Skip to main content    Resize your text


Park residents must write to the Minister ASAP

The NSW Greens and Labor have called for an independent review the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act (RLLC Act) in light of revelations about donations made by residential park operator Norton Whitmont towards Liberal MP Chris Hartcher’s 2011 election campaign.[1]

PAVS and CPSA support this call. It is important that the effect of the new Act on park residents is independently assessed before it comes into force. The drafting of the Regulations tied to the Act should be suspended until this independent review takes place.

PAVS and CPSA urge park residents concerned about the RLLC Act to write to the Minister for Fair Trading, Matthew Mason-Cox as soon as possible. Residents should explain why park living needs to be affordable. These letters should be handwritten and sending a picture of you and your home would drive home to the Minister that real people stand to be affected by the new Act.

Letters should be addressed to:

The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox, MLC
Minister for Fair Trading
Level 33 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000

PAVS’s recommendations for changes to the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013

1.    Voluntary sharing arrangements (s110)

The opportunities for operators to secure a share of home owner’s capital have been expanded.  The provision now permits: entry fees; exit fees; deferred site fees and no limit on capital gain or on-site premiums.

Rent only agreements have to be offered in some circumstances but site fees can be increased when entering rent only agreements.  There must be genuine choice.

Recommendation: 

Remove the whole of sections 110 and 111.

2.    Site fee increases (s65, s69, s73 & s74)

The legislation should not enable operators to grab increases in the age pension by linking such increases to site fee increases (s65(2)(a)(ii)).

The value of the land has no relevance to site fees as an individual factor.  Rates payable by the operator are set according to the value of the land and therefore considered in the outgoings.

Removal of an individual’s right to challenge an excessive rent increase and replacing it with a requirement that 25% of home owners must challenge is a serious undermining of a home owners’ rights.  There is merit in dealing with the whole community in rent increase matters but 25% is too high a percentage.

Section 73(4) removes the Tribunal’s discretion and will seriously affect rent increase decisions.

Home owner’s should not be required to pay in advance for projected costs or planned improvements that may never eventuate. 

Recommendations:

Delete any reference to the age pension from (s65(2)(a)(ii)).

Reduce the percentage of home owners required to challenge a rent increase to 10%. 

Delete s73(4) completely.

Delete “projected costs” and “planned improvements” from the matters to be considered by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal when determining excessive site fee increases.

Delete s74(f).

Require operators to distinguish between costs associated with the community and those associated with tourist or other operations operating from the premises.

3.    Site fee increases upon entry into site agreements (s109 & s111)

Site fees are by and large determined by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or by agreement by the home owners and operator.  These site fees are the “fair market value” for the community because a whole range of factors have been considered when setting the site fees.

Recommendations:

Delete s109 (5) and (6) and replace with:

(5) The site fees under a new site agreementmust not exceed the site fees currently payable by the home owner occupying the residential site.

Renumber s109 accordingly.

Delete s111 (3) and (4) and replace with:

(3) A rent only site agreement is a site agreement under which the site fees charged do not exceed the site fees currently payable by the home owner occupying the residential site and which does not contain any voluntary sharing arrangement.

Renumber s111 accordingly.

4.    Special Levy (s50 & 51)

This section is still seriously flawed, unfair and unnecessary.  Home owners should not be paying for park infrastructure. The provision has the potential to divide communities and create conflict between neighbours.

Recommendation:

Remove s50 and s51 completely.

5.    Compensation for termination (s140)

Whenever a home is being relocated due to an operator terminating a site agreement for closure or change of use, or when an operator requires a home owner to relocate, compensation must be paid in advance and the Act must specify what must be paid.  It is unnecessary to have different provisions for different circumstances – the impact on a home owner is the same in each circumstance and compensation must therefore be equivalent.

Recommendation: 

The compensation provision set out in s140 should also apply to s135 (if the operator instigates the relocation) and s136 and it must apply no matter who owns the community to which the home is relocated.