to think about living in a caravan in a field?

(146 Posts)
OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 17:46:45

I am on HB with one child. Been offered one flat that smells totally of piss, on a housing estate that looks like something out of the Soviet Union, circa 1959. I mean open-air prisons look more inviting: low-rise, green spaces, plenty of facilities. (Those architects should be serving life sentences, preferably living in the flats they designed).

At least I could do a nice fry-up outdoors in the morning, like the gypsies do.

Flojobunny Fri 12-Apr-13 17:48:30

Why not just private rent since you are on HB?

YoniLovesChachi Fri 12-Apr-13 17:52:40

Is it either this flat or nothing? Aren't there other options, or do you have to take what they offer?

likesnowflakesinanocean Fri 12-Apr-13 17:53:14

can i live in a caravan too, i wont be a horrible neighbour and if i am you can just move. i live in ha everybody hates us and im totes fed up

kinkyfuckery Fri 12-Apr-13 17:55:01

Is going private an option?

KareninsGirl Fri 12-Apr-13 17:59:06

Nothing wrong with living in a caravan in a field. If you can stay at a friend's once every 4 weeks then it makes things easier legally.

I've considered it before!

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 18:00:40

Basically most private landlords/estate agents don't like HB.

I do feel very cornered with my limited options. A caravan would probably be one of the better ones.

VeryObviousBeforeNameChange Fri 12-Apr-13 18:01:40

why not get a canal boat. there was a thread with a link to one.

ShesAStar Fri 12-Apr-13 18:08:47

I once saw a documentary about a group of people who live in a forest together and communally make homes for new comers. They make the homes in the undergrowth and out of wooden constructions, they looked really sturdy and cosy. I wanted to go and live there but DH wouldn't hear of it. I still fantasise. I don't like conventional living much - it becomes very boring. I would do your caravan in a field idea in the blink of an eye, DH on the other hand wouldn't in a million years.

specialsubject Fri 12-Apr-13 18:11:51

most private landlords CAN'T RENT to those on HB, insurance/BTL mortgages don't allow it. It's NOT a matter of 'don't like', obviously it greatly reduces the pool of available tenants.

there are ways to live in a caravan but you can't just park one where you like.

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 18:13:13

This is how I've lived almost all of my life!!! YANBU! Woo hoo

usualsuspect Fri 12-Apr-13 18:14:11

It might not be as bad as you think, not all housing estates are awful.

We can't all live in pretty houses.

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 18:16:07

This one was bad, trust me.

kim147 Fri 12-Apr-13 18:19:04

I'd love to live in a boat. Or a nice big caravan. But I think they get cold. Especially in winter.

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 18:22:20

same here. im on hb and have had countless probs with LLs. most of them charge the earth anyway and hb has a limit.

im in a council place and currently trying to exchange as were underoccupying and im dreading where to go. many reasons.

think all the time about a caravan/canal boat. could it be done on hb and income support?!?

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 18:24:31

p.s. On a related topic - sorry my mind is racing here - just wondering does anyone on MN know a cheap storage company they'd recommend to store my stuff in??

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 18:27:20

Yeah, its all a load of b******s marjproops, but where there's a will there's a way so they say <alternatively optimistic and totally desperate>

Grinkly Fri 12-Apr-13 18:28:18

Problem with living in a field is that there is not electricity or water supply. Spose you could live with gas cylinders and water bottles but means no showers.

You could do it, but would prob be in a remote area of the country.

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 18:35:20

ohlori -love the name btw- the song?

cheapest storage is not cheap. do you have friends/family that can store things/

and refuse flatly that p***hole you've been offered, you have a right to, and they cant say its that or nothing.

I had the same, i was told it was that or nothing until i went to CAB and you can insist on a proper place.

if you have any medical probs or anything gps letters and stuff can help.

Flojobunny Fri 12-Apr-13 18:43:50

I'm on HB and have private rented in 3 different properties. Never had a problem. My rent is higher than HB but with all the other money the government throw at single parents it more than covers the shortfall.

VeryObviousBeforeNameChange Fri 12-Apr-13 18:48:29
lljkk Fri 12-Apr-13 18:49:58

Caravan = cold and very damp (major condensation problems). They just aren't meant for year-round use.

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 18:52:40

Caravans don't need to be cold and damp, I have never had that problem. And they are used year round by so many people without problems, its fine

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 18:52:55

Thanks for thread VeryObvious, will have a look.

(I'll ignore the more goady/nasty postings that are coming through sad)

kim147 Fri 12-Apr-13 18:55:54

I'd love a nice canal boat. Appeals to the hippy in me. But it would have to be warm. And have decent broadband.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 19:00:03

You install a woodburner to keep warm.

kim147 Fri 12-Apr-13 19:03:44

Woodburner and a canalboat.

Just gets better. smile But I still need decent broadband for MNing.

I've been thinking about this. Problem is, you need a bit of land to park your caravan on, and that doesn't come cheaply! You also seem to need planning permission for the caravan. If you rent a pitch in an established site you have to come off for one month a year due to council tax reasons.

DP and I are saving at the moment and it's a possibility though smile

Flojobunny that is such an unhelpful post. It is a problem finding private rents if you are on full benefits, or work part time. It's hard enough if you work full time with the housing shortage we have, especially in the south.

Coconutty Fri 12-Apr-13 19:08:42

Not a house boat - rats. <shudder>

lljkk Fri 12-Apr-13 19:13:22

Weird, I know several people who comment on chronic cold & damp problems when they've had to live in a caravan for long spells. Maybe depends on quality of your vehicle.

Some are better insulated than others, else can be very expensive to heat.

Dunno about canal boats, but I haven't noticed whether OP said whether her child can swim?

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 19:17:27

If you heat it you won't have a problem with cold or damp
Heat with wood, its free
If you do decide on this then your quality of life will almost definitely improve!

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 19:20:25

ShesAStar they may have been benders.
They can be made really cosy.

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 19:36:23

what about those cabin things? cant remember what theyre called now, you see them in seaside towns.

ShesAStar Fri 12-Apr-13 19:42:26

VerySmallSqueak don't ruin my illusion! They were not benders, they were eco-warriors with children and manual sewing machines and a love of not paying rent and council tax!

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 19:45:26

<giggles> bender TENTS ShesAStar!

GoSuckEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 19:50:20

kim, yes you can get internet. My DH works from home so he uses a dongal thing. seems to work fine for him

SucksToBeMe Fri 12-Apr-13 19:53:00

Op, I am in your exact position. I have lived in 3 caravans. All on traveller sites. Which to be honest had no travellers on, we were all working/HB/saving for deposit families. It was safe and friendly, I never locked the door!
I loved it in the summer but oh my god, I can't tell you how cold they are in the winter. In one I had the condensation turn to ice on the INSIDE!!
The rent was 500pcm and all other houses/flats in the area are 800+pcm.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 20:02:59

ShesAStar benders are a bit like tents,as MsBella says.

Usually a wooden framework with tarp over the top and secured with rope.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 20:03:51

marj.Beach huts?

Flojobunny Fri 12-Apr-13 20:07:24

I don't know why its unhelpful confused I was on full benefits and found 3 private rents easily enough. The first one wanted a guarantor (sp?) which my dad happily did. But the other 2 didn't. They didn't care so long as the rent is paid.
Local estate agent tried telling me the don't rent out to benefits people but I just ignored them and posted a note through the actual house and luckily the landlord picked it up and said that's fine. I've been here for the last 5 yrs and never missed a payment. Like I said HB is short each month by about £70 but income support, child tax creds and child benefit are more than enough to cover it.

tethering Fri 12-Apr-13 20:11:44

Modern caravans or park homes are great. You can get ones where the insulation level is the same, if not better, than a house. If you go to an established site (either a residential or traveller's park) then you'll have all your services including gas, water, telephone and broadband. There are a few sites across the country and most accept HB tenants.

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 20:15:00

very NOOOOO. not beach huts grin (mind you.....)

i meant they look like winnebagos without wheels and you can have little decking area and it stays in the same place.

think you fing them on haven holidays type things.

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 20:15:36

find them, not fing them!

ShesAStar Fri 12-Apr-13 20:24:19

I thought you were so un-PC! I'd never heard of a bender tent. I even googled it and still nothing came up about outdoor living!

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 20:31:35

I can imagine ShesAStar shock

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 20:53:17

Flojo, you know nothing about me or my circumstances, and your comments are neither funny or clever or helpful. From the nasty personal remark directed at me in your original posting, I think you sound like a right bitch to be honest. And from your second posting you sound like you think you are very clever and everyone else is very stupid. I suspect the opposite is more likely the case ... anyway I suggest you jog on and find another thread that is more in your experience.

OhLori Fri 12-Apr-13 20:59:28

As for me (hopefully that eejit gone now) its been quite an emotional experience being on this thread. I think I'm going to have to make some very difficult decisions in the near future and I don't feel optimistic about what will happen, but part of me is sort of past caring now. Anyhow, thanks for all the helpful comments and ideas smile

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 21:02:16

Well OhLori, which ever way things go, at least you have this plan to fall back on!
It could be just what you need in your life

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 21:30:33

Ohlori do let us know if there are other options and what happens with you.

Pandemoniaa Fri 12-Apr-13 21:33:20

They sound like bathing machines, marj. Although since laydees are now allowed to show an ankle at the seaside they've become less popular!
wink

I like your idea though, OP. When I was a single parent there were several times when I just thought "oh sod it, let's just run away and live in the woods". The thought of being able to abandon the grim search for affordable, conventional property was so attractive.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 21:34:53

Good luck OhLori

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 21:38:43

nooooo. im not describing it properly! they are white buildings, made of wood or plasticy type wood (!) and look like holiday cabins. some have little decking terraces. theres loads in skegness.

might be permanent caravans? without wheels.totally blank as to what theyre called.

theyre not small, a bit shorter than the length of a tennis court and a bit squashier than one...duh! totes blank. bit portakabin but white and slatboarded.

anyone have ANY idea what i mean?

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 21:41:50

Shepherd huts marj ?

mumtolilh Fri 12-Apr-13 21:41:50

If you think you'd like it...I say go for it...it's your life :-)

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 12-Apr-13 21:41:52

Marj, do you mean a static caravan? Like you get at haven and the like?

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 21:45:35

Ineed THANK YOU! yes, thats what i mean.

can they not be housing option? they look sweet. or are they just holiday homes or lets?

Tortington Fri 12-Apr-13 21:47:23

i know someone who has done this, totally makes sense - the site fees, gas and leccy, water, community charge, all in one bill - paying about £30 a week.

don't know if HB cover it though

and theres something about not being able to stay there 12 months of the year - only 10 or something

grovel Fri 12-Apr-13 21:50:24

My sister lived in a caravan in a field for three years. Bloody hard work but cosy in winter. GLORIOUS in summer. Better, much better, than 52 weeks a year on a grim estate.

littlestgirlguide Fri 12-Apr-13 21:51:34

My parents have lived in an 18 foot touring caravan for the last 3 years, all year round. I livec in one myself as a child for a year or so, with my brother and parents. It's not cold, and not damp, and not uncomfortable. They pay £50 a week to a farm, which has no facilities other than a tap and somewhere to empty the chemical toilet. It's not ideal, obviously, small, and having to fetch water etc, but generally pretty good. Buy the newest, biggest caravan you can, and the best of luck to you. YANBU to favour this over a horrible cat pissy council flat in a horrible area.

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 21:54:00

A lot of sites are covered by housing benefit smile

stargirl1701 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:55:21

A yurt? With a stove.

expatinscotland Fri 12-Apr-13 21:59:04

Most parks won't let you stay in them for 12 months out of the year is the problem. Some parks will allow you to live year-round in a lodge/chalet, but not the caravans. and you can't just park up anywhere.

expatinscotland Fri 12-Apr-13 22:01:40

I'd definitely do it, though.

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Apr-13 22:02:15

My dad lived in a caravan for two years and he liked it. He was only there mon-Fri though so I think that's how he got round the council tax issue- but I may be wrong. He found a site which let him stay there as a long term pitch, and there were quite a lot of others who were doing the same, though they were there seven days a week, not just five. I went to stay with him a few times, and even in the dead of winter it was warm with a blow heater thing. He and my mum have also lived on a canal boat- though that is a bit more of a pain because you have to move the boat every time you need more water or to empty the toilet etc, and because canal boats are so slow, it is sometimes quite a long trip!

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 22:03:35

aeven thought of a yurt (and only know what that is cos there was one on 'something special'!!)

there you go. olori theres an option. might look into it myself, a lodge or chalet type thing.

grovel Fri 12-Apr-13 22:03:52

TBH, though, my sister was (I think) lucky. The field was a paddock. The owner travelled abroad a lot and wanted someone "looking out" for his property. She was not supposed to guard it any way - just "worry about it" and react if anything went wrong (burst pipes etc). A great deal for both of them.

GibberTheMonkey Fri 12-Apr-13 22:09:40

Someone I 'know'lives in a yurt. He's built a trailer for a a bathroom and a kitchen
It looks fantastic
Ill find his blog

GibberTheMonkey Fri 12-Apr-13 22:10:37

here its beautiful

colleysmill Fri 12-Apr-13 22:13:01

I read a thread on another site (yes another forum!) recently about a chap who lives in his campervan all year round. He has seasonal work here in the uk and then decamps abroad for a bit. He doesn't have dependents though.

We also know a couple who live on a barge and they swear by a log burner. Have to say it sounds appealing!

VerySmallSqueak Fri 12-Apr-13 22:13:31

That is gorgeous Gibber.

btw, sorry to hijack OP, but if anybody knows where I could find a site to either rent a caravan long term or buy one in East Brighton/Lewes area please tell me! I can't work out how to find long term sites confused

marjproops Fri 12-Apr-13 22:15:09

gibber looks nice. as long as i could get sky tv and internet im made....and a bath!!

GibberTheMonkey Fri 12-Apr-13 22:15:20

I have friends who lived on narrow boat. She loved it for about three years and then started to find it frustrating

I think you know if you've got the right headspace for that kind of living

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 12-Apr-13 22:17:43

Glad to be of assistance marj grin

lollilou Sat 13-Apr-13 10:01:08

marjproops Park Homes. Like caravans but more sturdy.smile. Usually only for over 50's though.

Flojobunny Sat 13-Apr-13 13:56:07

OP why are you being so hostile? I haven't the foggiest what I have said to offend you. My advice is genuine. Most people rule out private renting as they assume they can't get it when in fact they can. Very strange that you are so defensive when I was share a similar experience with you.
sad that I took the time to share such personal things and you use it against me.

shockers Sat 13-Apr-13 14:16:37

I have to admit that I'm mystified by that too Flo.

I'm sure it could be done with enough research OP. I find yurts to be warmer than caravans in winter, although my experience doesn't go beyond a week at a time!

Flojobunny Sat 13-Apr-13 14:26:23

I didn't put anything personal about OP confused neither has anyone else so can't have got me mixed up with another post.
Just so you know OP, I have been on MN for a few yrs and have many posts about my issues as a single parent so obviously genuine.

ModernToss Sat 13-Apr-13 14:45:03

It was this:

with all the other money the government throw at single parents it more than covers the shortfall.

I don't know how you meant it to sound, but it didn't come over well.

TiggyD Sat 13-Apr-13 14:47:49

Caravans (static) are freezing in the spring. I've borrowed one in April a couple of times. Goodness knows what they're like in the winter.

I want a narrowboat. A nice wide one parked ("Moored" I believe) on a canal in the country.

GoSuckEggs Sat 13-Apr-13 15:26:39

tiggy, our narrowboat is for sale, buy it and you can moor it where ever you want!! ( you cant have a wide narrow boat grin they are called widebeams)

TiggyD Sat 13-Apr-13 15:30:06

I knew about widebeams. I have window shopped for them before. <sigh>

Does your boat come with a cap that says "Captain" on it?

GoSuckEggs Sat 13-Apr-13 17:08:09

I will personally go and get you one if you buy it! wink

Flojobunny Sat 13-Apr-13 17:19:37

Ah ok, tis true though. I know a lot of people don't view it that way. But I spent years struggling, scrimping and scraping then when I became a single parent I was shocked at how much better off I was with income support, child tax creds, HB and CTB, and all the little bits like school meals, milk vouchers and cold weather payments. But I know its all dependant on life style.
I didn't mean it arsey, I meant it to give OP a boost, not to be worried about making ends meet just because she's on benefits etc and to reassure her that not all LLs are discriminatory.

Dominodonkey Sat 13-Apr-13 18:17:54

flojo You committed the MN cardinal sin of suggesting that some people on benefits aren't sitting in the dark with blankets around them eating 1/2 a cream cracker for lunch...

What you said made perfect sense to me but some people love to be offended.

Flojobunny Sat 13-Apr-13 18:55:10

Ah, I've been here yrs but still manage to put my foot in it.

LittleEdie Sat 13-Apr-13 19:33:17

The HB people don't tell your landlord that you're claiming - so how are they to know?

GibberTheMonkey Sat 13-Apr-13 21:56:43

Gosuckeggs
How many berths/heads? What length?
<dreams>

GoSuckEggs Sat 13-Apr-13 22:11:08

gibber - 70ft. 2 fixed berths, but room for another 4, perhaps more!

GibberTheMonkey Sat 13-Apr-13 22:14:33

I can't afford a boat
I don't need a boat
I can't afford a boat
I don't need a boat
I can't afford a boat
I don't need a boat

spottyblanket Sat 13-Apr-13 22:23:28

I lived in a caravan for 2 years. On a farm, a beautiful secenic spot with panoramic views, parked under a big oak tree next to a stream. It was plumbed in for water with a toilet in a little wooden shed at the top of the field. Loved it. Wood burner is a must-have. Get one and you'll spend winter in a tshirt with the door wide open it gets so hot. Quality caravan a must, mine was old & after 2 years suffered from condensation = damp, so left then. To avoid the 10 month rule the farmer would "move" my caravan by a foot.

I'd choose a caravan again rather than bring my children up in a bad place.

Problem with HB is that most letting agents want to know your finances, so you do have to declare if you are on IS etc. Best bet is to save if you can and offer, say, 3 months rent in advance. Money talks, always.

spotty: how did you manage to find somebody to let you keep the caravan on their land?

GoSuckEggs Sat 13-Apr-13 23:14:04

everyone needs a boat!!!! go on!!!! wink

Gosuck: I've been looking at boats too actually, but there aren't many down here sad In fact, there are two, one at Brighton Marina and one in shoreham, both owned by the same person and they want you to 'co-own' but don't want you to pay for more than 50% of the boat hmm And the toilets/showers are 50m away. No thank you! I'd totally go for a narrowboat, not sure where to start looking though confused

shockers Sun 14-Apr-13 17:19:46

Spotty, that sounds idyllic. I secretly hanker after a life like that, but DH is a wimp.

Lilly3000 Sun 14-Apr-13 17:32:37

I used to live on boat. Best place I ever lived ( bearing in mind I now live in the equivalent of a Boden wet dream, that's saying something.) Bite the bullet and do it. You won't regret it.

GoSuckEggs Sun 14-Apr-13 18:13:32

confusedpixie Have a look at our boat! Here she is!

You would have to move her down yourself, but it is a great way to get to know your boat! our boat come with everything to enable you to live-aboard straight away.

kim147 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:19:10

Looks lovely. I could sell the house, pay off mortgage and debts and still have change.

<Tempted>

VerySmallSqueak Sun 14-Apr-13 18:24:35

I would buy it like a shot if I had more than £8.74 precisely.
Can we do a deal??

I have a photo of a narrowboat in a frame that I keep by my desk.
I love to look and daydream.

One day.
One day......

whokilleddannylatimer Sun 14-Apr-13 18:37:04

Oh gosh I would so do this.

My parents have lived in same house thirty five years. I have lived in years one different towns since I was 18, am now early thirties. My great great Nan used to move alot and get itchy feet and I am same. If it wasn't for older dc in school I would still go!

I was sat looking at a wood cabin in Menorca by the sea for much less than my crappy flat.

whokilleddannylatimer Sun 14-Apr-13 18:39:22

Years one should say nine different towns blush

ZolaBuddleia Sun 14-Apr-13 18:51:56

I love the boat idea. How realistic is a narrowboat with a child and a tall DP? Are they too small for a washer etc? Would I worry about DD falling in all the time?

Apologies for the hijack.

kim147 Sun 14-Apr-13 18:57:40

I think I've found the flaw. DS likes bouncing on the bed. So he'll go through the roof or rock the boat.

GibberTheMonkey Sun 14-Apr-13 19:01:29

I too love the idea if a boat. I met dh in the canal and we honeymooned afloat but I couldn't face the idea with four young children.
We have threatened them with moving afloat when they all move out and we'll land in them in each Christmas in turn.

infamouspoo Sun 14-Apr-13 19:01:48

does the boat come with a berth though? I always heard that was the main issue.

GoSuckEggs Sun 14-Apr-13 20:30:26

HERE IS MY FLOG A BOAT THREAD!

VerySmallSqueak you get a boat mortgage! we could do a deal....

ZolaBuddleia loads of children on boats, they love it. i have never heard of one going in!
my dad is 6ft4 and he has head room probably couldn't jump tho!
We have a washer/dryer on board, as do lots of others.

kim DS could bounce and bounce to his hearts content! It is all steel, so perhaps a bump or two at worse! wink

GibberTheMonkey i actually know someone with 6 children, expecting a 7th on a 46ft boat!!!! shock

infamouspoo yes it comes with 2 berths, but the way we have designed the boat you can easily fit 4 more berths. our boat used to be a hire boat and in its day it actually slept 12!!
i suspect you mean mooring? where the boat lives? mooring are easy enough to get hold of.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 14-Apr-13 20:38:09

I've joined in on your other thread!

Looking at boats for sale, they're pretty much all bigger than my house.

shock I love your boat! It's amazing! I wish I had the money and I'm not just saying that! Not sure where you can park one down Brighton way though, we saw three at the Marina but haven't worked out how the hell they managed to get there!

I don't get canal costings though, do you pay to moor? What about bills/water useage/etc? confused

NettleTea Sun 14-Apr-13 20:52:14

a decent caravan would be good, we have someone near us living in a converted horsebox with solar power and a woodburner. Yurts are great my friend lived in one in Wales for 5 years. Perhaps get involved in WWOOFing - travel around and get board and food in exchange for work on farms - or look into communal living here there are lots of options for an alternative to the rathole/shoebox living

I lived in a large caravan for eighteen months. I loved it. No running water or loo but it was on my dads farm, so I used his facilities. I was young and without child then too.

It was the happiest time in my life. <wistful sigh>

In winter, I had an oil filled radiator, which threw the heat out. Also extra thick duvet and electric blanket.

I'd do it again if I could find one big enough for me and my boy, in a lovely spot.

GoSuckEggs Sun 14-Apr-13 20:56:24

pixie marine finance.... i am not sure, you would need to do some research! you can move them by road, not cheap but can be done. I am not sure how to get it down via the waterways!

yes you pay to moor in a marina but you do not have to live in a marina. We did and did not enjoy it. We love living on the tow path!

NO BILLS!!. the only thing you have to pay for ( obviously apart from the boat!) is a licence. for our boat that is £1000 a year. that is it. You get water from either the marina where you live or from certain points along the canal. it is included in you licence!

Mimishimi Mon 15-Apr-13 04:17:14

YANBU but I would think twice about the romantic appeal of it. You usually can't just pull up anywhere you like, you usually have to rent a space at an established site unless some kind farmer allows you to stay on. I don't know if you have to be a member of an established traveller family to get a spot at an 'official' traveller's site, you would have to check up on that. Usually those sites are privately owned by travelling families. Any any rate, probably wouldn't be too keen on non-travellers being there. It gets cold in winter and the older vans get pretty hot in summer. They can be a bit of a fire hazard too at times. The new vans can be very expensive. Cooking outdoors sounds romantic but washing up is a royal PITA especially at night-time. You often get yobs who threaten to burn up your van etc depending on which part of the country you go to and, if you're single, middle-class sleazes who think you must be up for a 'good time' because you're not settled folk.

All that said, it can be a really good option if you want to get off benefits and plan on moving around getting seasonal work. It's also easier now with the amount of stuff you can just have on your computer instead of having to store - books, music, movies etc. Good luck.

Bertrude Mon 15-Apr-13 05:57:23

OP YANBU - I can completely see the appeal of that over living somewhere not nice.

However, GoSuckEggs is being highly unreasonable in posting about buying a boat, because husband has been trying to convince me for ages that we need a canal boat. We live abroad and he thinks a canal boat or a static caravan would be a better option than a cheap house back home. And now you've posted that, I'm browsing. Damn you, GoSuckEggs!

infamouspoo Mon 15-Apr-13 08:31:08

I did mean mooring blush I asked cos I heard the waterways people hate liveaboards. But I was thinking 'Ooooo, escape from hubby and spawn....' but where would it live in between times? And how would a wheelchair get on board?
And how does broadband work? If I had one spawn or they were all about to shove off and leave home the whole boat/caravan idea would be ideal and I'd do it in a heartbeat.

aufaniae Mon 15-Apr-13 08:50:42

Boats are really expensive though aren't they? My friend looked into it seriously about 15 years ago, and IIRC the decent ones cost £20k+ and then there's mooring fees etc.

Flojo what was insulting about your posts was the assumption that because you've found it easy, everyone else will too. You have been very lucky, it's simply not the experience of many people on HB that private renting is an option. I helped a friend on HB with her flat search (I won't go into the whys and wherefores, but she needed help and I basically spent 6 weeks doing the search for her). I must have enquired about 200+ flats and only found one which would accept HB. It was on a road with a reputation for being very rough (crack dealing and groups of men hanging about on the street at night). She took it anyway but in the 3 days before she moved in, the ceiling caved in!

So, making comments like it's so easy ignores the fact that people may have had a different experience to you, it's not for want of trying!

aufaniae Mon 15-Apr-13 09:17:25

OhLori, would you consider a house share, (perhaps with another mum?) until recently DP, DS and I shared with others. It suited us as we like having people around, and preferred to share and live in a large house than pay more for a poky place with just the 3 of us.

It might be possible to find another mum who wants to look for a place together. You still have the problem of finding a LL who accepts HB but it would widen your options.

If you think it might be an option let me know and I'll post links to the websites we used to find flatmates.

Roughly whereabouts do you live btw? It's worth looking into whether there are any housing associations / coops etc in your area that might put you on their waiting lists. Not an immediate solution but possibly helpful for the future.

What you really need is a private LL who's happy to rent to you, or possibly someone with a nice bit of land who would welcome you and a caravan! IME this kind of thing often happens on a word of mouth or more personal basis than ads in a paper. Do you have green / arty or hippyish cafes / community spaces near you? The notice boards in these kinds of places often have rooms to rent IME and you can put up wanted signs too. For a flat and/or a caravan! Perhaps you might be lucky and find a place which accept HB.

Thinking more laterally, have you got a degree? If you have any desire at all to get one, now might be a good time. I am currently studying, we get 80% of childcare paid in term time. Some unis have family rooms in halls. (ours doesn't, hence the house sharing.) It's not easy financially and being a parent and studying is bloody hard work (forget any idea of a social life, reading books or even watching TV for pleasure! You need to be dedicated) but might be a way out of your current situation.
I'm not suggesting you be a student just to get a place, but if it's something you'd like to do anyway, now could be a good time. I've loved being a student again.

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 09:59:08

Bertrude YOU DO NEED A BOAT!! Your DH is spot on. You dont need to browse you need to get your butt over to my thread and buy my boat!! grin here you are

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 10:03:33

imfamouspoo you can get boats that are adapted for wheelchairs! live aboard all year! its great. for internet you need a dongle.
Waterways hate people that take the piss and leave mess and distruction where ever they have been!

So if you are on a mooring then you can stay there allthe time. if you do not have a mooring then you move about where ever you like!

aufaniae our boat is worth around 45k. but that is a LOT cheaper then a house!

aufaniae Mon 15-Apr-13 10:56:52

Oh yes, definitely cheaper than a house. But probably not an option for most people claiming HB!

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 11:05:46

from what i understand housing benefit will pay a marina and rentig costs....

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 12:39:20

Yes, but how many are going to rent out their boat to someone on HB? A person on benefits doesn't have a pot of money sitting around to buy a boat or they'd be ineligible for benefits.

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 14:41:47

Can you turn the flat down? You usually get to turn one down and then have to take the second one offered, but a lot of councils will offer a really crappy one first.

TeacupTempest Mon 15-Apr-13 14:53:00

I live at anchor on a boat for 6 months of the year and in a static caravan for the other 6.

Definitely doable. We have a DD (16 months)

ZolaBuddleia Mon 15-Apr-13 15:08:12

When you say 'at anchor', do you mean you're floating in the sea somewhere?

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 15:10:04

It is doable, but is it doable for a person with no money who is renting?

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 16:09:43

i dont know expat, it is not something we are/would consider. One of my friends is claiming housing benefit and living aboard. I am not sure of the ins and outs of her situation. She lives on a boat with her 2 children, and has housing benefit to pay for a mooring.

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 17:03:20

'One of my friends is claiming housing benefit and living aboard. I am not sure of the ins and outs of her situation.'

That's illegal. You can claim housing benefit to pay for site fees/mooring fees, but you do so because you are living in that council.

But it's not really helping the OP to tell her to buy a boat when she doesn't have any money to do so or she wouldn't be claiming benefits. The threshold for claiming HB varies by council but it usually between £8-£16K so she's not going to be able to live on a boat if she can't find someone who has one and is willing to rent to a HB claimant.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 15-Apr-13 21:12:40

Teacup do you Winter in the caravan or the boat?

<nosy>

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 21:55:19

what is illegal? she is claiming benefits to pay for mooring fees. so what is the problem?

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 22:04:21

Because she doesn't live in the UK.

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 22:05:19

where have i said that she does not live in england?

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 22:05:31

The LHA is to pay for mooring fees in the council in which she resides, which is not in the UK if she is living abroad.

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 22:05:55

You said she is living abroad.

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 22:06:42

no i didnt. read it again

expatinscotland Mon 15-Apr-13 22:10:54

K, sorry. My bad.

Still not very helpful to the OP unless there's some way the OP can find a boat owner who will rent out their boat to someone on HB. Because if she had that kind of money needed to buy a boat she would, until that money was spent, be ineligible for benefits.

GoSuckEggs Mon 15-Apr-13 22:14:33

"unless there's some way the OP can find a boat owner who will rent out their boat to someone on HB" - there you go, it is helpful if she can find someone to rent to her.

stubbornstains Mon 15-Apr-13 22:31:54

Awww...lots of boat and caravan dwellers coming out of the woodwork smile. I've lived in both. In fact, I've got a boat for sale too. But mine's a little fat sailing boat (I used to live in it).

I'm so much poorer since I moved into a house- costs are sky-high compared to a caravan or boat.

The problem with trying to live in either is lack of places to moor a liveaboard/ put a caravan. Loads of boatyard owners don't like to have liveaboards, and it's very difficult to get planning permission to live in a caravan somewhere. Which is crap, crap, crappity crap, crap with crap on top.

Can you imagine how much money this country would save on HB if anyone who wanted to live in a caravan could? Many farmers could do with some extra money- they could have a field full of caravans- make it nice, everyone could have a garden area, piped water and electricity, charge a modest rent, win/win. Our local town has an expanding university, and everyone moans about the new student accommodation they're throwing up- what about some caravan sites on the edge of town? Etc etc etc....

My dark and paranoid suspicion is that "they" won't change the planning laws to make it easier to live in temporary dwellings because it would reduce demand for housing, hence house prices would go down AND THAT WOULD BE THE END OF THE WORLD.

thegreylady Mon 15-Apr-13 22:45:03

We have had four narrow boats over 25 years and if I were younger I'd live on one like a shot. They are very cosy with the stove lit and usually have access to all mod cons. However they are expensive to buy. The very cheapest 40 foot boat would cost at least £20,000. A caravan can cost less than £1000 but would only be a temporary solution.

thegreylady Mon 15-Apr-13 22:47:06

She said living aboard not abroad!

OhLori Tue 16-Apr-13 09:33:30

My dark and paranoid suspicion is that "they" won't change the planning laws to make it easier to live in temporary dwellings because it would reduce demand for housing, hence house prices would go down AND THAT WOULD BE THE END OF THE WORLD

Wow, I have also had the same dark suspicions as yourself! i.e. its all about control and ensuring the profits of private property.

Other times I have thought its because the chocolate box countryside would look a bit of a mess if caravans were here and there. But then again, the way you describe it, it could be done nicely. Some of the countryside looks a bit sterile to be honest. Few farmers live there anymore as farming is largely done by machine. It might be nice to have a few more people living and moving around doing stuff (or am I being hopeless naieve?). I have even thought of claiming "traveller" status to achieve my housing idea but am probably too old and decrepit to actually live like that, and one of my wackier ideas ...

Anyway, I do share your sentiments entirely.

stubbornstains Tue 16-Apr-13 10:09:17

Other times I have thought its because the chocolate box countryside would look a bit of a mess if caravans were here and there

I think definitely our countryside would look different if more people were allowed to live there in cheap, low impact dwellings, Lori. It would look messier and more rambling; there would be lots of sheds, shacks, ingenious constructions, small gardens and vegetable plots everywhere; probably little fields with pigs and chickens in all over the place. In short, a lot like it would have looked pre-Enclosure Act, when the landlords took the poor peoples' common land away, thus depriving them of a living and effectively banishing them from the countryside.

I've just been up to my parents in the Home Counties, and we travelled through a lot of North Bucks/ Oxon countryside, which I found alienating and depressing. Huge, huge bare windswept fields, with hardly any houses, and the ones that there were were really big, posh ones.

The problem is that this is what people have been conditioned to think of as "ideal countryside"- fields and trees with no people, even though this is an intensively humanised landscape. People think that it has magically looked this way forever, when in fact it's a creation of the enclosures about 200 years ago.

I think we need a whole new debate about what the countryside is for and how it should be used.

kim147 Tue 16-Apr-13 10:18:42

It's not helped by the fact that every piece of land is owned - including the actual river. I'd just love to take a boat - any boat - down a river but that's impossible - because it's all owned and you just can't get permission.

I have researched this a while ago and it does seem difficult to get moorings. Especially permanent moorings.

lollilou Tue 16-Apr-13 13:45:01

I think that farmers/landowners being allowed to have a field of static vans that can be lived in all year round is a great one. Why not? It would help farmers and people needing homes. I'm sure it could be managed in such a way that it doesn't cause a blot on the landscape. Perhaps limiting the amount allowed.

valiumredhead Tue 16-Apr-13 16:12:29

I actually did live in a caravan in the middle of a field as a child - there is a reason that I have a house and I am the biggest homebody ever as an adult wink

TeacupTempest Tue 16-Apr-13 19:19:47

Sorry cant remember who asked up thread but:

At anchor near the mouth of the river mostly. Used to move along the coast and up and down rivers much more pre DD. Moor up in very sever weather conditions (or sometimes just for a change).

Winter in the caravan (on the moors! but that's just to be near family for DD. We used to live on a boat all year round.

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