This checklist is for people intending to enter into a site agreement to live in a park (renting the land, owning a movable dwelling - also called a manufactured home or relocatable home). Use this checklist to make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities, and to make sure they are properly set out in the agreement.
Site agreements, also called leases, are legal contracts. They must be in writing. If you previously had a verbal agreement with the site owner, make sure your written agreement has the same terms.
For more information on your rights and responsibilities under a site agreement:
This checklist is not a substitute for independent legal advice.
On this page:
Before you sign a site agreement
Check your site agreement clearly states:
- all the arrangements you discussed with the site owner. 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 site owner 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 site owner can charge for selling a dwelling
- 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. However, the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 allows a site owner to charge a reasonable one-off fee for the supply of a key for park access, or a reasonable extra charge for any visitor who stays on your site.
Make sure the site owner has given you:
- the full name and address of the owner (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 dwellings: a guide for residents, owners and managers (PDF, 854KB)
- 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 site owner to ask you to sign the site agreement within the 20 days
- the five-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 site owner must lodge the bond with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority within 10 business days after you pay it.
- check the park is registered with the local council
- ask if the park is in an area liable to flooding
- 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
- 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.
Time allowed to consider the site agreement
You have a 20-day period, starting the day after you receive the site agreement, to consider whether to sign. This period includes weekend days. The site owner cannot ask you to sign the agreement until the 21st day after the day you were given the agreement to read through and consider.
Time allowed 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.
When you have signed a site agreement:
- you have five business days to change your mind after you sign the site agreement
- keep a copy of the site agreement and related documents and store them somewhere safe
- inform the site owner within seven days, in writing, if your details change during the agreement period.
For more about your rights and responsibilities while living in a residential park, view our Residential parks page.
If you have already bought a movable dwelling in the park
In some cases, you will have the right to cancel an agreement to purchase a dwelling if you decide not to proceed with the site agreement.
You may cancel a dwelling purchase agreement if you (or your agent) have purchased the movable dwelling from:
- the park owner
- the owner acting on someone else’s behalf
- the owner’s agent, or
- a party related to the park owner (such as a relative or related company).
If you have been given a site agreement to consider for 20 days and decide not to sign it, you can cancel the dwelling purchase agreement. You must cancel it before the 20 days are over.
If you have already signed the site agreement and decide to cool off within five business days after signing, you can cancel the dwelling purchase agreement at the same time.
If you cancel the purchase agreement within the cooling-off period, you are treated as though you never signed it in the first place. You get back any money you have paid for the movable dwelling, including your deposit.
You should negotiate the return of your money with the park owner. If you cannot reach agreement, you can seek an order (requiring the repayment of this money) from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). However, if you have damaged the movable dwelling, VCAT can order you to pay compensation to the park owner or the related party.
Note: You do not get this right if you purchased the movable dwelling from a current or previous resident who is not an agent or a related party of the park owner. You would need to seek legal advice on whether you have any other rights in relation to the purchase agreement if you do not want to proceed with it.
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