire purchase (HP)?
If you have an HP agreement for the finance then the caravan may still belong to the provider of the finance and the only way to keep it is to finish purchasing it, either by paying the monthly payments or taking an alternative loan to pay this one off. If that is not possible then you may need someone to go through the agreement with you to see what the debt remaining may be if the caravan is repossessed by the finance company. You may also have site fees and other costs to be paid whilst the caravan is on the caravan site. You may need to speak to the owners of the site to see what their policy is when site fees are in difficulty. If you contact a free debt advice charity they would be able to go through a budgeting exercise to look at your income, daily living costs and debts to see how much is affordable to pay towards debts.
Please see our article on hire purchase agreements for more information.
I am facing bankruptcy, will they repossess my caravan if I am living in it?
There are a few things that may need to be considered to answer this question. In general, the Official Receiver (OR) has to take each case on its merits. Depending on this a caravan could be an asset, a dwelling house or a family home. Therefore it could be of interest in bankruptcy.
For the purposes of the Insolvency Act, if it is fixed to a permanent base, has the wheels removed, is connected to mains services, then it could be classed as a dwelling. A caravan that is a touring caravan, and therefore mobile, is usually classed as an asset. Also, any items which are not needed for your basic domestic needs can be sold, including caravans. If you contact a free debt advice charity they should be able to identify whether it will be at risk.
Can I sell my static caravan for cash?
Yes, you can. You have three options to sell your static caravan, you can either sell it:
- The park owner
- To a trader or dealer (off-park)
- A private buyer to remain on park
The easiest option is to simply sell your static caravan to the park owner. The first step is to find out the value of your caravan currently. Then you should contact a park team member and ask them if they wish to buy your caravan off you. The park team member will then make you an offer, which you can either accept or decline. The considerations they will make in their decision will be based on the condition of your caravan, it’s features and pitch position.
Another option may be to sell your static caravan to a trader or a dealer. In this case, you should contact a couple of dealers. Then ask them how much they will pay for your caravan. Once you found a good deal, you must then look at your pitch licence agreement. This will include information on terminating your contract, removal costs and any other important limitations. Once everything is agreed you can then sell your static caravan for cash.
The final option may be to sell your caravan privately to someone you might know. But you must check your agreement with the park or talk to the park owner to see if you are allowed to sell your static caravan. Once you have done this, you will have to write a letter to the park owner. This letter should explain your intentions of selling your caravan. Your park owner must know if you plan to sell privately, as pitch fees could be impacted. You could also be in breach of your agreement.
Can you live in a caravan and get benefits?
Yes, if you have low income or receive benefits you can continue to receive benefits while living in a caravan. You can also claim housing benefit to help you pay your rent or site fees. For more information on benefits, please read our article on benefits and unemployment.
I live in a caravan in Scotland, can I declare sequestration?
There isn’t anything in the law that stops someone from using sequestration as a means to deal with their debts because they live in a caravan. If you are not sure what you may need to provide as proof of identity or address then you may wish to contact the Accountant in Bankruptcy. They are the best person to ask on what is accepted.