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Choosing a residential park
What are residential parks?
If you live in a residential park, you will usually:
- own a movable dwelling (also called a manufactured home or relocatable home), and
- rent the underlying site (land) where your home is located.
You will also have use of the park’s shared facilities and common areas.
Each park has its own rules, which cover things such as noise, parking, visitors and pets.
Parks can have a mix of different dwelling types and rental arrangements. For example, some caravan parks and holiday parks also contain sites for movable dwellings.
Residential parks are often marketed to people over 55 as an affordable housing option. They sometimes seem similar to retirement villages, but there are important differences. For more information, view our What is a retirement village? page.
To learn more about residential parks, download:
Read your site agreement carefully - this is the rental agreement for the land where your home will be located. For key information to help you understand this agreement and your rights, use our Checklist: signing a site agreement.
Moving into a residential park is a significant commitment and it is important to fully understand how it could affect your finances and lifestyle.
We recommend getting independent legal and/or financial advice before you sign a site agreement. For help finding this advice, visit:
Never sign a blank form or blank site agreement.
Buying a movable dwelling
Your contract to buy a movable dwelling is separate from your site agreement. However, in some cases, you can cancel the purchase of a dwelling if you decide not to proceed with the site agreement. For more information, view the Dwelling purchase agreements section of our Site agreement page.
Questions to consider:
- Will you be allowed to make modifications to your home, such as handrails or ramps, if you need them?
- Will you be allowed to keep a pet if you want to?
- If you plan to have family or friends stay with you sometimes, what are the rules that apply to visitors?
- If your circumstances change and you have to leave the park, can you afford any costs involved? For example, you may need to continue paying rent and other charges until your movable dwelling is sold, even if you are no longer living in it
- If your site agreement includes a deferred management fee or other type of exit fee, how much will this be? Not all parks have these fees, so shop around for the deal that best suits you
- Have you planned how to sell or move your home if the park closes? Although movable dwellings are designed to be transportable, it is often costly to do so.
Living in a residential park
To learn about your rights and responsibilities while living in a residential park, view our information on:
A site owner can make rules about the use, enjoyment, control and management of the park, which they must apply fairly and consistently, and you must comply with. Make sure you understand the rules and their implications.
If the site owner wants to change the rules, they must give you at least seven days’ written notice before the changes come into effect. You have 14 days to respond in writing to the proposed changes, and the site owner must reply in writing if you do so.
If you believe a rule is unreasonable, you may apply for a hearing on the matter at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). The tribunal may decide that the rule is unfair and ask the site owner to amend or remove it; or it may find that the rule is reasonable and that it can stay in force.
Park operators must register their park with the local council under the Residential Tenancies (Caravan Parks and Movable Dwellings Registration and Standards) Regulations 2010. These regulations require parks to maintain standards for a wide range of matters, including:
- fire prevention and safety
- emergency management plans
- supply and standard of water
- sewage and waste water
- laundry facilities
- garbage bins
- smoke alarms.
To find your local council, visit the Find your local council page - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
As a site tenant, you are entitled to form and take part in a committee that represents your interests in the park.
The park operator must allow the committee to use suitable communal park facilities for its meetings.
For more information, download the Residents' committee toolkit from the Housing for the Aged Action Group website.
To find out your options for resolving a dispute with the park operator, view our Resolving renting disputes page.
We cannot intervene in disputes between park residents. If your park has a residents’ committee, the committee may be able to help resolve this type of dispute.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria provides free dispute resolution for a range of issues, including tenant vs tenant disputes. Visit the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria website.
Leaving a residential park
To learn about the process for ending your site agreement or transferring it to someone else, view our information on:
Selling your dwelling
If you decide to sell your movable dwelling and leave the park, you can choose to sell the dwelling yourself, use an agent (such as an estate agent), or allow the site owner to sell the dwelling for you.
It is an offence for the site owner to force you to let them sell your dwelling or to interfere with the sale. If you choose to allow the site owner to sell your dwelling, they can only charge a commission if it is set out in the site agreement.
Where to go for information and advice
Housing for the Aged Action Group provides older people with housing information, advice and support. Telephone 1300 765 178 or visit the Housing for the Aged Action Group website.
Seniors Information Victoria provides free information about housing options for older people. Telephone 1300 13 50 90 or visit the Seniors Information Victoria page on the COTA Victoria website.
Victorian Caravan Parks Association (VicParks) provides a list of residential parks that are association members. Visit the Residential parks page on the VicParks website.
The Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program helps people who are financially disadvantaged or experiencing family violence to resolve private tenancy issues. View our Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program page.
Dwelling purchase agreement – a contract to buy a movable dwelling. For more information, view our Site agreement page.
Movable dwelling – also known as a manufactured home or relocatable home. A movable dwelling is designed so that it can be transported from one place to another. It does not include dwellings that can be registered with VicRoads, such as a caravan.
Residential park – a park where people live in movable dwellings as their main residence (not a holiday home). These parks can be called other names such as a residential village or lifestyle village. A park can also have a mixture of residential and holiday accommodation.
Site agreement - a rental agreement for the site (land) where a movable dwelling is located. For more information, view our Site agreement page.
Site owner – the owner of the site (land) where a movable dwelling is located. In practice, an agent or park manager may act on behalf of the site owner. For more information, view our Caravan and residential park operators section.
Site tenant – someone who rents the site (land) where their movable dwelling is located. For more information, view our Site agreement page.
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