FAQs - Used Static Caravans

What is the Best Second Hand Caravan to Buy?

The best second hand static caravan to buy depends on your needs, what the static caravan will be used for and where it will be sited. Important points that will help you find the best used static caravan to buy are covered from the questions below:

  • Do you need 2 or 3 bedrooms?
  • Is the caravan going to be used to live in permanently, temporarily for yourself or friends and family or perhaps just for storage?
  • How big is the allocated caravan pitch/space?
  • Are there any access restrictions?
  • What is your budget?

Each UK manufacturers has their own unique designs and features. British caravans are very popular both here and in Europe because of their excellent design and built quality. It is important to make sure that the preowned static caravan you purchase has a sound structure and a solid chassis that will allow the caravan to be moved to your site. These are things that we check on all caravans, along with the usual gas, water, and electric tests.

As a rule of thumb, we always recommend buying a British made used static caravan from a respected supplier such as ABI, Swift or Atlas and there are other good quality UK based manufacturers. The second hand static caravan must have a sound structure and a solid chassis that will allow the caravan to be moved to your site. You should always find a static caravan that fits within your budget and is fit for purpose, know your budget and stick to it. The caravan should be free from any structural defects, look out for damp issues and water ingress, avoid caravans that have water damage as this may lead to structural issues.

How Old Should a Second-Hand Caravan Be?

The age of the caravan can limit the value but in all other aspects as long as the condition is good, it is up to the customer to decide what age of caravan they are comfortable with. Some people prefer older caravans but other love the modern feel.

The maximum age is around 20 years old but you can make an exception for a good quality older caravan. Holiday parks will usually have a limit of around 12-15 years for any caravan on site, but this does not mean they have reached the end of their life. Holiday parks sell many of these caravans and they are resold to private land and export. Sometimes they require some refurbishment, such as new carpets, new furniture, edging cabinets etc.

A static caravan is generally thought to be used after the first three years of use, they are considered to be nearly new up to this point. The lifespan of a static caravan is generally up to a maximum of 25 years if it has been very well looked after. The majority of holiday parks will have a licence that only allows static caravans to be sited up to 15 years of age. After that, these static caravans are either sold as second hand to be sited on private land or exported to Europe where the weather is kinder to them than in the UK.  Static caravans depreciate in value, the older the caravan, the lower the price will be as a rule. However, you can still find good quality static caravans that are more than fit for purpose that are older than 15 yards from a reputable dealer.

How Long Do Static Caravans Last?

One of the main aspects to look for when it comes to caravans lasting a long time is maintenance. Looking after the caravan and keeping it dry and clean will help make it last a long time. If you are located near the coast, a galvanised chassis is a good idea as the sea air can rust the chassis. Galvanised chassis’ have become more common is recent years. A painted chassis is not an issue if you are located in land or only planning to keep your caravan for a short time period.

Static caravans can last for up to 25 years as long as they are sound in their structure and chassis. Modern caravans have galvanised chassis but older caravans may have an open or painted steel chassis. These are prone to rust, especially if the static caravan has been sited near the sea where salt increases erosion levels. Always check around the main structural areas such as the axel, legs and wheels. If the body and the roof are in good condition and free from leaks, a static caravan can easily last up to 25 years.

Do Static Caravans Hold their Value?

When you loo at a resale value, you must look at caravans on holiday parks and private land separately. With regard to holiday parks, most caravans purchased will be new and therefore the drop would be larger when coming to sell. There are many other costs involved such as siting, connections, decking and a pitch premium to consider when working out your loss compared to new. Preowned values do fluctuate with the market but would usually experience a smaller loss when coming to sell, depending on the time period that you own one. It is recommended to keep the caravan in a clean but original condition. Whilst many people like to make modifications to their static caravan, it is  recommend that you do not remove the fitted furniture or paint or remove walls (e.g. turn a 3 bedroom caravan in to a 2 bedroom). This can make it much harder to sell the caravan and therefore will limit the resale value. Keeping the chassis in good condition is also important. If you have a non galvanised chassis you can paint it to help preserve the metal.

Static caravans are like cars, their value depreciates as soon as they are sited and used. However, there has been a significant increase in demand in recent years for second hand used static caravans and prices have increased for used caravans for all ages. Generally, a static caravan will depreciate in value at a rate of around 5% to 10% in a year, depending on the level of demand from customers wanting to buy caravans. To minimise the level of depreciation, keep your static caravan in good condition, especially with regards to the chassis, external walls and roof area. Maximise the value of your static caravan when selling by presenting it as clean and in as good a condition as possible.

What Happens to Old Static Caravans?

If a static caravan reaches the end of its lease term on a holiday park, it is usually sold to a specialist second hand static caravan dealer. If the caravan is in a poor condition and has structural issues, the caravan may be sold for scrap. If the caravan is in good condition, they will usually be sold to private clients or exported to Europe by specialist dealers. The majority of caravans are sold via dealers to private owners for use on private land for a range of uses such as temporary holiday or private accommodation, storage, worker accommodation or for office space.

What Should I Look For When Buying an Old Static Caravan?

If you are looking to buy an old static caravan, look beyond the cosmetic areas for signs of significant wear or tear. With static caravans, there are two main areas that could have a significant impact on the value and usability of the caravan. The first is water ingress through the roof or side panels. You should look for water damage, staining or wood and chipboard bloat as these will be strong signals of any leaks. The second area is the chassis condition; look for significant areas of rust damage. Static caravans are generally set on a thick steel chassis so surface rust is not a major concern. Deep rust, where you can see significant damage that weakens the chassis is a big problem. Specifically look for areas around the wheels and the axel, the main A tow bar and all of the legs. Cosmetic damage can usually be fixed relatively easily in a static caravan such as scratches or algae on the outside body. If you are looking at private sale, you must be very careful to check the chassis condition as it is possible you may find out after purchase that it is not possible to move the caravan if there is significant rust.

Can I Put a Static Caravan in My Garden?

Static caravans are mobile, they have a set of wheels and can be moved and are therefore not permanent and this is a significant factor as they are movable and as a result, they can be used in a garden for very specific purposes. The short answer therefore is yes, a static caravan can be placed in a garden. Note the word garden, the caravan has to be within the curtilage of your house:

The definition of curtilage is ‘an area of land attached to a house and forming one enclosure with it.’

For example, you cannot put a static caravan in an adjoining field or a paddock, it has to be within your garden.

The next issue is what the caravan will be used for. If you plan on using it for members of your own household or for visiting guests, then the use of the land has not changed. If you are planning to use the caravan as a means of income for renting out as a permanent and primary place of residence or for a business premises then you are changing the use of the land and you will require planning permission from your local council.

It is always advisable to contact your local authority and seek their advice before buying a static caravan for your garden.

Can I Live in a Static Caravan All Year Round?

There are two parts to this question. Firstly, with reference to holiday parks, in recent years many holiday parks have gained longer licenses to enable caravan owners to use their static caravan almost all year around. However, whilst you are allowed to stay in the caravan at any time during the open months, you must not live on site and will be asked provide evidence that you have a primary place of residence. This is usually in the caravan park rules and a condition of their planning and agreements with the local council. There will often be rules in place which state that an owner must not receive post at the caravan park and is not allowed to park a work vehicle on site. There are however, residential caravan parks. A residential park has a permanent residential licence that does allow you to live in a static caravan or lodge all year around.

The second part relates to private land. In most cases, planning permission will be required to live in a caravan. There are many different rules on planning, and we encourage you to seek advice from a planning advisor and/or your local council. It is recommended that the caravan that you purchase is built to residential specification but the lack of these on the market means that most people purchase one fitted with double glazing and gas central heating but is built to holiday home specification.

The answer really depends on where the static caravan is sited. If a static caravan is sited on a holiday park, you definitely cannot live on it all year around. Most holiday parks are now open for 9 to 11 months of the year and many will ask you to prove that you have a primary place of residence before selling you a static caravan. Holiday parks are designed to be holiday parks and are not permanent places of residence. A residential park has a permanent residential licence that does allow you to live in a static caravan or lodge all year around. When it comes to having a static caravan in your garden, the answer is less clear cut. You must be a member of your household to live in the caravan and you must have some use of the house to some degree, the interpretation around that lies with your local council.

Is There a Warranty on Second Hand Caravans?

A warranty on a second hand static caravan is usually determined by who you buy the caravan from, where the caravan is sited and how old the caravan is. As a general rule, you are less likely to get a warranty on an old static caravan than a nearly new static caravan. If you are buying a static caravan from a holiday park that will be sited on that holiday park, you may get a warranty on your used holiday home as part of your buying package. The decision is down to the seller and you may be able to negotiate a short term warranty.

If you buy a used static caravan from a reputable dealer, they will usually offer you a 3 month warranty or something similar as part of the package. However, if the caravan is below a minimum price or is over a specific age, the dealer may not offer a warranty. If you are buying a used static caravan from an individual owner, it is highly unlikely that you will get a warranty or that even if you get a warranty, that it will be enforceable.

Which Caravan Layout is Best for Families?

The static caravan layout that is best for families depends on how large your family is. Static caravans usually come with 2 or 3 bedrooms in a large variety of sizes. The biggest difference between a 2 or 3 bedroom caravan is the master bedroom. The master in a 2 bedroom caravan will be much larger. Often you will find a larger master bedroom in a 35’ 2 bed than a larger 3 bed. If space around the bed is important then a 2 bed would be preferable. You will often find an ensuite toilet with a 2 bedroom caravan but that is rarer in a 3 bed. An ensuite will take up space in the caravan but are almost always found in modern caravans. They are less common in older models. The living space in a 3 bedroom caravan is usually a bit smaller than a 2 bed.

For a family of four or fewer people, many families will choose to have a 2 bedroom. If you have a family of four or more and expect visiting guests or you have children or grandchildren that want separate rooms, a 3 bedroom caravan will probably be a better choice. All static caravans will have one bathroom with usually a shower. Baths are not common in caravans and usually only found in large 2 bedroom models. Over the years, the living space of a caravan has changed drastically. Open plan living, kitchen and dining areas have become more popular in houses and this can also be found in modern caravans. Most newer models will be built with open plan living spaces. If you prefer a closed lounge or kitchen an older model may be preferable.

Is a Static Caravan Classed as a Second Home?

Static caravans unless sited on a residential park will not be classed as a second home as they are mobile units but will also not be classed as a permanent place of residence unless you have agreement from your local authority. At the time of your purchase, you will likely be asked to provide proof of a permanent place of residence. Because when you purchase a holiday home static caravan you are just purchasing the mobile home rather than any land, the purchase is not subject to any stamp duty (correct at time of writing).

Do I Have to Pay Tax if I Sell My Caravan?

In short, the simple answer is yes, you have to pay capital gains tax if you make a gain on selling a static caravan. In terms of selling a static caravan on a holiday park, it is unlikely that you will actually make a capital gain though as static caravans depreciate in value although this may well be different if you have a static caravan on a residential park. Every person has a capital gains allowance that changes every year and this will reduce the amount of tax that you will have to pay. When you sell a caravan on a park, a percentage of the sale may be payable to the park itself. Check your site license or ask your park to see if this is the case.

Can I Buy Land and Put a Static Caravan on It?

Yes this is a possibility but you would more than likely require planning permission to site a caravan on the land. Therefore, it is recommended that you purchase land already holding the correct permissions or bear in mind that you will need to apply after the purchase. There is a degree of risk involved if there is no planning permission in place at the time of purchase. As always, it is recommended that you contact a planning advisor and/or your local council.

You can buy land to put a static caravan on it but it is unlikely that you will actually be able to put a static caravan on it, they are two different things. If you buy land that does not have planning permission for a static, you will need permission from your local authority before you can put a static caravan on it. You can put a static caravan in the garden of your own home without permission subject to limitations on its use.

Which is the Best Static Caravan Manufacturer?

Like many products, the answer to this question is unique to the person purchasing. Like cars, many customers will have a manufacturer that they chose to purchase from time and time again. When a caravan reaches the end of its license period on a park, a happy customer may choose to purchase from the same manufacturer again. However, it may be that whilst they have enjoyed owning their caravan, they feel that a different manufacturer makes a caravan that suits their needs more. These years may have changed over the years. The layouts, designs and colour schemes can vary greatly between manufacturers.

When it comes to purchasing second hand, the condition of the particular caravan in question is more important than the manufacturer. Any warranty given on a caravan will no longer be valid and therefore the customer is best to ensure that the caravan is dry, clean and well maintained rather than worry too much about the brand. The UK makes the best constructed and designed static caravans in the world. Some of great manufacturers based in the UK are:

  • ABI
  • Atlas Leisure Homes
  • Swift Group
  • Carnaby Caravans
  • Delta Caravans
  • Pemberton Leisure Homes
  • Victory Leisure Homes
  • Willerby

Additionally, there are some brands on the preowned market that may no longer make new static caravans but for many years produced quality models, such as Cosalt.