Residential park bond, rent and other charges
Bond and rent in advance
You can ask for up to four weeks' rent as a bond along with up to two weeks' rent in advance at the start of the residential park agreement. You can't ask for any other money to be paid at the start of an agreement.
A receipt must be given to the resident within 48 hours of receiving the bond even if this was paid directly into a bank account.
A resident may be able to get some financial assistance to pay the bond through Housing SA.
A bond guarantee provided by Housing SA must be receipted and lodged within the required time frame and must also be lodged before the 'to be lodged by' date issued by Housing SA.
The guarantee form must be signed by all parties to the bond. An unsigned guarantee form will not be accepted by CBS.
Lodging a bond
All bonds must be lodged with Consumer and Business Services (CBS) within seven days using a bond lodgement form . CBS will hold the bond until the end of the tenancy.
If the bond is paid to you in cash or cheque you can choose to give authority to CBS to debit this amount directly from your bank account. This can be organised for a once-off transaction or as an ongoing arrangement for future bond payments.
To organise a direct debit transaction:
- Complete either an individual direct debit request authority or a multiple direct debit transactions form.
- Attach this to the bond lodgement form.
- Lodge all completed documents with CBS.
If an ongoing direct debit request is in place you don't have to resubmit this form each time a bond is received. Instead, submit a bond batch summary form together with the bond lodgement form.
Changing details on a lodged bond
You will need to notify CBS using the appropriate forms if a bond is lodged and there has been a change of:
- resident , usually if a residential park agreement has been assigned to another person
- park owner
- the person authorised to sign for bond transactions - eg a new staff member.
Claiming and refunding a bond
You can claim all or part of a bond lodged with CBS or it can be released in full to the resident, or to Housing SA if they provided the bond, using the bond refund form .
If the resident disagrees with a claim on the bond and has lodged a dispute you must be able to substantiate any claims you wish to make - eg provide quotes or bills for repairs. Residents have the right to dispute any claim you may make on a bond. Any dispute will be dealt with the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).
You can claim for:
- repairs and cleaning bills as required
- unpaid rent and service charges
- costs associated with re-advertising and re-letting a site or dwelling if a resident has left a fixed term agreement before the end date.
Money from any bond claims will usually be posted to you in the form of a cheque or you can set up an EFT transaction with CBS to have any bond money transferred directly into a bank account.
To organise this complete an EFT payment request and return this to CBS.
Changing the rent
Increasing the rent
You can only increase the rent:
- if it has been at least 12 months since the last increase or since the start of the residential park agreement, and you have given the resident at least 60 days' written notice of rent increase .
- within 60 days of a housing improvement order being lifted and after providing residents with at least 14 days' written notice of rent increase.
If a fixed term agreement is in place rent cannot be increased for the duration of the agreement unless it includes a condition that specifically allows for an increase in the rent.
If specific rent increases are set out in an agreement and the date on which the increases will occur are clearly defined, written notice is not required.
Residents can apply to SACAT if they believe a rent increase is excessive. SACAT can make an order determining the amount of rent and the length of time the rent must remain at this amount.
Reducing the rent
Rent can be reduced by agreement of all parties and can occur on a temporary basis. Residents should be made aware of the date rent will revert back to the original amount.
Receipts must be given to residents within 48 hours of the money being received.
If rent is paid directly into a bank account you do not have to issue a receipt to the resident as the bank's transaction records are considered receipts, but you must still maintain proper records of any rent paid.
You must always issue the resident with a receipt for bond money, even if it is paid directly into a bank account.
You must give residents receipts for:
- service and utility charges
- any other payments made.
Other fees and charges
Charges for services and utilities - eg electricity, water, can be included in a residential park agreement as separate charges if the site being rented is individually metered for them.
If there is no individual meter for a rented property these charges can be included in the rent charge.
Residents can ask for the details for services charged separately. If you don't provide this information to them, they don't have to pay for them.
The information about service charges you provide should include:
- the amount the resident has used
- the dollar amount of the charges
- the period of time the charge relates to.
If you provide bottled gas to a resident they are responsible for filling the gas bottle as needed and paying for the gas they use.
Fees for overnight visitors
You can include it as a condition of the residential park agreement that a fee will be charged for overnight visitors to the park. The dollar amount for this should be clearly stated in the agreement or in the park rules.
Things you can’t charge for
You can't ask for any money from a resident:
- for the provision of a key, opening device or information needed for 24 hour access to the park
- to consider or consent to the renewal or extension of a residential park agreement.