Site agreements - park operators' rights and responsibilities

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This page is about Part 4A site agreements. These are for people who live in residential parks and own a moveable dwelling such as a pre-fab home or cabin. Site agreements cover the land that is being rented for the home.

Before offering a site agreement

Site agreements, also called leases, are legal contracts. Agreements entered into after 1 September 2011 must be in writing.

If your park registered as a caravan park with the local council for the first time after 1 September 2011, the site agreement must allow the site tenant to occupy the site for at least five years.

If you previously had a verbal agreement with the site tenant, make sure your written agreement has the same terms as that agreement.

It is not legal to enter into a site agreement that is longer than the park owner’s property rental agreement.

Check the site agreement clearly states:

  • all arrangements made with the site tenant. You may not be able to rely upon an arrangement not in the written agreement
  • the rent, fees and all other charges to be paid while the site tenant lives in the park
  • how the rent, fees and all other charges are calculated and their purpose, and how they can be reviewed or increased
  • 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
  • any charges that apply when the site tenant leaves the park. For example, exit fees
  • any commission the site owner may charge for selling the site tenant’s moveable dwelling.

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 the site tenant to a contract that they did not agree to in writing after having an opportunity to review it before entering into the agreement 
  • requires the site tenant to indemnify you 
  • prevents the site tenant from making a claim for compensation because the site is not available on the commencement date of the agreement 
  • requires the site tenant 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 the site tenant’s bank account) 
  • requires the site tenant to use the services of a third party service provider that you have nominated, other than an embedded network 
  • makes the site tenant liable for your costs of filing an application at the Tribunal 
  • makes the site tenant liable by default for an insurance excess to be paid under your 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
  • 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.

It is also good practice for the site agreement to include:

  • how long the site tenant can live in the park
  • whether the site tenant can renew the site agreement once it expires
  • who can sell the dwelling. If you can sell it, check the agreement states how much commission you can charge for arranging the sale.

You must disclose:

  • if there is an intention to sell the park or site
  • if an agent has 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, the park owner’s interest in the land, and if it affects their ability to enter into an agreement
  • whether the park or site is in a flood area
  • whether the park or site has a history of subsidence 
  • 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
  • details of the site tenant’s liability when they leave the park including if they leave after 1, 2, 5 or 10 years of residence. 

You must disclose this information in an ‘approved form’. This means it must be the form provided by Consumer Affairs Victoria on Forms and publications.

Note: These disclosure requirements only apply to new rental agreements signed from the 29 March 2021. If you agreement was signed before this date, you can find more information on Transition to new renting laws

Give the site tenant:

Requests to add tenants to the agreement

A site tenant can request to have someone who will live with them, such as a partner or relative, listed as a tenant on the agreement.

You cannot unreasonably refuse such a request, but you can ask to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred to accommodate the additional site tenant.

If a site owner decides not to consent to the additional tenant being added to the agreement, the site tenant may apply to VCAT to have the decision reconsidered. VCAT can:

  • hear submissions from the site owner as to the suitability of the co-habitant
  • hear submissions from the site owner as to why consent was withheld
  • order that the co-habitant be added to the site agreement as a site tenant.

Site tenant rights to consider and cool off

A site tenant has 20 days to consider a proposed site agreement, including weekends. This starts the day after they receive the agreement. You cannot ask them to sign until the twenty-first day after the day they were given the agreement to read and consider.

You must give a prospective site tenant a Notice of cooling-off period for site tenants (Word, 54KB). This form tells the prospective site tenant that they have five business days to change their mind after signing a site agreement. This cooling-off period begins the day after they sign. It excludes weekends and public holidays.

The time for considering and cooling off applies only to the site agreement - not to any separate agreement to buy a dwelling, except in certain cases. See Site agreements in residential parks and villages.

If a site tenant changes their mind, they must tell you - in writing, during the cooling-off period - that they are pulling out of the agreement. You must return any deposit they have paid to you, less $100. The written notice can be given to the site owner or their agent, or by leaving it at the address specified in the site agreement.

Dwelling purchase agreements

Purchasers of movable dwellings, in some cases, have the right to cancel purchase agreements for those dwellings. This applies where a person (or their agent) purchases the movable dwelling from a:

  • site owner
  • site owner acting on someone else’s behalf
  • site owner’s agent.

If a person purchases a dwelling from one of the above, they can cancel the purchase agreement if they are given a related site agreement:

  • to consider for 20 days, but they decide not to sign it, or
  • which they sign but later decide to cancel using their cooling-off rights.

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 give a person a site agreement to consider for 20 days and they decide not to sign it, they can also cancel the dwelling purchase agreement, before the 20 days are over.

If the site tenant signs the site agreement and decides to cancel within the five business-day cooling off period, they can cancel the purchase agreement at the same time.

To cancel a dwelling agreement, the site tenant must give you written notice. The written notice can be given to the site owner or their agent, or by leaving it at the address specified in the site agreement.

Cancelling a purchase agreement

If a person cancels the purchase agreement, they are treated as though they never signed it in the first place. The person is entitled to get back any money they paid for the movable dwelling, including the deposit.

If a person cannot negotiate the return of their money, they can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order to get it repaid.

However, if they have damaged the dwelling, VCAT can order the person to pay compensation to the site owner or related party.

When a person cannot cancel a purchase agreement

The right to cancel a dwelling purchase agreement only applies where a person contracts with a:

  • site owner, their agent or a related party for a dwelling purchase agreement, and
  • site owner for a site agreement.

The changes do not allow a person to cancel a dwelling purchase agreement where they have purchased the dwelling from a current or previous park resident (unless that resident is an agent for, or related to, the site owner).

Bonds and condition reports for site agreements

You can ask a site tenant who owns their dwelling to pay a bond or complete a condition report for the site – but it is rare to do so and you must meet legal requirements.

You must lodge the bond with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) within 10 business days after receiving it, and give the site tenant a copy of the signed bond lodgement form.

For more information, view Lodging the bond.

Ending a site agreement

Site tenant selling before agreement ends

If a site tenant decides to sell their dwelling and leave the park before their site agreement ends, they can transfer the remaining period to the buyer, who takes over responsibility for all fees, charges and rent from the transfer date. Under the law, the transfer is called an assignment.

The site tenant must have permission from the site owner before assigning the site agreement, but you cannot unreasonably refuse to consent. To obtain your consent, the site tenant can use the Assignment of Part 4A site agreement (Word, 148KB).

Note: We advise prospective buyers to confirm that the seller has the site owner's permission to assign the site agreement before buying the dwelling.

Site owners must not charge a fee for agreeing to an assignment of a site agreement.

If a site tenant decides to sell their dwelling and leave the park, they can choose to:

  • sell the dwelling themselves
  • use an agent (such as an estate agent), or
  • allow the site owner to sell the dwelling for them.

It is an offence for a site owner to force the site tenant to let them sell the dwelling or to interfere with the sale. When selling a site tenant’s dwelling, you can only charge a commission if it is set out in the site agreement.

If the site owner refuses permission for the transfer and the site tenant believes this is unreasonable, they can apply to VCAT for a decision.

Park operators can order residents to fix serious defects before consenting to sale

Before a dwelling owned by a park resident can be sold, the dwelling must:

  • be in a reasonable state of cleanliness
  • be in good repair
  • not pose a significant health risk
  • not have any serious defects.

If a dwelling does not meet these conditions, the park operator may require, as a condition of consenting to the sale, that the site tenant or the purchaser fix any problems with the dwelling within a certain timeframe.

If the defects are not fixed within a reasonable time, the park owner may apply to VCAT to order the works are completed.

The site owner may refuse consent if the dwelling has a serious defect and neither the site tenant nor the purchaser has undertaken to fix the problems.

Other circumstances

You can find more information about giving notice and notice periods when ending a site agreement at: