Greater protections for people living in park homes in Western Australia are one step closer after new laws were passed by State Parliament.
Changes to the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006 will give tenants who rent a site or a home in a residential park better clarity with contracts and costs as well as set new rules relating to terminations.
Long-stay tenancies can involve living in a caravan, mobile home or park home located within a caravan park or lifestyle village. The changes follow extensive consultation with tenants, operators and the community generally.
The new laws will ensure fairer dealings and security of contract between park operators and their long-stay tenants, including:
- Limiting the termination of 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 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; and
- Standard lease clauses will no longer be able to be varied and the introduction of standard form agreements for new arrangements.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said these extra protections are important for the members of our community who rely on residential park living as an important and viable housing option.
“As these residents usually own their home but only lease the land on which it sits, they are sometimes lacking protection, so I expect these new laws will give them greater confidence and security,” Ms Chopping said.
“In the past, residents have been particularly exposed if the park operator decides to sell the park or becomes insolvent.
“Many issues affecting long-stay tenants will now be resolved, including certainty of contract, disclosures, costs of park living, sale of a home, exit fees and park liaison committees.
“I believe the laws strike a fair balance between upholding the rights of tenants and maintaining the financial viability of the park for operators.”
Work on developing standard agreements, disclosure material and other regulations has now begun which, when completed, will see the new laws implemented.