Keep Your Static Home Secure
The general security of your static caravan is likely to be a major concern:
- As a second home you are likely to have become fond of taking your holidays there;
- If the static home is regularly let to paying guests, you are likely to have become accustomed to and welcome the rental income it generates;
- The caravan may be left unoccupied for several months during the year – especially in off-peak seasons when many static home parks are likely to be closed;
- Although static homes may come in all shapes and sizes, with some being more lavishly appointed than others, it is likely that you have made a significant investment in the purchase; and
- The validity of your caravan insurance cover may be conditional on your having taken all reasonable steps to secure it against possible loss or damage.
With security uppermost in your mind, therefore, it may be helpful to consider three basic aspects relating to the protection of your investment – the security of tenure on which the static home is pitched, security of the fabric of the caravan itself, and the security of its contents against theft, attempted theft and accidental damage.
Security of Tenure
An agreement exists between you and the owners or managers of the site on which your static home is pitched. This describes such things as the rent you pay for this facility and the terms and conditions under which you and your caravan may occupy the pitch.
These rights and obligations establish your security of tenure, allowing you to keep the caravan on the pitch for a given number of years. Just how long that security of tenure runs may vary of course according to the terms of the particular agreement you sign.
Typically your security of tenure may vary between, say, 10 or 15 years and may include conditions relating to the maximum age of the static home and the requirement that it is kept in good condition.
The agreement may also include a requirement that you keep the static home adequately insured. There might even be a stipulation that the static home insurance is bought from the owners or managers of the park. If there is no such explicit provision, yet you still feel under pressure to arrange the insurance you are offered by the park management, it may be worth standing your ground to insist that you buy the cover you need, at a competitive price, from an independent provider.
A number of the legal issues affecting your rights and obligations with respect to security of tenure are discussed on the UK Law pages of the website Just Answer.
At the end of the day, though, keeping your static home secure may depend on your careful reading and understanding of the agreement which gives you security of tenure of the ground on which it is pitched.
Your static home is likely to deserve the same kind of protection against structural damage as any other home. This means insurance against such major risks – amongst others – as:
- Escape of water;
- Storm damage;
- Impacts; and
An incident involving any one of these perils may result in the total loss of your holiday home and because it may be unoccupied for several months at a time, those risks may be multiplied.
Gas leaks in the relative confines of a static caravan, for instance, may result in a potentially explosive mixture. When you leave it unoccupied, therefore, special care needs to be taken to disconnect the gas and preferably remove the cylinders to a separate place of safe storage. Butane gas may freeze in very cold weather, even when the thermometer remains above zero; Propane, on the other hand, does not freeze.
Although you may have checked that electrical circuits are working properly, you may also want to switch off and disconnect your electricity supply.
Another important utility is water. It is not only the risk of flooding as frozen pipes burst, but also the damage that may be done to fixtures and fittings if even just a small amount of water freezes in a valve.
For this reason you need to make sure that every last drop of water is drained from water and heating systems – even going so far as to blow through the systems with the reverse flow of a vacuum cleaner to expel the final drops.
Remember, too, that during the inevitable winter storms, your caravan is likely to take quite a battering. To help stabilise it whilst it is being buffeted by the winds and gales, it might help to invest in strong corner stays, firmly rooted into the ground.
Further useful tips about preparing your static caravan for the winter may be found in a discussion thread on Go Static.
Although the security of the structure and fabric of your static home is of course important, one of the most common perils – and certainly one of the most annoying – is theft of its contents. According to Caravan Talk, for example, a tenth of all caravan insurance claims relate to incidents of theft from the home.
Combat against such intrusions and losses is much the same as you might deploy when protecting your permanent place of residence:
- Windows and Doors: Security locks provide the first line of defense, so it is important that good quality locks are fitted to every opening, preferably one of the two kinds of security devices described by My Holiday Caravan, namely clamp locks or cube locks;
- Security Alarms: To a great extent, the security of your static home from unwanted attention may depend on the measures taken by the park management;
- Some sites, for example, offer their own alarm systems to warn security that an unauthorized entry has been attempted;
- Failing that, you might want to consider investing in your own motion detecting intruder alarm system;
- Valuables: The static caravan is your holiday home, a second home away from home, so it is perfectly reasonable that you fill it with all the equipment you might need when on holiday – including some items that may be more valuable than others;
- When leaving the home for any length of time, therefore, you might consider taking any valuable with you, or at least putting them somewhere out of sight;
- If you regularly keep items of especial value in your second home, you might even consider installing a safe let into the floor.
There are a number of areas, therefore, you might want to consider when it comes to keeping your static home secure – and these are likely to include at least those mentioned here.