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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 What is a retirement village?.
To learn more about residential parks, view our Movable dwelling guide.
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, visit Site agreements in residential parks and villages.
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 seeking 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.
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?
- Can you afford the costs involved if your circumstances change and you have to leave the park? For example, you may have to continue paying rent and other charges until your home is sold even though you are not living in it.
- Does your site agreement include 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 a 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.
Buying a movable dwelling
A contract to buy a movable dwelling is separate from your site agreement. 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 Site agreements in residential parks and villages.
Living in a residential park
To learn about your rights and responsibilities while living in a residential park, view our information on:
If you own your own dwelling, you must maintain it in good repair, and ensure it:
- is reasonably clean
- is safe to live in
- does not pose a significant health risk
- is left in the same condition as it was when first occupied, subject to fair wear and tear.
Park operators can make rules about the use, enjoyment, control and management of parks. They must be fair and consistent when applying the rules and you must comply with them. Make sure you understand the rules and their implications.
If the park operator wants to change the rules, they must give you at least seven days’ written notice. A penalty applies if they do not.
You must be consulted on all proposed changes to the rules. The park operator must allow 14 days for residents to respond in writing to the changes. The park operator must reply in writing to the written concerns of residents. They can only propose the rule change after the consultation is complete.
Park operators cannot make rules that require you to upgrade or improve your home unless the rule is needed:
- to keep the home in a reasonable state of cleanliness
- for safety
- for good repair.
If you believe a rule is unreasonable, you may apply for a hearing at VCAT. VCAT may decide the rule is either:
- unfair and ask the park operator to amend or remove it, or
- it is reasonable and 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 2020. The regulations require parks to have and maintain standards for:
- 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 Know your council.
Site tenants can form and take part in a committee that represents their interests in the park.
The park operator must allow the committee to use suitable communal park facilities for meetings.
For more information, download the Residents' committee toolkit from Housing for the Aged Action Group.
To find out your options for resolving a dispute with the park operator, view Resolving disputes.
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. For more information, view Site agreements in residential parks and villages.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria provides free dispute resolution for issues including tenant versus tenant disputes. Visit the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.
Leaving a residential park
To learn about the process for ending your site agreement or transferring it to someone else, view our information on:
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 Housing for the Aged Action Group.
Seniors Information Victoria provides free information about housing options for older people. Telephone 1300 13 50 90 or visit Seniors Information Victoria at COTA Victoria.
Victorian Caravan Parks Association (VicParks) provides a list of residential parks that are association members. Visit Residential parks at VicParks.
Dwelling purchase agreement – a contract to buy a movable dwelling. For more information, view Site agreements in residential parks and villages.
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.
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 Site agreements in residential parks and villages.
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 Caravan and residential park operators.
Site tenant – someone who rents the site (land) where their movable dwelling is located. For more information, view Site agreements in residential parks and villages.