Prospective buyers: take heed. Current owners: spruce up your knowledge on what’s included in your site fees.
Taking the leap into holiday homeownership is a worthwhile step – ask anyone who has had the privilege. Owning your own provides a year-round escape that’s well and truly yours. No check-out times, no jet lag, and most importantly, your own space to personalise and be proud of.
Purchasing a holiday home isn’t just an investment in your family’s future. It’s a financially-savvy decision which will, in turn, save your pennies in the long run (see next month’s blog!) Those who are thinking of purchasing a unit can be met with some confusion about site fees and associated costs.
Pitch licence agreements (PLA’s) normally outline the requirements for paying your site fees and any other clauses. But sometimes, the legal jargon in this contract can mystify the most seasoned holidaymakers – and we don’t want that!
In this post, we aim to clear up some confusion around site fees and let you know what you’re getting in the package. You’re more than welcome to use this guide if you’re thinking of buying with Lyons. If you’re already an owner, you might benefit from a refresh on what you’re entitled to with us. Remember you can contact your park directly with any queries about site fees if you’re an owner with another group.
What are site fees?
Site fees are essentially what you pay for keeping your caravan on park. Once you’ve purchased your unit, you’ll be expected to contribute every year to the maintenance of your holiday home and pitch, and the running of the park. The sum varies from park to park and can depend on the site’s location, standards, facilities and security.
When you sign your pitch licence agreement, you’re agreeing with the expected site fee charge. Ensure you’re happy with this amount before purchasing, and make sure you carefully read the pitch licence agreement to decipher what’s your responsibility within the contract.
We aim to decipher that in this post, but it is vital you understand and agree to the PLA before purchasing a holiday home. As this is a legally binding contract, things could turn sour if you refuse to pay your site fees when your name is on the dotted line.
How do site fees and council tax work?
Paying site fees is a clear indicator to the taxman that your holiday home is just that: a temporary residence. Site fees on a holiday park such as Lyons will differ from fees on a residential park. Residential parks are ones where people live permanently, in either holiday homes, caravans, motorhomes or lodges. Here, residents are required to pay council tax as it’s a long-term address – something you don’t have to do at a holiday park.
As we say, council tax only applies if you’re living in a holiday home – something you shouldn’t be doing on a holiday park. One of the conditions in our PLA is that you must have a permanent dwelling, and provide us with this address. If you move house, it’s your responsibility to update us with this new address, and send us proof that you’ve relocated.
Because you pay council tax in this main dwelling, you don’t need to pay for it on the park. Rather, we foot the council tax bill for you. But incorporated into our site fees and PLA is your acknowledgement that you’ll only use your unit as a holiday home. As such, our site fees reflect that this is your second and temporary residence, on land that is under our ownership. This leads to our next point…
What about business rates?
Council tax isn’t a necessity, but business rates are. These rates are another factor incorporated into the total sum of your site fees. Year on year, national rates go up – and so will your site fees. This should be outlined in your pitch licence agreement and will be agreed upon before purchase. It’s up to the holiday park to outline when/ how these rates will be charged to you, but do remember that they are expected.
Many owners view these rates as a downside. But from our perspective, business rates cover the costs of any repairs, maintenance, construction work, upgrading of facilities, staff, events, security and anything you can think of that helps make our holiday parks so wonderful. When the cost of living goes up, so do our rates. We try to keep them as low as possible, and will only ever increase them at the beginning of the financial year.
We think of it like buying a car. When you first bought a car in 1999, you were able to fill up your tank for, let’s say, £20. Filling up that same car in 2021 may cost £40. The car still works the same, and the petrol you use isn’t a fancier version. But the value of the oil has increased in line with business rates. You still need the petrol itself to run your car. But filling up in 2021 hasn’t put you as out of pocket as spending £40 in 1999 would have.
Why are Lyons’ fees different from other parks?
The sum varies from park to park and can depend on the site’s location, standards, facilities and security. Site fees reflect the park itself, with more popular and fun-filled resorts costing more to run and maintain.
For example, our owners at Lyons Kingsley pay £2,322 per year in site fees. This is because they enjoy the quiet resort, away from the distraction of bustling arcades and busy cafes. The site is small, with simple facilities, and therefore requires less maintenance and staff.
Site fees for our most popular park Lyons Winkups, are £4,178 per year. This is because the park is much larger, with many amusements, facilities, pitches and entertainment. The season is also longer at Winkups, meaning owners are able to visit their holiday homes more frequently throughout the year. Holiday homes in the bustling tourist region of Towyn are in high demand, and your site fees cover the cost of staying in a popular tourist zone.
What do our site fees not cover?
While site fees cover the majority of costs associated with running your holiday home, there are certain things that are up to you. The main ones are:
- Your holiday home insurance
- Your gas and electric – these will be billed separately from us, and the amount depends on how much you use
- That’s it!
What do they actually cover?
To make things easier for you, here’s a list of things that are included in your site fees when you purchase a holiday home with Lyons:
- Ground rent (the plot your unit is placed on)
- Maintenance and gardening to this pitch
- Keeping the park updated, clean and tidy
- Carrying out any works to the park that will benefit you in the long run
- Security on-park
- Cleaning, hospitality, office and other staff to ensure you get the best out of your stay
- A packed entertainment schedule
- Full use of park facilities, which include in most cases: splash zones, sports courts, kid’s zones, adult bars, restaurants, arcades, amusement centres and more
- Use of other our sister parks’ facilities
- Membership to the Lyons family, including your Platinum Membership Card
- The option rent out your holiday home to family and friends
- The further option to sublet your holiday home and earn some cash back
- For our coastal parks, direct access to the beach with your own, personal parking space
For more information on purchasing a holiday home, call our sales team today on 01745 362020 and invest in your future today.