What is the Difference Between a Residential and a Leisure Park?

If you’re thinking about buying a park home, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to go with a residential or a leisure park. The fundamental difference between the two is that residential parks have the necessary license to allow residents to live in the park all year as their main residence, whereas leisure parks can only be used as secondary residences.

Naturally, whether you choose a residential park or a leisure park for your home will be determined by how much you intend to use your home both now and in the future. To assist you in making your decision, we’ve summarised the important differences between the two so you can determine which is the best option for you.

Residential Parks

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Residential parks enable residents to live in the park all year round as their main residence. The parks are typically age-restricted to those over the age of 50, however, age restrictions may vary. With residents of a similar age, the parks provide a calm and tranquil environment with the added benefit of living in a community of like-minded people.

If you are unsure whether a park is residential, the first place to check is the park’s site license. The site licence will state whether the park is fully residential or a holiday site, or even both. This license should be available on the park’s noticeboard. If not, you can ask the local council for this information. Always check this yourself and don’t accept verbal confirmation only.

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In terms of build quality, residential park homes are built in accordance with British Standard BS3632, which requires that the home meet a minimal standard for a safe and adequate dwelling all year round. The Mobile Homes Act Agreement provides protection for residential park homeowners as well as a legal framework for park owners to follow. Leisure parks don’t come under this act and therefore don’t receive the same protections.

For more information on park home build quality, see our blog ‘How long does a residential park home last?

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Leisure Parks

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A leisure park’s specific licence prohibits it from being used as a primary residence and allows it to only be used for holiday purposes for a limited time. The park may be open all year; however, this does not mean that you can live there all year; rather, it only indicates that the park is open rather than closed during the winter months. Ultimately, you will need to provide evidence of a second residence elsewhere for you to comply with the site licence.

The building regulations of holiday homes differ from those of residential homes, however, they must still be built to meet the existing BS3632 regulations. The key difference between these and the BSEN1647 regulations is the standards surrounding insulation. This is because a holiday home doesn’t need the same level of insulation as a residential one, as it’s not built for permanent living.

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Leisure homes are often significantly cheaper than residential park homes. This is because the license for a leisure home is usually set for a specific period of time. For example, 15 years, 25 years, or 50 years.

Residential park homes do not have such a time limit and can therefore be used “in perpetuity” as long as fees are paid. This is because, unlike leisure homes, residential park properties are subject to a virtual freehold, which are exceptionally lengthy leases that can be renewed indefinitely.

The issue of council tax is another significant distinction between residential and leisure properties. A holiday property is exempt from council tax, although a residential park home like any other traditional property, is required to pay it.

In Summary…

Residential parks allow you to live there permanently. You can live there all year and are not required to own another property. Leisure parks are for seasonal use. You cannot live there full-time as your primary residence, and you will be required to leave after a certain period of time. You cannot stay in the park all year, even if it is open all year.

For more details or to browse Quickmove’s network of residential and leisure parks, check out our handy Find a Park tool and filter by residential or leisure.