Traveller Caravan Purchase Scheme

Local authorities may provide loans to travellers to buy caravans.

The 2023 Caravan Loan Scheme provides for 80 caravans or €3.2m nationally. Following a comprehensive evaluation of the 2022 scheme, including feedback from local authorities and national Traveller organisations, the 2023 scheme will include some changes to the 2022 scheme. These include:

  • A deposit of €500 is deemed sufficient from the applicant to contribute.
  • Local authorities are to ensure there is an appeals process in place for refusals and notify applicants of the outcome of their application appeal.
  • The monitoring of repayments and provision of data for all caravan loans approved from the original pilot for further review at end of March 2024 will form part of the scheme.
  • A commitment to ensure the minimum repayment rates of €20/week are upheld by the local authority.

Full conditions of the 2023 scheme are set out below.

Conditions of the Scheme

  • Loans may be advanced to a person assessed by the local authority as being in need of accommodation (either on the social housing waiting list or in need of an upgraded caravan/mobile as their principal residence) and not in a position to provide for same partially or fully from their own resources.
  • The amount of a loan advanced will be subject to a maximum of €40,000 inclusive of VAT. The owner of the caravan must provide €500 deposit towards the purchase price. In cases of hardship, local authorities may use discretion.
  • In order to ensure affordability, the monthly loan repayment amounts will be calculated at a preferential rate based on the price of the caravan/mobile and the income of the household
  • The loan will be for a specified period of time which will be agreed in advance and based on the expected life-span of the caravan/mobile. The owner may apply for a further loan following the expiration of the previous repaid loan.
  • The repayment on the loan will terminate after the agreed specified period of time with no further payments due to the local authority once all payments are made.
  • The borrower will own whatever equity stake is in the caravan/mobile when the final unpaid loan balance is written down after the expected life of the caravan/mobile has passed assuming all terms and conditions have been complied with.
  • In the event of a breach of the agreement, the borrower will be liable to pay the full amount of the loan as a simple contract debt (rather than at preferential rates) and the borrower will be ineligible for further loans. The local authority will take appropriate steps to recover the outstanding loan.
  • The loan will not cover costs of any modification or style preferences to the caravan/mobile.
  • Traveller applicants who normally reside outside the State will not be eligible to apply for the loan scheme.

Responsibilities of the Parties

The Borrower

  • Identify potential caravan/mobiles for purchase and providing 3 quotations from suppliers that are acceptable to the local authority
  • Satisfy themselves that the caravan/mobile to be purchased represents value for money and that it meets the needs of the household concerned.
  • Pay €500 at initial application stage.
  • Maintain the caravan/mobile.
  • Make best efforts to insure the caravan/mobile.
  • Provide information including income details to the local authority to enable the authority to ascertain the loan repayment amounts.
  • Consent to the mandatory Central Credit Register (CCR) enquiry. This consent will be used to conduct a new enquiry as part of the credit assessment process.
  • Complying with conditions agreed with the local authority including where the caravan/ mobile should be situated and the circumstances in which a caravan/mobile can be moved from the agreed site.

The Local Authority

  • Determine the repayment amount using the formula outlined below. The weekly repayment amount must be at least €20 per week.
  • Ensure that caravans/mobiles are purchased from approved, VAT registered suppliers.
  • Satisfy themselves that the caravan/mobile is of an appropriate standard.
  • Ensure that funds are properly paid directly to the supplier.
  • Site preparation works and any related costs must be considered.
  • Ensure that the caravan/mobile will be put in a location acceptable to the local authority. (Having regard to planning, land ownership etc)
  • Collect the loan repayments and ring-fencing loan repayments to be used for site maintenance works.
  • Satisfy themselves that the applicant can make the loan repayments and that the loan will be repaid.
  • Advise applicants to contact their local Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) if necessary.
  • Ensure that the loan will be repaid at regular intervals i.e. weekly, monthly etc., through the Household Budget Scheme.
  • The local authority maintains records of repayments and applicants are provided with an annual statement of repayments on loans and the local authority returns data as requested by the Department.
  • Ensure they have an appeals process in place which applicants should be made aware of and notify applicants of the outcome of any appeal.