Residential park agreements
Residential park agreements are leases that set out the rights and responsibilities of the resident and the park operator.
A site or a site and dwelling can be rented as a principal place of residence. This can range from a manufactured home through to a moveable dwelling such as a caravan.
All park rules and residential agreements must comply with the Residential Parks Act 2007 if this is the resident's principal place of residence for 60 days or longer.
Types of agreement
There are two main types of agreements:
- residential park site agreement - where only a site with no dwelling is rented
- residential park tenancy agreement - where both a site and a dwelling on the site are rented such as a caravan, transportable home, cabin.
Park operators do not need to offer the same type of agreement to all residents.
The resident cannot be charged for the cost of preparing the agreement.
The length of the agreement will depend on the type of agreement offered.
These types of agreements can continue indefinitely.
These can be for any specific length of time such as 12 months. The end date for the tenancy can't be changed by either the resident or the park operator without negotiation and agreement by both parties unless it is done through an order of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Short fixed term agreements are for a period of 90 days or less and the same rules for a fixed term agreement apply.
The park operator is responsible for organising all necessary documentation, including the residential park agreement, and paying any costs associated with this.
Residential park agreements must:
- be in writing
- clearly identify the site
- be signed by all parties
- have all details of the park operator and the contact details and full name of the park operator or company
- have the full name and place of occupation of the resident.
Documents the park operator must provide
Residential park site agreement
Before a resident signs an agreement, or a site agreement is reviewed, the operator needs to give the resident certain documents.
The operator must provide these documents at least 14 days before an agreement is signed:
- rights and responsibilities information sheet .
- disclosure statement
- site condition report.
- park rules
The park operator must provide the following documents at any time before an agreement is signed:
- written notice of any fees a resident may need to pay in addition to rent
- information about whether a resident will be entitled to any payments (other than a bond) when they leave the site, and how the amount will be worked out
- details of who to contact if emergency repairs are needed
- written notice stating the resident's rights to sell or relocate a dwelling on the site, and what will happen if the resident is unable to sell the dwelling after a period of time.
An agreement can be signed sooner than 14 days if:
- the agreement is for a short term (90 days or less), and
- the resident signs a waiver confirming it is their own choice to sign up sooner.
It is also recommended that the park operator provides the resident with a copy of the Guide for residents – who rent only a site
For a tenancy agreement for a dwelling and site, the operator must provide:
- a copy of the rights and responsibilities information sheet .
- copy of the park rules
- written notice of any fees a resident may need to pay in addition to rent
- information about whether a resident will be entitled to any payments (other than a bond) when they leave the site, and how the amount will be determined
- details of who to contact if emergency repairs are needed.
It is also recommended that the resident is provided with a copy of the Guide for residents – who rent both a site and a dwelling
Refusing a resident
A park operator can't refuse a potential resident on the condition that a child will be living there unless:
- it is a park rule that residents must be over 50 years of age
- the operator lives in a dwelling adjacent to the site the child would be living in.
Refusing a resident with a child for any other reasons can be considered to be discrimination and carry a fine.
It is recommended that operators use the following templates for residential park agreements.
- Site agreement – fixed term
- Site agreement – periodic
- Tenancy agreement – fixed term
- Tenancy agreement – periodic
After an agreement is signed
Once a written agreement has been signed, the resident must be provided with:
- A copy of the agreement, which must include a copy of the park rules. Site agreements must also include a date for when the agreement will be reviewed.
- Instructions on how to use any appliance or device as part of the rented property or common areas.
Park operators may choose to complete the checklist provided in the agreement templates, to ensure that all of the required documents are given to the resident.
There must be a safety evacuation plan for a residential park and a copy provided to residents or made available for them to view. The evacuation plan must be reviewed at least once a year in consultation with the residents committee.
Site agreements must include a date for when the agreement will be reviewed with the resident.
Periodic agreements that commenced before 12 August 2019 must include the date, or approximate date when the resident was first granted the right to occupy the site.
Selling a dwelling
Residents have the right to sell their own portable dwelling, such as a caravan and buy a new one for the site. They don't need the park operator's permission.
If a resident’s dwelling is a more permanent structure on the site and cannot be removed, they must notify the park operator in writing of their intention to sell their dwelling and transfer their site agreement over to the buyer. The operator cannot unreasonably refuse to assign a site agreement.
If a resident dies, their estate may decide to sell the dwelling. The estate must inform the park operator and give them first option to purchase the dwelling at market value. The estate is not bound in any way to accept any offer made. If no agreement to purchase is reached within 28 days of the operator being given notice of an intention to sell a dwelling, it may be offered for sale to another person.
Operators can choose to allow residents at their park to sub-let their site to someone else, or make a park rule that residents are not allowed to sub-let at that park.
A resident will be breaching their agreement if they sub-let without the park operator's permission.
If the park rules allow sub-letting, a resident will need to enter into a sub-tenancy agreement with the operator. It is best to put the sub-tenancy agreement in writing.
Assigning an agreement to someone else
Assigning an agreement means to transfer it to another person.
If a resident wants to assign their agreement to someone else they must get written approval from the park operator. The operator cannot refuse unless there is a good reason.
The operator can charge a small amount to cover their administrative costs for transferring an agreement.
At least 14 days before a resident’s agreement is assigned to another person, the resident must advise that person to contact the park operator to request the required documents - see the list above under ‘Documents the park operator must provide’. The operator must provide the required documents and information within seven days of receiving the request.
Breach of the agreement
If the operator breaches the agreement, the resident can give them a notice to terminate the agreement.
If a resident breaches the agreement the operator can give them a Notice to resident to remedy breach of agreement . The breach notice will state how much time the resident has to rectify the problem. If the problem is not fixed by the deadline, the agreement will end and the resident will need to move out of the park by the date specified on the notice. If the resident does not move out, the operator can apply to SACAT for an ‘order of possession’.
New park owner
If ownership of the residential park changes the new owner must give residents written notice of the change of owner within 14 days. If this is not provided the new owner may be fined.