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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 27524
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My free trial runs out tomorrow but I have seen nothing

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My free trial runs out tomorrow but I have seen nothing about cost or terms of continuing. Please could you advise so I can decide with full information?My question relates to a caravan that I own, which is on a Parkdean holiday site on the Lincolnshire coast. I have had a number of issues with this company but the latest situation has left me speechless. Owing to Covid and my ill health I have not been to the caravan since this season started, but on Saturday 22 August my son and his partner went to open up the caravan. It was in a filthy state and had clearly been used and left in an appalling condition. The carpet was littered with food, the lino-type floor area was sticky and covered in muddy footprints, as was the shower cubicle (including inside) and the toilet had brown "contents". I had left it hoovered and scrubbed clean, and nobody from my family or friends has been there. The only people who should have had access were maintenance men from the site to do a "drain down" for winter, and then put the water back on, and a gas engineer for a safety check, which should have been done in late February. He is a contracted person but I don't know if he is accompanied by site staff. My son said it looked as if someone was living there, and I have received electricity bills (for usage, not standing charge) which I have declined to pay. It may be relevant that in winter 2019 the staff told me they did not have a key in order to do the drain down, but they had definitely had one! Perhaps someone had helped himself/herself when they transferred some of my belongings from a previous caravan? (Incidentally one large bag went missing; I received replacements but I did not relish the hassle!)
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Please let me know if you have found an expert. Please tell me what the charge is for continuing membership as I have not been informed of this. If no expert is available I shall wish to cancel membership as my free trial runs out today. Thank you.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years experience.

I am very sorry to read of the above, and also apologise if it has taken a while for one of my colleagues to respond.

  1. From what you say may I confirm I understand correctly that this is a caravan than you have owned for some while as opposed to a caravan you have recently bought and are inspecting for the first time?
  2. Have you raised the issues you describe with the site management? If so what was their response?
  3. You say that you have provided a key to the caravan to the site management. Do you have a receipt of other evidence that you did so? Does the management acknowledge now that they do have a key?
  4. Finally may I confirm that there is no evidence of the caravan being broken into? Rather the caravan appears to have been accessed using a key albeit without your permission?

I'm following up on the above. Without some further information from you as above, I am limited in what I can say on the matter but in the hope it is helpful nonetheless, I will provide the following limited response. If you are able to kindly provide me with the above further information or if you have any further questions generally, I will be delighted to expand on the following - please just reply back to me in this case:

Based on what you say the caravan has been accessed presumably by someone with a key as you make no mention of evidence of break in. If you have proof that you provided a key to management, then you have a basis to make a claim against the park management for the damage caused. If they deny any employee or otherwise was involved, ideally you would need to obtain further evidence - e.g a statement from any neighbouring caravan owner who witnessed the occupant coming and going and might be able to identify that it was an employee or contractor of the park management.

If you can prove on balance that it was the park management or someone employed by them that accessed the caravan, you can bring a claim for the costs of cleaning and repairs and utilities used. The simplest way to do this is by using the courts online issuing service www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hello. It is a wretched situation!
1. Yes, I bought this caravan in November 2018 for use the following spring (site is closed from late November to early March) and it was an upgrade from a smaller caravan.. It was used last season by me and my family until mid-November 2019.
2. My son and his partner went to use it for the first time on 22 august 2020, and on finding it in a deplorable state, immediately reported it to staff. Apologies were made by staff and several hours later a deep clean was carried out. The Sales manager insisted that Security was very good but my son asked to speak to the Park manager. As he was not present, it was arranged that he would carry out a full investigation. After three weeks, and 3 prompts from me (stating that I was taking advice) he finally responded. I can e-mail the reply if you give me an address, but all he said was that Security were checking the caravan each night (I thought this happened anyway). I had said that I presumed they had changed the locks to prevent further misuse, but he stated that he had no intention of doing so. We intend to go to the very top about this.
3. When I bought the caravan they gave me a key and kept one. I must admit I did not ask for a receipt, but they used their key to move some of my belongings in, so they cannot deny they had one. A large bag disappeared, for which I was compensated.
4. When my son arrived he was able to access the van in the normal way, and there was no evidence of a break-in.

Thank you for the above. I note you do not have explicit evidence that they hold a key but from what you say there is persuasive evidence that they hold one. The critical element to my mind is the lack of evidence of breaking and entering. Either management contend that the caravan was occupied by a trespasser in which case there would presumably have to be evidence of tampering witht he lock or breaking and entering for such a person to gain entry. Or the occupant had a key which means they are a person associated with the park management. The fact that a deep clean was offered readily implies but does not prove that the manager is aware of who is responsible or at least that it was someone associated with the park management. Presumably such matters can as you suggest be raised and further explored in the form of a formal complaint.

In terms of what you could seek in relation to damages, if the caravan was being occupied by someone from the park, the first issue is that rent should not be charged by the park for that period, and conversely rent should be paid to you for their illegal use of your caravan and wear and tear. Second and cleaning and repair costs. Third utility costs you have incurred. And fourth damages for any period you were not able to use the caravan for until it was cleaned. There is a potential further matter of the costs of changing the locks unless they can return the key as it seems to me the trust in their holding a key for your caravan is not there any more as management may either turn a blind eye to such unlawful practices or its security procedures are being exploited by staff and are insufficient. .

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 27524
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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