Changes to improve the security of long-stay tenancy agreements and promote fair and transparent arrangements between park operators and tenants will come into effect on 31 January 2022.
Long-stay tenancies can involve living in a caravan, mobile home or park home located within a caravan park or lifestyle village.
The changes to the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006 will affect new residential park agreements and some will apply to existing residential park agreements.
The laws cover on-site home agreements – where the tenant rents a site and a dwelling in a residential park, and site-only agreements – where the tenant rents the site from the park operator and owns their own dwelling which is placed on the site.
- Limiting the termination of new fixed-term agreements on the sale of a park or if the owner’s financier takes possession of the park.
- No longer allowing ‘without grounds’ terminations of site-only long-stay agreements, instead setting out specific grounds that will provide greater certainty in relation to termination rights.
- Improved disclosure requirements on contractual issues such as exit fees.
- Clearer rules for park operators, home owners and prospective tenants in relation to the sale of homes.
- Clarification of the park operator’s obligation to enforce park rules in a fair, reasonable and equitable manner.
- Standard lease clauses will apply to all agreements and will no longer be able to be varied.
- Introduction of standard form agreements for new arrangements.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the amendment bill was passed through parliament in June 2020 and implementation of the changes follows extensive consultation with tenants, operators and the community.
“In the past, residents have been particularly exposed if the park operator decides to sell the park or becomes insolvent because they usually own their home but only lease the land on which it sits,” he said.
“These changes to the laws strike a fair balance between upholding the rights of tenants and maintaining the financial viability of the park for operators.
“They provide greater certainty and a clearer understanding of obligations for both residents and operators.”