Do you have to pay council tax on a holiday park?
Having a static caravan on a holiday park might feel like a second home – but in actual fact, there are a lot of differences between the bills you can expect to pay at home and the costs associated with having a static caravan or lodge.
One of the biggest differences is council tax.
We’re often asked how much council tax you’ll be expected to pay for a caravan – so we thought it would be a good idea to cover the subject in a little more detail; so you’ve got all the information you need to decide if the running costs you can expect will suit your pocket.
Here we’ll explore:
- What council tax covers
- Whether or not there’s council tax to pay at a holiday/caravan park
- What you can expect to pay the local authority at a holiday park
Don’t forget – if you’re looking at the possibility of buying a holiday home, you’re always welcome to get in touch with the team here at Holiday Home Buyer. We’ve got decades of experience working on caravan parks in holiday home sales positions, so if there’s information you need to know, we can almost certainly help.
What is council tax?
Council tax is an amount of money that’s collected by the local council to pay for the services they provide for your community. Generally, your council tax will pay for things like local schools, police and fire services, services that relate to the upkeep of roads, refuse removals – and things like that.
Council tax pays towards rubbish collection
Council tax is tied to your home – and the way it’s calculated is based on how much your property was worth when valuations for the current council tax system were made.
With these things in mind, you can probably see why council tax for static caravans is such a confusing subject – after all, most caravans weren’t made when the valuation system was decided – and if you’re paying council tax at home already, it doesn’t really seem fair to pay a second amount for a caravan – does it?
Do you have to pay council tax on a static caravan?
In short, the answer is no – generally, you do not have to pay a local authority council tax for a static caravan holiday home.
Now, those rules are slightly different if you’re buying a caravan on a park that’s got a residential licence (i.e. a site you can be registered to live on all year round) – but since most caravan parks are considered ‘holiday accommodation’ – we’ll focus on those for now.
Essentially, you’re already paying council tax at home – and since your static caravan is not a second home, you’re not expected to pay towards the upkeep of local roads, schools, emergency services, and so forth.
So, what are you expected to pay? To get an answer, it’s useful to look at how councils pay for most of the services they provide.
What will you pay to a local authority at a caravan park?
Council tax that’s paid by private residents makes up around 25% of the money that local authorities need to raise to pay for the services they provide. The rest of that money comes from business rates.
If you’re a business owner, you’ll already know about business rates and the headaches they often cause companies. They’re a property tax that’s charged on offices, pubs, shops, warehouses – and other non-domestic properties. Holiday parks are very much included in the types of business that are expected to pay business rates – and since holiday parks are usually set on a very large (and often valuable) piece of land, their ‘rateable value’ is often also very high.
Since a holiday park is a business that’s designed to make money, park operators must cover this cost as part of their ‘overheads’ – payments they need to make to keep their business running. To do so, they absorb a large chunk of the payment themselves – and divide the remaining amount between the owned holiday homes on the park.
Generally, this ends up being a fairly small amount of money compared to your home council tax bill. Your ‘local authority rates’ will often be rolled in with your site fees (also known as ‘site rent’ or ‘pitch fees’) and usually come to somewhere between £200-£400 for the year. The rules and regulations around transparency of fees does mean that your park is obliged to tell you exactly how much you’re paying though – so don’t be afraid to ask and expect a clear answer.
How do you know you’re paying the right amount of local authority fees for your caravan?
At HolidayHomeBuyer, we always encourage our readers to take an objective and critical approach when it comes to dealing with static caravan parks. It’s usually not necessary – the industry is more tightly regulated than it was a couple of decades ago – and park operators are, 99.9% of the time, exceptionally clear about your costs.
However, if you’ve got any doubts about the amount of money you’re expected to pay in local authority rates, there’s some additional reading that might help.
The Non-Domestic Rating (Caravan Sites) Regulations (1990) legislation explains in detail how local rates can and should be charged by caravan site operators. We will warn you though – it’s not the most exciting reading!
Check you're paying the right fees
Although a little technical and legally worded, the legislation outlines what we’ve explained here about how park operators apportion an appropriate charge to each caravan/lodge on the park – and it also references valuation officers – the people who ‘rate’ businesses for local authorities. After rating, a valuation officer provides a statement to the park that explains how much they can be expected to pay – and the amount that each occupied caravan will need to pay can be worked out from that.
Don’t worry though, as we’ve already mentioned – virtually every park in the UK operates in an extremely transparent manner and will be happy to discuss your local authority rates with you in more detail should you wish.