This checklist is for people who are thinking about signing a Part 4A site agreement to live in a residential park or village. Part 4A site agreements are for people who live in a residential park, own a moveable dwelling and rent the site the dwelling is on. A residential park might be a caravan park or lifestyle village. A moveable dwelling might be a pre-fab home or cabin. Site agreements cover the land that is being rented for the home.
Site agreements are legal contracts. They must be in writing. If you previously had a verbal agreement with the park operator, make sure your written agreement has the same terms.
On this page:
For more information on your rights and responsibilities under a site agreement:
This checklist is not a substitute for independent legal advice.
Before you sign a site agreement
Site agreements must be in writing. If you previously had a verbal agreement with the park operator, make sure your written agreement has the same terms.
Check the site agreement
A site agreement must clearly state:
- all the arrangements you discussed with the park operator. You may not be able to rely upon an arrangement that is not in the written agreement
- rent, fees and all other charges, including:
- how the rent, fees and charges are calculated and their purpose
- how the rent, fees and charges can be reviewed or increased. The park operator can only increase the rent if the site agreement allows for this
- any charges that apply when you leave the park – for example, a deferred management fee or exit fee
- any commission the park operator can charge for selling a dwelling
- if the rent will increase after 12 months (or at 12-month intervals) and how the increases will be calculated, for example by a fixed amount or a non-fixed calculation
- how long you can live in the park. If the park registered as a caravan park with the local council for the first time after 1 September 2011, the site agreement must allow you to occupy the site for at least five years
- whether you can renew the site agreement once it expires. If you cannot renew the agreement, make sure it states whether you have to move your dwelling out of the park, or can sell it to a new resident
- who can sell the dwelling. If it is the site owner, check the agreement states how much commission they can charge for arranging the sale.
Site owners must not ask for any payments that are not in the site agreement. The exceptions are a reasonable fee to supply additional or replacement keys or security devices for park access (the first one must be given for free) and a reasonable extra charge for a visitor who stays on the site.
The site agreement must not include any prohibited terms. Certain terms in a site agreement are prohibited and treated as invalid. It is prohibited to include a term which:
- binds you to a contract that you did not agree to in writing after having an opportunity to review it before entering into the agreement
- requires you to indemnify the park owner
- prevents you from making a claim for compensation because the site is not available on the commencement date of the agreement
- requires you to pay rent or a hiring charge in advance by a payment method which requires additional costs (other than bank fees or account fees payable on your bank account)
- requires you to use the services of a third party service provider nominated by the park owner other than an embedded network
- makes you liable for the park owner’s costs of filing an application at the Tribunal
- makes you liable by default for an insurance excess to be paid under the park owner’s insurance policy
- a term which imposes fixed fees for terminating an agreement early, unless the basis for calculating the fixed fees has been set out in the agreement.
Make sure the site owner or park operator has given you:
- the full name and address of the park operator (or their agent) for service of documents
- a copy of the park rules
- if the park is in an area liable to flooding, a written notification of this
- a copy of Movable dwelling guide
- a plan of the park, showing the location of your dwelling
- a copy of the site agreement 20 days before asking you to sign it. It is an offence for the park operator to ask you to sign the site agreement within the 20 days
- the 5-day cooling-off notice with the copy of the site agreement
- if you paid a bond, a copy of the signed bond lodgement form. It is rare for site tenants to be asked to pay a bond or complete a condition report. If you do, the park operator must lodge the bond with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority within 10 business days after you pay it.
Park operators must also tell you:
- if there is an intention to sell the park or site or if the services of an agent have been engaged or a sale contract is being prepared
- if a mortgagee intends to take possession of the park
- whether the park owner is the freehold owner of the park, including the nature of the park owner’s interest in the land and if it impacts or limits their ability to enter into an agreement
- details on any embedded electricity network if the site or park is separately metered for electricity and the site or park is supplied with electricity from the same network
- if the park, or your site, is in an area liable to flooding
- if the park, or your site, is in an area liable to subsidence
- details of your liabilities, or estimated liabilities, if the site tenant permanently departed after one, two, five or 10 years residence in the park or Part 4A site
- whether the park is being operated under a lease.
This information must be given to you in an ‘approved form’. This means it must be the form provided by Consumer Affairs Victoria. You can view the site agreement form here.
Site tenants can apply to VCAT if these disclosures are not made.
Other things you should check:
- check the park is registered with the local council
- ask whether the site owner intends to change any of the park rules soon, so you know about possible future changes
- get legal or financial advice if you are unsure about any part of the site agreement
- know what the site agreement will cost you in the longer term, for example, when you leave
- understand what is involved when you leave at the end of your tenancy, or if you decide to leave at an earlier date
- make sure you have the complete site agreement, including any schedules or attachments.
There are things park operators cannot ask you
A park operator is not allowed to ask for certain information from potential residents. The following information cannot be requested:
- whether the applicant has previously taken legal action or has had a dispute with a rental provider
- the applicant’s bond history, including whether they have had a claim made on their bond
- certain protected attributes outlined in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (e.g. ethnicity), but if they do so they must provide the reason they are requesting that information in writing
- a statement from a credit or bank account containing daily transactions.
Time allowed to consider the site agreement
You have 20 days (including weekends), starting the day after you receive the site agreement, to consider whether to sign. The park operator cannot ask you to sign the agreement until the 21st day after they give you the agreement.
Additional time to cool off
You have five business days to cool off (change your mind) after you sign a site agreement. This cooling-off period begins the day after you sign. It excludes weekends and public holidays.
If you change your mind and withdraw from the site agreement within the cooling-off period, you are treated as if you never signed it in the first place. You get back any deposit you have paid to the site owner, less $100.
Once you have signed a site agreement
- Keep a copy of the site agreement and related documents, and store them somewhere safe.
- If your details change during the agreement period, let the park operator know in writing, within seven days.
Right to cancel a purchase agreement for a movable dwelling
If you decide not to proceed with a site agreement and you have entered into a purchase agreement for a dwelling in the park, you have the right to cancel the purchase agreement.
You only have this right if you (or your agent) purchased the movable dwelling from either the:
- site owner
- site owner acting on someone else’s behalf
- site owner agent.
As well, you only have the right to cancel the purchase agreement if the site owner gave you a related site agreement and you either:
- decided not to sign in within the 20 days you had to consider the agreement
- signed it but then decided to cancel it during the cooling-off period.
A related site agreement is an agreement for a site on which the dwelling purchased is currently located, or is intended to be located.
If you decide not to sign the related site agreement within the 20 days, you can also cancel the dwelling purchase agreement before the 20 days are over.
If you sign the site agreement and decide to cancel within the five-business-day cooling-off period, you can cancel the purchase agreement at the same time.
To cancel a purchase agreement, you must give written notice to the person you bought the dwelling from.
Getting money back when cancelling a purchase agreement
If you cancel the purchase agreement, you will be treated as though you never signed it in the first place. You are entitled to get back any money you paid, including your deposit.
If the site owner refuses to return your money, you can apply to VCAT for an order requiring the repayment. However, if you have damaged the dwelling, VCAT can order you to pay compensation to the site owner or a related party.
When a purchase right cannot be cancelled
If you bought a dwelling from a current or previous site tenant who is not an agent or a related party of the park operator or park owner, you cannot cancel the purchase agreement along with the site agreement.
You should access legal advice to find out if you have any rights if you do not want to proceed with the purchase. You can still end the site agreement (if it is within the cancellation or cooling-off period), or else you can give notice.
Sections of the Act
If you want to know what the law says about site agreements, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:
- Part 4A
- 206E – site agreements to be in writing
- 206H – minimum terms for site agreements
- 206I – Site agreement consideration period
- 206J – Cooling off period
- 206JA – Cooling off period – Part 4A dwelling purchase agreement
- 206JF – Information that site owners must disclose before entering into site agreements.