12 August 2019

Holiday Parks, Pitch Licence Agreements and Residential Misuse

Many holiday parks across England and Wales allow private individuals to site their holiday home/caravan at the park for a maximum term of a number of years.

The terms of the customer’s occupation of a pitch on the park should be dealt with under a pitch licence agreement, which should include details of the payment of the pitch fee and other charges, a requirement to insure the caravan and how and when the agreement will come to an end.

Where a park owner has no written contract with their customers they may have difficulty protecting their business when a dispute arises. If a park owner is unable to provide evidence of the oral terms and conditions agreed it is likely a court would rule against them, and may rule that the customer has protection under a form of tenancy rather than the intended rights under a licence. This could potentially cause a park owner difficulties in requiring a customer to make payment of the pitch fee going forward or to remove them from the park if they breach the terms of the unwritten contract.

To avoid any uncertainty or disputes about the terms of occupation for pitch holders, it is sensible for holiday park owners to ensure that up to date licence agreements are in place for each customer occupying a pitch on their park. The British Holiday and Home Parks Association (“the BH&HPA”) provide valuable assistance for its park members, including a standard form licence agreement which park owners can use as a template.

If you are proposing to buy or sell a holiday park, it is worth noting that pitch licence agreements are not capable of assignment. They are personal to the parties to the licence. This means that following the sale of a holiday park, any existing licences are automatically terminated. In these circumstances new park owners should liaise with pitch holders, with a view to agreeing to new licence agreements. Dealing with the issue of new licences promptly can reduce the risk of costly disputes with pitch holders further down the line.

As associate members of the BH&HPA, Wilkin Chapman has a wealth of experience advising the caravan industry and owners of holiday parks. We can help if you are planning to buy or sell a holiday park, advising on all elements of the sale and purchase including the property aspects, employment issues, licencing and contracts, and the transfer of the business. In addition we can assist you with an audit review of your existing contractual documentation, and advise on disputes between park owners and pitch holders, helping you to remove troublesome customers from your park.

If you are a park member of the BH&HPA we can offer you an initial one hour consultation free of charge. If you would like advice relating to the sale or purchase of a holiday park, please contact Sarah Kemp on 01482 398386. If you need assistance with a dispute or potential dispute, please contact Steve Pattison on 01482 398397.

Sarah, Steve and the Tourism & Leisure team at Wilkin Chapman will be attending the Caravan & Holiday Homes Expo 2019 at Stand 17, The Lawns, Cottingham on 3 – 5 and 7 – 8 September 2019 and will be happy to meet you to assist with any queries that you may have.

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