We provide a free complaint service for operators, homeowners, residents and property managers in land lease communities.
How can NSW Fair Trading help me?
A Fair Trading complaint handling officer will work with the parties involved to try to reach a mutually agreeable outcome. Most disputes can be sorted out by the parties involved talking through the issues, with the help of a Fair Trading officer.
Generally, we aim to finalise a matter within 30 days of receiving the complaint.
Which matters can Fair Trading help me with?
We can assist you with land lease community issues about:
- repairs and maintenance or alterations
- non-urgent health and safety issues
- access to premises or inspections
- non-compliance with site agreement
- provision of correct notices
- ending a tenancy or breaking a lease
- condition reports
- rent/ site/ occupancy fees
- non-lodgement of a rental bond
- reduction in features/ benefits/ facilities in the community
- refunding overpaid rent
- high/ unknown fees or charges, including utilities
- voluntary mediation or referral by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) for mediation
- guidance on whether your matter is one suitable for the Tribunal
During the complaint process
All parties involved need to be prepared to explain their position and listen to what the other party has to say. All parties will benefit when each is willing to negotiate and make suggestions to help settle the matter.
What is the role of the Fair Trading Officer?
Fair Trading officers are qualified and skilled in handling complaints. Our officers will:
- provide impartial advice to the parties with the complaint
- allow all parties to put forward their position
- explain the relevant matters in the complaint
- confirm that all relevant matters have been discussed
- make suggestions about ways to finalise the complaint
- identify which complaints can be forwarded to our Mediation Services Unit for formal mediation.
Our officers will not:
- take sides or represent either party
- offer any legal advice
- continue with the complaint handling process if the parties do not show a willingness to reach an agreeable settlement.
The complaint process is voluntary and its success depends on parties cooperating. We cannot force any party to continue with the complaint process.
What happens if there is no resolution?
If we cannot help the parties to agree to a resolution, either party may take their dispute to the Tribunal. Go to the Tribunal website for more information.
We may also recommend for complaints to be forwarded to our Mediation Services Unit for formal mediation, or that you seek independent legal advice.
Applications to Fair Trading for mediation may be made by an operator, resident, homeowners or their representatives.
The matter must be one where an order can be sought from the Tribunal but should not already be facing proceedings before the Tribunal.
Fair Trading will assess the matter to determine if it will be referred to:
- our complaint handling staff
- a formal mediation process
- the Tribunal directly.
Fair Trading may reject the application if:
- it is considered to be vexatious, misconceived, frivolous or lacking in substance
- the applicant has not responded, or responded inadequately, to a request by the Commissioner for further information
- the matter has been or is currently the subject of mediation or proceedings before the Tribunal and further action is not warranted.
With regards to an application to the Tribunal, the Tribunal may, with the consent of the parties, refer a matter to us for mediation.
It is compulsory for Fair Trading to mediate disputes about site fee increases on notice. Applications must be submitted to our Mediation Services for mediation before they go to the Tribunal.
What is the role of the mediator?
The mediator’s role is to encourage the settlement of the dispute by helping the parties to negotiate. This would include promoting the open exchange of information relevant to the dispute and provide to the parties information about the operation of this Act relevant to a settlement of the dispute.
A mediator does not have the power to determine any matter in dispute. A settlement agreed to in a mediation is binding as long as it is consistent with this Act. The settlement must be in writing and signed by or for the parties.
The Tribunal can make orders to give effect to any agreement or arrangement arising out of mediation.