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Can we live in a caravan?

(35 Posts)
BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 07:45:01

Hello Everyone,

DH and I are thinking about buying a static caravan in Dumfries & Galloway, initially for holidays but, as we’re both in our 50’s, we’re thinking about relocating up there in a couple of years time to live and work until we retire.

My question is do any Mumsnetters in the area live in caravans full time? The site we’d like to buy on has an 11 month season which means we have to be away from the caravan for 1 month every year. We also need a different residential address as the caravan can’t be classed as a permanent residence. I’m wondering how do people get round these restrictions and what do they use as a residential address elsewhere when they’re living in the caravan? Also, if you’re using a relative’s address would that affect their Council Tax/any benefits etc?

We could never afford to buy a house or get a mortgage but we have enough to buy a fairly newish static and live there as long as we both worked part time.

Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated. TIA

shakeyourcaboose Tue 30-Jan-18 07:47:25

Depends where abouts in DumGal! In the recent snow, a few more rural areas were left without power for some time!

scurryfunge Tue 30-Jan-18 07:51:42

I think you'd need to find a residential site rather than a holiday site.

Fadingmemory Tue 30-Jan-18 08:01:19

OP, Do lots of research! Caboose makes a good point. You might be better off with a residential site BUT do study legislation passed in the Scottish Parliament:

I worked for a Scottish organisation and had experience regarding problems of residential park dwellers. If buying a holiday caravan will you really feel like vacating for a month each year? Could you afford elsewhere for a month? Try local papers in Dumfries to see if there are any relevant articles. You could always sell before retiring. I realise it may be many years away. Not saying, 'Dont,' but be wary.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Jan-18 08:05:22

'Also, if you’re using a relative’s address would that affect their Council Tax/any benefits etc? '


As it is, the idea is flawed because you will have to deal with ground rent/site fees and possibly having to upgrade the van every few years. Ground rent and site fees can also change suddenly if the site is sold.

If your van is not insulated to lodge standard it can be very cold.

Didiusfalco Tue 30-Jan-18 08:09:56

I think you’d need a properly insulated lodge on a residential site. A caravan could be freezing in winter. Also as you get older I think you’d find yourself less inclined/unable to leave your home for a month a year.

Fadingmemory Tue 30-Jan-18 08:12:17

Things to consider here: (watch the differences between England/Wales and Scotland re legislation just in case). Realise you may have seen this already

hesterton Tue 30-Jan-18 08:17:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

numbereightyone Tue 30-Jan-18 08:21:12

There may be places in the UK which are perfectly nice where you could buy a house to live in. I would look at over 50s housing, shared ownership etc before living in a caravan.

mustbemad17 Tue 30-Jan-18 08:24:11

My grandparents have lived in a static on a mixed holiday/residential site for years. Has its ups & downs; the having to shift off for so many weeks is a pita. They love it tho, but the logisitics of where it is mean one of them has to be able to drive.

An Uncle also lived on one for a while, his was more a holiday site so easier to access & had more to it.

June1966 Tue 30-Jan-18 08:26:18

I'd love to live in a caravan too, but the UK makes it difficult - possibly because they know that with the current housing market, many, many people would choose to live in caravans and for some reason they don't want that - perhaps they've heard bad things about trailer parks in America (some of which are perfectly nice actually), who knows.

Not everyone wants to live in a house but it seems we all get pushed in this direction here in the UK. All pegs, round or square, must fit into a square hole.

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 09:13:23

Thank you so much for all your comments and advice.
We’re in a position where we are renting a house at the moment and we’re unable to get on the property ladder but we can afford to buy a caravan out right.
We know we can’t stay afford here much longer due to unforeseen circumstances and we’re just looking for viable alternatives.
We definitely can’t afford a lodge, they’re way above our price range although we are looking for a residential park as opposed to a holiday park.
Thank you for the links, I’ll have a look when I get home from work.
We don’t want to get into trouble with anyone and we’re not trying to avoid bills or anything, it’s jusy got to a point where we need a complete life change and we so love Scotland so that would be the natural place to go.
Ahhh I don’t know, we’re in such a quandary confused

mustbemad17 Tue 30-Jan-18 09:18:21

My gran's park were brilliant at helping them sort all the details, they live there perfectly legally. Their mail is delivered to the office at the park, so they aren't risking anybody else by using a c/o address etc. If you find a residential park you like they should be able to help you deal with the logistics 🙂

Piffpaffpoff Tue 30-Jan-18 09:28:13

We have a cabin on a holiday park in Scotland. We don’t live there but some do, people doing proper vital jobs for the area who clearly can’t get on the property ladder yet. I’m not sure how they get round the month away. Bear in mind you will have site fees on top of the initial cost. Ours are about 3k a year. And many sites have rules about the age of cabins or caravans so you might need to factor in having money to buy a new one in 10 yrs time. And don’t dismiss how cold it would be in winter. Our electric bill just for winter weekends can be quite staggering as you have the electric heaters on all the time, trace heating on the water pipes to keep them from freezing, lights on most of the time cos it’s only light from 9-3. It can be quite costly.

DuckOffAutocorrectYouShiv Tue 30-Jan-18 09:44:42

Yes, expat makes a good point. Lots of sites stipulate that you must replace your unit every X years, which bumps up the costs significantly and the units need specialist mortgages.

The walls are very thin and the vans can get very cold. I am much further south, they are not well insulated and can be noisy during bad weather.

What about security? The doors and windows are pretty flimsy.

Think about services and how they are connected and paid for. Lots of statics use Calor gas which is expensive.

To be honest, I think they look cheap initially but the running costs in the long term are expensive compared to a bricks and mortar property. Especially when you factor in resale values/depreciation and site fees.

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 10:10:01

smile thanks, the sites we’re looking at have a 20 year limit grin

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 10:26:19

That’s exactly what we’re looking for grin I need to ring round all the parks and find out which ones are like your grandparents.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Jan-18 13:39:50

It's really not a cheap alternative to buying a flat or house. Scotland is very cold in Winter. A good friend of mine has 4 vans she maintains for a charity in Cumberland. Only the lodge-insulated one is usable in Winter. I'd honestly look at buying a one-bed flat somewhere over a van since you have enough money to buy a van outright. The fees are staggering - 3-4k/annum are pretty standard.

Myddognearlyatethedeliveryman Tue 30-Jan-18 13:44:13

Op we have the same idea!! I posted last year and got lots of support!! Bricks +mortar are boring imo!! Good luck. Maybe you could write a blog about your idea? And keep us up to date - maybe I can pinch some of your ideas?!

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 15:50:47

@Shakeyourcaboose It’s not been nice at all has it? We were watching the weather reports shock

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 15:54:04

@scurryfunge thank you, that’s what we are intending to do, hopefully smile

IndigoMoonFlower Tue 30-Jan-18 15:55:34

I would
(a) think it would cost a lot to heat
(b) consider how much is the ground rent?
(c) how much will it cost for overheads, for example- will you be buying your power through the site owner?
(d) be aware that once your caravan becomes "a certain age" many sites will refuse it.
(e) Be aware of how caravans depreciate and age, consider the costs.

(sorry to be a bore, but you did ask! Also, I once had a similar idea and someone brought me down to earth with a bump!)

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 15:57:01

@fadingmemory Thanks for the information, it’s much appreciated indeed. As we’ve not got a laptop or PC it’s not easy to search for the residential sites from our phones, I think a visit to our local library is in order so we can borrow their computer haha.

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 15:59:23

@expatinscotland thank you for your reply, we intend to get a newish van with central heating and double glazing. We’re done a bit of research re site fees and they’re usually around £2500-£3000 a year which we can afford as we’ll both be working smile

BlownIt23 Tue 30-Jan-18 16:01:32

@Didiusfalco we’re definitely in the market for a newer van, we wouldn’t be able to afford a lodge. Leaving for a month wouldn’t necesarily be too much of a problem as we could visit warious family members etc smile

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