Are You Entitled To A Partial Refund Of Your Pitch Fee?
With static caravan owners unable to access their holiday homes during the lockdown, is it fair to request a refund of their site fees?
As part of the imposed government restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, holiday parks have been required to close their doors to satisfy the conditions of lockdown. By halting visits to holiday caravan parks, the government aims to stem the spread of the coronavirus. As caravans are classified as holiday homes, or second homes, they do not fit within the reasons to take essential travel from your primary residence.
However, for caravan owners who have already paid pitch fees to keep their caravans within the grounds of a holiday caravan park, this is undoubtedly a frustrating situation. They’re unable to reach their caravans for a break, but feel that they have already paid to do so. In some cases, the upfront costs can reach as much as £5,000 a year, so this is not a small sum of money.
Holiday Caravan Park Agreements
When you’re looking at new static caravans for sale, one of your first considerations will be where you plan to pitch it. Tens of thousands of Brits keep their caravans within permanent sites in order to make use of the fantastic facilities offered in such an environment. Before being allocated a pitch, caravan owners will need to sign a written agreement which serves as a contract between the park owner and the consumer.
Are Refunds Due?
Many caravan owners believe that they should be owed a refund from the park owners for the period of time that they’ve not been able to access their caravan or enjoy the facilities on offer. This is backed up the Competition and Markets Authority who also agree that if services are not able to be accessed, then refunds should be given at least in part.
However, the difficulty lies in breaking down the fee into an itemised list of costs. It cannot be argued that caravan owners are still being provided with a pitch for their caravan. It’s being kept safe and maintained, just as it would throughout the winter season. Equally though, no-one can deny that caravan owners are also not being able to access everything that they’ve paid upfront for.
Around 70% of caravans are located on small family-run parks with limited facilities. In this situation, you may not be able to reasonably claim back much of a refund, and certainly you may run into difficulties negotiating refunds from small businesses who rely on the income brought in by pitch fees. Backing this point are the British Holiday and Home Parks Association who explain that an agreement is “a licence for the provision of the pitch to site that caravan and for the maintenance of the park and its utilities infrastructure to supply the caravan.” In this case, they argue that caravan owners are not entitled to a refund.
However, for those people whose caravan is part of a much larger park with extensive facilities and entertainment options, then it would be fair to say that they’ve lost more from this situation.
If you believe that you’re due a refund, and assuming that you have already paid your site fees up in full, then you would be well within your rights to contact the park owner and request a partial refund. A full refund is highly unlikely to be on the cards due to the costs that the park will also be facing during this time. If you haven’t yet paid your pitch fees, then it’s essential that you don’t withhold them. By doing so, you will be in breach of contract.