This information is to help park residents understand their rights in circumstances where the park owner or manager has told residents they will have to vacate their homes or sites because the park is going to be redeveloped, or where there are rumours of the park closing.
Residents in this position are covered by the Residential Parks Act 1998 and there are clear laws dealing with the situation. It is important that residents obtain information from NSW Fair Trading, a local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service, their solicitor or Community Legal Centre before making any decisions about leaving.
People who live in a residential park (a caravan park, mobile home village or manufactured home estate) as their principal place of residence have protection by law. This applies whether you occupy your own moveable dwelling and just rent the site or you rent a park–owned dwelling. While the laws apply differently depending on whether you own your dwelling or rent it, it is a very serious offence for a park owner or manager to wrongly evict you from your home.
Like any other tenancy arrangement, there is no guarantee that any park resident can stay in their park indefinitely. But there are very strict procedures for park owners to follow if they want to bring your tenancy to an end. They must give you a proper written notice of termination, and in cases where you own your home, give you a reason for wanting possession.
You are not obliged to leave the park just because you are given a notice of termination. This is one of the most important rights of residents.
You do not have to move out until an order has been made by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. You have the right to be heard by the Tribunal and to put your case forward.
The Tribunal may, or may not, make a termination order. Park owners have to prove their cases. For instance if the park owner says the park is to be redeveloped but there is no Development Application with the local council, the Tribunal will take this into account.
Even if the Tribunal does make an order for you to leave, it may allow a long period before you have to go and may award you compensation to move. The notice of termination is just the first step in the process and it may not succeed.
If you receive a notice of termination you should obtain immediate advice on what you should do next.
|NOTE - If the park owner tells you that the park is going to be redeveloped but does not give you a notice of termination, you are not required to do anything. The termination of agreement process does not even begin until a written notice of termination has been given to you. While you are free to make your own decision to move in these circumstances, there is no compulsion to do so.|
If you want to, you may negotiate with the park owner about leaving rather than go through the Tribunal process, but you cannot be made to negotiate unless you are happy about it. If you own your dwelling and you come to an agreement with the park owner to move your dwelling to another park, you are entitled to ask the park owner for compensation for the relocation. If possible, you should not move until you have been paid the agreed compensation.
While a park owner may choose to pay compensation to any resident being asked to leave, compensation is only payable under the laws to those residents who rent sites for their own moveable dwellings (ie. relocatable homes or registrable moveable dwellings with rigid annexes).
If you rent a site for your own dwelling you must be given at least 12 months written notice. If you are just renting a dwelling, you must be given at least 60 days written notice. But remember, you do not have to move when you receive a notice of termination. Notice cannot be given for you to leave before any fixed term agreement in place expires.
The Assistance Protocol for Residential Park Closures provides a framework for co-operation between government agencies to ensure that residents who have been displaced by a park closure have access to the services and support they need. The protocol was developed by Housing NSW in conjunction with NSW Fair Trading and other agencies. It is available from the Fair Trading website or by calling 13 32 20.
The key focus of the protocol is to coordinate targeted assistance to individuals and families who are most vulnerable and at risk of homelessness.
Under the law, park owners must advise Housing NSW of a proposed closure and the protocol will be activated at this time. Park residents and community workers can also contact Housing NSW if they have information about a possible park closure.
In particular, the protocol:
You may have received the NSW Fair Trading booklet Residential Park Living when you moved in. It explains the main laws about park tenancies and is available from the Fair Trading website or by calling 13 32 20.
|IMPORTANT – You do not have to move out just because you have been told that the park may be redeveloped some time in the future.|
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