If you own a caravan site or holiday park in Northern Ireland that allows caravan owners to station their caravans for more than 28 days, you must give the proposed occupier a written agreement.
This requirement applies to both static and touring caravan owners provided they enter an agreement to occupy their caravan on your site for more than 28 days.
What must the written statement include?
The written statement must contain:
- the names and address of the parties
- details of the location of the land on which the caravan can be stationed
- the implied terms regarding consultation with occupiers' associations
- the express terms contained in the agreement
The Caravan Act (NI) 2011 came into force on the 16 September 2011. The law states existing seasonal caravan occupiers who were occupying a caravan before that date must have in place a written statement supplied by the site owner. For new occupants, the written statement must be provided no later than 28 days before the agreed date of sale of the caravan or, if earlier, the date on which the seasonal agreement is made. This applies unless you agree a shorter period in writing.
You can either provide the written statement to seasonal occupiers personally or by post.
Implied terms for seasonal caravan site written statements
In any seasonal agreement for caravan sites, there is an implied term that you (as the site owner) will consult with any qualifying occupiers' association on the site on all matters relating to the operation, management and improvement of the site. You must include this term in any written statement for seasonal occupiers.
A qualifying occupiers' association must:
- have at least 50 per cent of the seasonal occupants as members (each caravan is taken as having one occupant)
- be independent from the site owner, who is excluded from membership along with all employees and site agents
- allow membership to be open to all occupiers who own a caravan on the site
- maintain a list of members and have rules and a constitution open to public inspection
- have a chairman, secretary and treasurer elected by and from it's members
- make decisions by voting with one vote per caravan (though administrative decisions can be taken by the chairman, secretary and treasurer acting in their official capacity)
- have been acknowledged by the site owner in writing or been ordered so by a county court
Express terms for seasonal caravan site written statements
Express terms may cover anything that you (as the site owner) and the caravan occupiers consider relevant - for example:
- the duration of the agreement
- any pitch fees and their review procedure
- park rules
- rules for termination of the agreement
- procedures for resolving disputes
- the rights and obligations of the parties
You should note that any express term not included in the written statement is unenforceable.
You must also comply with rules on unfair terms when using express terms in your written statement. You can get advice on the fairness of terms from Consumerline on Tel 0300 123 6262 or email email@example.com.