If you are considering purchasing or renting a property such as a mobile home, chalet or holiday accommodation, your first step should be to check whether the property has any occupancy restrictions and can therefore be used only for holiday purposes or only at certain times.
A holiday is defined as an extended period of recreation, away from a person’s home. It is not for the Council to dictate to individuals the length of their holiday but the owner/occupier cannot use the accommodation as a sole or main residence and will need therefore to have a primary residence elsewhere.
Reference should therefore be made to the Council’s planning records. These documents are available free of charge and should be viewed in their entirety. Advice on a particular site’s planning restrictions can be given by either the Council’s Planning Officers or Enforcement Officers.
Complying With Occupancy Conditions
For the avoidance of doubt, if there is a planning condition limiting the accommodation to holiday occupancy, an occupier, even if retired, must have a main or sole residence elsewhere as ceasing employment does not mean that you are on holiday.
The Council will use its authority to ensure compliance by the occupiers and owners through examination of the register of occupation kept by the site developers/agents and by seeking information through the service of a Planning Contravention Notice (PCN). It is an offence to provide false information in response to a PCN or not to comply with the questions asked in it. This could lead to a criminal prosecution.
There are various factors which may indicate that holiday accommodation is being occupied in breach of occupancy conditions. These include:-
- An occupier spending the majority of their time in the ‘holiday’ accommodation
- An occupier being asked by the site operator to provide a relative’s address or an overseas holiday address as their sole or main place or residence
- An occupier receiving their mail at the holiday accommodation
- An occupier using the holiday accommodation as a place to register to vote
- An occupier's child attending a local school
- An occupier (spouse or partner or other family member) carrying on their business or employment based at the holiday accommodation
- An occupier (spouse or partner or other family member) being registered with a GP
The Council would advise anyone who is considering the purchase of, or who is already occupying holiday accommodation and has concerns about whether they comply with the holiday occupancy restrictions to take independent legal advice.