Site agreements - park operators' rights and responsibilities

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Before offering a site agreement

Site agreements, also called leases, are legal contracts. From 1 September 2011, they 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.

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
  • details of rent, fees and charges. A site agreement must set out:
    • 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
    • any charges (for example, exit fees) that apply when the site tenant leaves the park
    • any commission the site owner can charge for selling a dwelling.

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.

Give the 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, 52KB). 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 the next section for details.

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.

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, or
  • party related to the site owner (such as a relative or related company).

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 a person 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, a person must give you written notice.

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 our Lodging the bond page.

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.

Other circumstances

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

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