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Hello,

 

Wondering if anyone can give me some advice?

 

In August 2017 I purchased a 17yr old Abi Arizona Static  caravan, which had been well looked after and was for sale by the previous owners for health reasons. It is double glazed throughout, structurally sound, has a wide deck and the previous owners had had a brand new roof fitted in 2016, but as it was loose and rattling in the wind, under the guarantee I had it completely replaced in October 2017.

 

The van is in excellent condition, but unfortunately as it is in Scotland and I am in England have not been able to visit since November 2019. I am not unhappy with this Site as it is relatively remote, not overcrowded and the Site owners have always been extremely helpful in arranging gas certificates, doing any minor jobs which occurred to a small shed, draining off the water in winter etc.

 

When I purchased the van I specifically asked many questions especially regarding the age of the van knowing many sites do not allow vans over 20yrs old. One of my questions was specifically regarding the fact the van would be 20yrs old in 2020.

 

Quote:  “You did say there is no limit to how long a van can be left onsite, but you would not sell a van on behalf of an owner once it is 20yrs old. As the van is 17yrs old I really wouldn’t want to be told to get rid of it in 2020".  His reply was :  “I do not sell caravans that are 20+ years old. If you keep your caravan in good condition and it stays structurally sound you are welcome to keep it for as many years at will last”.

 

The situation now the site fees are due is that the owner has teamed up (his words) with ‘Coast and Country Leisure” who are investing in developing the site and the rules have been changed to: “Existing owners will be given a 25 year age limit on their current van. Existing owners with caravans already exceeding 25yrs will be able to use their vans for the 2021-22 season which will give them the opportunity and time to upgrade”.

 

Consequently as the van is now 21yrs old, the owner won’t sell vans over 20yrs, and there are only 4 years remaining, this renders my van unsaleable and I certainly cannot afford to upgrade to a new van. I will welcome your opinions. Especially on how “legally binding” his reply was in 2017 as there is nothing in the Terms and Conditions stating these can be changed at any time. 

 

Thank you.

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 This same scenario happens to my friend last year ....He sent me this 

 

(Sorry I don't know which government website he got it from )

 

Found this on the Government website 

 

Changing terms in existing contracts during the pandemic

 

Some contracts contain terms which give a business the right to change elements (terms) of the contract after it has been agreed with the consumer.

These are known as ‘variation clauses’. Businesses might try to use these to change the terms of contracts and ensure they cover issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Variation clauses are likely to be unfair and unenforceable under Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if:

 

they have the effect of a ‘blank cheque’ allowing a business to adjust important aspects of the contract at will

 

the business is not required to give the consumer reasonable notice of any changes

 

the consumer does not have a right to freely cancel the contract without being left worse off

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These changes and general rule's re statics are the main reason i stopped having a static and restarted touring you can just upsticks  when the owner changes rules .

 

now retired and loving it

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Very few static caravan sites have contracts that actually protect the consumer. No big surprise there, After all it is usually the site owners who insist on the contract.

It is worth checking the contract though, but I suggest that you refrain from holding your breath!

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While the site rules may have changed, what does your actual contract say?

If the site has not changed hands then your contract is still valid - but if it does not specify any age limit, or if it is annually renewable, then the site is probably legally (if not morally) allowed to change this.

A verbal agreement is supposed to be as binding as a written agreement (such as the verbal promise that you can keep your van on site) but proving a verbal agreement is difficult.

You could try contacting NACO and ask if they think there is anything that you can do.

Good luck.

 

(Coast and Country Leisure seem to be a management consultant company, sounds as if your park owner had brought them in to see how he can develop and increase profits, and unfortunately parks with no contractual age limits about how long a van can stay on site are ripe for redevelopment.)
 

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Good morning all,

 

Many thanks for your replies, which are much appreciated.

 

2seaside - I have checked through all past documentation and there isn't an "actual contract", just a Site Licence Conditions and General Site Rules form, which has had only a couple of minor changes since 2017. 

 

As regards the various questions I asked when purchasing the van, I should have said these are all in emails, which I have kept, therefore are written, not verbal and contacting NACO is a good idea. Thanks.

 

Yes, Coast and Leisure are exactly as you describe and whilst I think the van owners would welcome some improvements to the site, I have a feeling they will be in a similar position to me as not every van is brand new, we are being cajoled into buying newer models and quite what happens about removing any van over 25yrs is not clear!

 

Kind regards,

Yorkshire Lady

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2 hours ago, Yorkshire Lady said:

Good morning all,

 

Many thanks for your replies, which are much appreciated.

 

2seaside - I have checked through all past documentation and there isn't an "actual contract", just a Site Licence Conditions and General Site Rules form, which has had only a couple of minor changes since 2017. 

 

As regards the various questions I asked when purchasing the van, I should have said these are all in emails, which I have kept, therefore are written, not verbal and contacting NACO is a good idea. Thanks.

 

Yes, Coast and Leisure are exactly as you describe and whilst I think the van owners would welcome some improvements to the site, I have a feeling they will be in a similar position to me as not every van is brand new, we are being cajoled into buying newer models and quite what happens about removing any van over 25yrs is not clear!

 

Kind regards,

Yorkshire Lady

Unfortunately, without a formal contract you will have an uphill struggle proving that the site owners are not entitled to change the rules as and when they see fit!

Promises made when you purchased the van were, of course, literally when you purchased the van! As long as they were true at that time, and if they did not specify time limits you cannot now try to impose time limits on them.

Whether any of the Emails constituted contracts, or were in any way binding is not for any of us to say, but expert advice should be sought if you want to follow it through. 

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Stevan, you raise two valid points here:

 

 1. There isn't a Contract when perhaps there should be and

2. It is not me who is trying to impose time limits on the owners, quite the other way round. 

 

I have contacted  NACO who have requested various documents, so will keep everyone updated.

 

Kind regards,

Yorkshire Lady

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Evidently I did not express myself well! By "impose time limits" I was trying to explain that although they made a statement about the then current rules it did not necessarily prevent them subsequently changing those rules.

His comment of " you are welcome to keep it for as many years at will last”, may well have been correct under the then current rules, but whether it was still binding after a rule change I simply cannot say.

 

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There are numerous sites in Devon/Cornwall where statics have to be replaced every 10 years, no matter what they look like and you have to sell them through the site who pay a pittance; and then re-sell making a large profit. Its made clear at the purchase and a waiting list to buy. Being able to have a van for over 20 years on site is unusual and lucky; although it probably doesnt feel that way. Site owners have it all there way.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good afternoon all,

 

As promised, an update from NACO.

 

Having "you are welcome to keep it for as many years as it will last", IN WRITING, is like gold dust!

Whilst the site owner agrees he said and subsequently wrote to confirm this, he disputes the legality of it and says after 4yrs the van will be worthless, broken up and sold for scrap.

 

NACO state my options are to send a Solicitor's letter now, to wait for 4yrs or to offer the van for sale.

Whenever Scotland and England agree on when we can return to our vans, I shall make that decision!

 

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