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When is a caravan not a caravan?

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Tomcali

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Thank you everybody.
Any assistance is very much appreciated
Your posts are helping to keep me on an even keel.

Update
VW have responded by telephone this morning.
Unfortunately VW are unable to provide any legal support in this case but suggested citizens advice or Pro Bono from a local University.
Has anybody used Pro Bono before?

We have sent a letter clearly stating to the other parties "We are not in breach of the lease" and have currently moved our California off the estate, as we are on a tour.

Onwards
 
MattBW

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Keep your chin up, sounds like an awful situation but it feels like you are in a good position.

Some covenants are also time limited so I would check that too, they often only last for 5 years before they expire. If its expired clearly they have no leg to stand on.

Also your solicitor when you were buying should have pointed this out to you if they didn't then its worth talking to them about it. They have a duty of care and may assist on this.
 
EddieEagle

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An even keel?
For goodness sake leave the boat out of it, for now at least !
But seriously,
Best wishes for a reasonable outcome.
 
Bellcrew

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Keep your chin up, sounds like an awful situation but it feels like you are in a good position.

Some covenants are also time limited so I would check that too, they often only last for 5 years before they expire. If its expired clearly they have no leg to stand on.

Also your solicitor when you were buying should have pointed this out to you if they didn't then its worth talking to them about it. They have a duty of care and may assist on this.
I would think it is just the conservatism of solicitors that allows such restrictive covenants to be traditionally left in leases/deeds etc. Most make no sense in the modern world, you could for instance park a huge horse box in your space without the freeholder having any power to demand its removal yet it would be a much bigger blot on the landscape than a sub 5 m luxury van.
 
Amarillo

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I would think it is just the conservatism of solicitors that allows such restrictive covenants to be traditionally left in leases/deeds etc. Most make no sense in the modern world, you could for instance park a huge horse box in your space without the freeholder having any power to demand its removal yet it would be a much bigger blot on the landscape than a sub 5 m luxury van.
We don't know that trailers and horse boxes are permitted, the only extract we have is:
The lease states:-
"Not to park any caravan or boat on the property"
It may well go on to say "or trailer of any type".
 
Perfectos

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It’s not a short one I’m afraid:

It has not been established, whom is the beneficiary of the covenant, it it the original builder ? Or is it the current freeholder ? And what was the purpose of the original covenant. Was it to prevent peaople from lowering the tone of the place by “living” in a caravan / motor caravan or was it for another reason ?
Does that reason still exist ?

Worth checking whom put the covenant in place and if the current freeholder has right over the original covenant ?

If the original builder set the covenant, can you contact them ? Are they still trading? If not the covenant cannot apply going forward as the covenant would cease when the builders ceased trading!

If the original developer still trades, Can you contact them to see if they will relax, nullify or indeed clarify the “caravan” covenant and its intended purpose and whom it was put in place to protect !

The fact that you do not have a definition of what a “caravan” constitutes, I would suspect the original covenant was not set up by the current freeholder?

I believe Covenants cannot be gifted to another beneficiary !

Setting aside who the communication has come from, (the freeholders) who is trying to enforce the covenant, is it the freeholder ? or another lease holder ?
I know you have received communication from the freeholder, but what power do they actually have to enforce the original covenenant ? (See above beneficiaries)

If the complaint is from another lease holder, to the free holder, has the free holder acted on the complaint from another leaseholders who may be quoting the covenants in their deed, to which the current freeholder have acted but may not be entitled to enforce! ( beneficiary)

However the other lease holder may be able to bring a claim against you as one of the original intended beneficiaries, (but not the freeholder)

Ask the freeholder to supply you with copies of ALL information that they hold on you, your property, any complaint regarding you or ANY documents that carry your name or the property address, under the freedom of information act, (that will tie them up for a bit and also provide you with all the info they have reacting to you and your property for a small fee. ( they cannot refuse this information)
Similarly insist the freeholder provide you with their understanding of the definition of a “Caravan” ( do not lead them in any way) this will help establish their understanding, which you can then challenge via your original conveyancing and the understanding of the solicitor as to the meaning and intent of the original covenant.

If it subsequently transpires that the complaint has come to the freeholders attention via another leaseholder, ask why the complaint has been made to the freeholder and under what circumstances, but more importantly if it’s another leaseholder that has got onto the freeholder, the free holder may not want the expense of defending it, and it’s unlikely that another leaseholder will bring an action from a cost perspective?

Sorry for such a long post but I feel that there is some important facts that need to be established which may be pivotal in your case and understanding of how the freeholder feels you may have transgressed and indeed if the freeholder has any bearing over original covenant. Freeholds are bought and sold as commodities, for the benefit of the freeholder only, ownership of the freehold does not necessarily give the freeholder carp Blanche over leaseholders.
 
Stoneybroke

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But these conditions may not be covenents, but terms of the leasehold, which are different and can be enforced by the freeholder.
People tend to forget that buying a leasehold property is not buying the property outright, but acquiring a right to live in it under the terms of, and for the length of the lease. At the end of the lease term, unless extended, the property ownership reverts to the freeholder.
 
Alfiesbuddy

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Hi for pro bono contact the law society

I know my uni does pro bono work as in those doing LPC or LLP. Degrees can take work on and you get an advanced student being overseen by a qualified lawyer.

I’m now very keen to learn what happens, I’m purchaeing a house with the same covernance and it’s for 50 year lease. The lease has been purchased by the current owner but all the same one still has to obey the requirements.
 
Velma's Dad

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I think you mean the Data Protection Act, Freedom of information Act applies only to public bodies.

Well actually in fact I think he means GDPR, and specifically the right to make a 'subject access request' under GDPR.

Although I don't think it matters when making a subject access request whether you refer to GDPR, or DPA, or anything at all - the data controller still has to react.
 
Joker 1299

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Well actually in fact I think he means GDPR, and specifically the right to make a 'subject access request' under GDPR.

Although I don't think it matters when making a subject access request whether you refer to GDPR, or DPA, or anything at all - the data controller still has to react.
GDPR are the European regs that are now incorporated into the (new) Data Protection Act.
 
Velma's Dad

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GDPR are the European regs that are now incorporated into the (new) Data Protection Act.

{pedantry} No, the GDPR is not enacted through UK DPA 2018, they have to be read alongside each other. GDPR is not an EU directive, it's a regulation, and has direct effect within the EU territory without national transposition. DPA 2018 just covers some other, UK specific, things. {/pedantry}
:Grin
 
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Tomcali

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Unfortunately 1st tier tribunal (property chamber) has been filed by the 'right to manage' company Directors.

This is a stressful situation beyond our control and a real cause of anxiety for us.

We await the filing correspondence from the courts to find out exactly what we are accused of doing wrong.

While we await, with obvious trepidation, we consider our position, fairness is cost related and as much as we would dearly love to challenge, unfortunately we are not currently in a position to fund legal representation but feel we are being wrongly done to and have a strong argument to support our continued use of our demised parking space to park our beloved VW California.

Is there any appetite for crowd funding this legal challenge amongst the Cali community?

Our legal advice to date has stated the worst case scenario would be, as the respondent, £5,000 for our
legal costs for preparation and representation on the day and possible recovery claim via the courts from the applicant of their costs should the determination be not in our favour circa £6,000
We are told this estimate is 'high', erring on the side of caution.

As they say 'desperate men' take desperate measures.
I am throwing this idea out there, purely to gauge if this approach is worth exploring further.

Basically to create a general fund for all Cali forum subscribers - in support of the protection of our common love, lifestyle and freedom.

If there were 1,000 Cali owners interested in supporting our quest it would take circa £10.00 contribution each to raise 10k - victory shared in setting precedence, for reference in potential future court cases.

Funds controlled via the VW cali forum administrators - review and approval pending.

Look forward to your responses.

Tomcali
 
flying banana

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Good luck but it's a no from me. I'd move house and spend that 6 grand on fees
 
Amarillo

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Our legal advice to date has stated the worst case scenario would be, as the respondent, £5,000 for our legal costs for preparation and representation on the day and possible recovery claim via the courts from the applicant of their costs should the determination be not in our favour circa £6,000
I was hauled before the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand after contractors of mine severed a gas supply pipe on my property.

I defended myself, so my legal fees were zero. My case was that Southern Gas Networks, who were suing me, were in the wrong as they had laid the supply pipe at too shallow a depth ~200mm when it should have been >375mm according to the Health and Safety Executive. I lost the case with the judge ruling that it was the reckless use of a mechanical digger that caused the break in the pipe, not the shallow depth at which it had been laid (over-simplified).

Court costs of £50 were awarded against me, plus the cost of the repair to the pipe. Interest was not awarded against me.

I really do not think that paying for legal advice would have helped my case, and would therefore have been a waste of money.

The First Tier Tribunal is set up for people to present their own case, and this is why legal costs are rarely awarded. It is a simple matter to put your case and leave it to the tribunal to interpret the lease and lease covenants. I have already offered help in trawling through half of London's First Tier Tribunal judgements looking for a suitable judgement that may support your case, but will not offer cash for legal advice which would be of little value.
 
EddieEagle

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If you get to £4,990 then I will find a tenner...But
I am sure we all wish you well yet, a bit like when a will is read, where money is involved our best intentions go straight out of the window.....
Best wishes in any event.
 
Bellcrew

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Unfortunately 1st tier tribunal (property chamber) has been filed by the 'right to manage' company Directors.

This is a stressful situation beyond our control and a real cause of anxiety for us.

We await the filing correspondence from the courts to find out exactly what we are accused of doing wrong.

While we await, with obvious trepidation, we consider our position, fairness is cost related and as much as we would dearly love to challenge, unfortunately we are not currently in a position to fund legal representation but feel we are being wrongly done to and have a strong argument to support our continued use of our demised parking space to park our beloved VW California.

Is there any appetite for crowd funding this legal challenge amongst the Cali community?

Our legal advice to date has stated the worst case scenario would be, as the respondent, £5,000 for our
legal costs for preparation and representation on the day and possible recovery claim via the courts from the applicant of their costs should the determination be not in our favour circa £6,000
We are told this estimate is 'high', erring on the side of caution.

As they say 'desperate men' take desperate measures.
I am throwing this idea out there, purely to gauge if this approach is worth exploring further.

Basically to create a general fund for all Cali forum subscribers - in support of the protection of our common love, lifestyle and freedom.

If there were 1,000 Cali owners interested in supporting our quest it would take circa £10.00 contribution each to raise 10k - victory shared in setting precedence, for reference in potential future court cases.

Funds controlled via the VW cali forum administrators - review and approval pending.

Look forward to your responses.

Tomcali
I would be happy to contribu
Unfortunately 1st tier tribunal (property chamber) has been filed by the 'right to manage' company Directors.

This is a stressful situation beyond our control and a real cause of anxiety for us.

We await the filing correspondence from the courts to find out exactly what we are accused of doing wrong.

While we await, with obvious trepidation, we consider our position, fairness is cost related and as much as we would dearly love to challenge, unfortunately we are not currently in a position to fund legal representation but feel we are being wrongly done to and have a strong argument to support our continued use of our demised parking space to park our beloved VW California.

Is there any appetite for crowd funding this legal challenge amongst the Cali community?

Our legal advice to date has stated the worst case scenario would be, as the respondent, £5,000 for our
legal costs for preparation and representation on the day and possible recovery claim via the courts from the applicant of their costs should the determination be not in our favour circa £6,000
We are told this estimate is 'high', erring on the side of caution.

As they say 'desperate men' take desperate measures.
I am throwing this idea out there, purely to gauge if this approach is worth exploring further.

Basically to create a general fund for all Cali forum subscribers - in support of the protection of our common love, lifestyle and freedom.

If there were 1,000 Cali owners interested in supporting our quest it would take circa £10.00 contribution each to raise 10k - victory shared in setting precedence, for reference in potential future court cases.

Funds controlled via the VW cali forum administrators - review and approval pending.

Look forward to your responses.

Tomcali
Your problem is that comment in the V5C that lists the body type as a Motor Caravan, Parkers have an article about van speed limits that makes the comment listed below, can any Marco Polo owners lurking on this site confirm that they are all listed as MPV's.
If VW went down the same route you could refute the claim that you are parking a caravan in you space.
I would be willing to pay £10 into your crowd funding site.

What are the speed limits for campervans?
There are only two manufacturer-built campervans sold in the UK: the VW California and the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo. Both are legally allowed to drive as fast as a regular car.

van-speed-limits-06.jpg


However, the two brands have gone about this in different ways. The California is classed as a 'motor caravan', while the Marco Polo is labelled an 'MPV'.
 
Perfectos

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Hi Tom,
Sadly it’s not a question of the more money the better the outcome, representation at the tribunal can simply be made by yourself and is informal.
The indicative costs for the representation seems ridiculously high, the only persons benefitting would be your legal team. (Win or lose).

The tribunal will want to hear from you personally and your side of the story, to understand why this has occurred and why each party believes the other to be incorrect and why the case has been brought to the tribunal.
yes you can have representation from a legal team, but the tribunal will still want you to put your side forward by yourself, as in post #1

As I said before I don’t envy your situation, I can only imagine how stressful it must be, but it is your individual situation.
There are intricacies that we’re never fully resolved or answered on this forum, the suggestions from many were to open a dialogue with the freeholder and take legal advice to establish some basic facts regarding the original conveyancing solicitor, which it’s unclear from the thread if this was investigated fully.
VW were not willing to help, despite having a vested interest!
You will not go to jail, but you will have an answer after the tribunal, which ever way it goes and all parties will have to comply with the ruling.

Personally I would Save the legal expense, in my experience the judge will weigh everything up and come to a balanced decision based It may not be totally to your liking but you will have a definitive answer. It will be for the tribunal to decide if the other parties legal fees should be paid when balancing the reasons for the case to be brought before the tribunal.

You originally posted in the forum for any advice, words of comfort / support or a listening ear on this forum, to which there were many and I hope you found useful and supportive.
I presume Your original statement and facts remain unchanged, and therefore presumably still believe you have a water tight case.

I do genuinely pity your plight, and wish you every success.
 
Drpps

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I hope your case is progressing favourably but would another option now, as above, be to trade up to a new/nearly new Ocean as they seem to be following Mercedes and are being classified as MPV/Diesel car rather than motorcaravan since earlier this year?
That would throw a spanner in their argument.
 
Digger

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I hope your case is progressing favourably but would another option now, as above, be to trade up to a new/nearly new Ocean as they seem to be following Mercedes and are being classified as MPV/Diesel car rather than motorcaravan since earlier this year?
That would throw a spanner in their argument.
The classification to MPV was purely to comply with a DVLA taxation edict. As far as the DfT are concerned still a motor caravan. I do hope Tomcali is successful as a California is never an eyesore and as small as many estate or suv cars.
 
2into1

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I I’m just checking that the OP @Tomcali has seen the current thread that seems to have concluded that newly registered Cali’s of all types are now MPVs and no longer motor caravans. I know it’s been raised then rather dashed in the two posts above, but I think it’s massively important in this fight and wanted to be doubly sure it’s been understood.
 
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What would have happened if you had one of these on the back?

s-l300.jpg
 
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Tomcali

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What would have happened if you had one of these on the back?

View attachment 48334
Thank you for replies.
The case is ongoing.
The judge found in our favour on x2 counts but x1 against.
one allegation thrown out because it was not a covenant, and the evidence we produced to prove the unladen weight was accepted as compelling - a ticket from an approved public weigh bridge.

The case has now boiled down to - is the vehicle 'any caravan'?
We have made an application to appeal - submitted 25th July.
We should receive a response from the 1st tier judge within 6 weeks.

The DVLA have confirmed that the body type on the V5C is entered by the manufacturer when they register the vehicle. The purpose is so it can be recognised externally by enforcement agencies ie: parking attendants, police etc.

It does not indicate how the vehicle is being used.

The court accept the vehicle qualifies as a motor car - section 185 road traffic act 1988 but stated this does not preclude it from also being a caravan however, this has not been proven by statute.

The oversight by the tribunal, that forms the basis of the appeal, is that the tribunal have determined what the vehicle is but they must consider what the vehicle is when it is on the property, so their decision aligns to the covenant in the lease.

It has been pointed out that the vehicle cannot be in both conditions at the very same time. Adapted (roof extended and seats turned so one can access and stand up) and being configured as a legal motor car.
It is reasonable to say that a legal motor car is driven over the threshold and like wise a motor car is legally driven off the property.
In between, if the vehicle is not adapted in any way nothing other than a motor car is parked on the property and therefore a breach has not occurred in this case.

The issue is now more than 8 months old and counting.
Thank you for continued interest and support.

Watch this space!
 
Meoncoast

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thanks for the update. Are you still parking at home while this is going on.
 
Amarillo

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It has been pointed out that the vehicle cannot be in both conditions at the very same time. Adapted (roof extended and seats turned so one can access and stand up) and being configured as a legal motor car.
It is reasonable to say that a legal motor car is driven over the threshold and like wise a motor car is legally driven off the property.
In between, if the vehicle is not adapted in any way nothing other than a motor car is parked on the property and therefore a breach has not occurred in this case.
I love that logic - unfortunately it seems flawed: a tent is still a tent even if folded and in a bag.

It reminds me of a trick urban legend has for taking a bicycle on the Docklands Light Railway by taking off the front wheel and saying it was no longer a bicycle but two packages.

I hope you convince the judge.
 
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