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Rent and extra charges
In a caravan park or residential park, rent is the money charged for the site, services and use of facilities.
In a caravan park, hire charges are for the caravan. Caravan park residents are often asked to pay one fee for both the site and the caravan, which is then called rent.
Site tenants and caravan park residents must pay the rent as agreed and by the due date. In most cases, rent is paid in advance.
Methods of payment
The resident or site tenant and the park owner should agree on how rent is to be paid before they start the rental agreement.
Before they agree, the owner must tell the renter about any costs they will have to pay for the method they have chosen.
The owner must:
- provide at least one payment method where the resident or site tenant doesn’t have to pay a fee (other than the renter’s own bank fees)
- allow the rent to be paid via Centrepay or another form of electronic funds transfer
- make the site tenant or resident aware of any fees that may be incurred by using the agreed payment method (such as dishonour fees)
- not require the site tenant or resident to pay by cheque with a date in the future on it (a post-dated cheque).
Any changes to how rent is paid must be agreed between the resident or site tenant and the park owner.
Taking rent in advance
A park owner cannot charge a site tenant more than one month’s rent in advance.
A caravan park owner or caravan owner cannot charge more than:
- 14 days’ rent in advance for renting the site
- 28 days’ rent in advance for caravan hire.
Rent payment receipts
A site tenant or resident is entitled to receive a receipt for each rent payment.
For more information about what you must provide, view Paying rent and rent in advance.
For caravan park residents, you:
For site tenants, the site agreement must include the conditions under which rent will be reviewed. The agreement can also include whether the rent can be increased by a non-fixed amount or a fixed amount calculated according to a chosen method. Rent can only be increased once every 12 months.
If the site agreement does not detail the basis on which rent is calculated and adjusted, you cannot increase the rent.
If the site agreement allows for rent increases, you:
- can increase the rent only once in any 12-month period
- must use the specified calculation method if that is included in the site agreement
- must give site tenants 60 days’ notice of any proposed rent increase using the Notice of rent increase to site tenant (Word, 784KB).
Read more about Rent increases in a park site agreement.
If you stop providing a regular service, you must reduce rent to an agreed amount, or an amount determined by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
A caravan park resident or site tenant can request a rent assessment from us if you have:
- given notice of an increase that the resident or site tenant thinks is excessive (after considering market rent)
- reduced or withdrawn services, facilities or other items that the resident or site tenant was getting previously as part of the rental agreement.
If our rent assessment finds a rent increase is excessive, the resident or site tenant can use the assessment report to seek a ruling on their rent at VCAT. The resident or site tenant has 30 days from receiving the rent assessment report to apply to VCAT for a hearing.
A site tenant cannot ask us for a rent assessment if they have a fixed amount rent increase in their agreement for a Part 4A site.
For more information, view Challenging a rent increase.
Handling rent arrears
If the first rent is not paid or is late, the site tenant or resident is immediately behind.
A caravan park resident or site tenant cannot stop paying rent because they:
- are waiting for repairs to be done
- are in the last month of an agreement
- have given notice that they intend to vacate, or have been given a notice to vacate.
You cannot keep a resident or site tenant’s belongings to cover any rent owing.
For information about what to do when a site tenant or resident does not pay their rent by the due date, view Late or unpaid rent.
In addition to rent, caravan park residents and site tenants may need to pay other charges.
For site tenants, details of all charges must be included in the site agreement. You must not ask for payments that are not part of the site agreement.
For caravan park residents, at the start of the residency you must give the resident details of any extra charges, such as:
- the rate for extra people to stay
- charges for hiring any equipment
- any commission that applies if you sell a caravan.
You must pay the installation and initial connection costs to a site for electricity, gas, bottled gas or water. Caravan park residents and site tenants have to pay for installing and connecting services from a supply point on their site to their caravan or dwelling.
If the site has separate meters, the site tenant or resident must pay the supply and usage charges for electricity, gas, water, drainage and sewerage. If you pay the bill and then charge the site tenant or resident, you cannot charge more than what the utility supplier would have charged the resident.
Residents and site tenants have to pay for the supply and hire of gas bottles.
If the services do not have separate meters, you must pay for the services.
Park operators are responsible for pumping out and cleaning of sewage and septic tanks servicing the site.
For more information, view Paying for utilities, phone and internet.
You can make rules relating to the use, enjoyment, control and management of the park.
Park rules can include things such as:
- noise levels
- keeping pets
- using and operating communal facilities
- car parking.
You must provide a copy of these rules to:
- caravan park residents, either on or before the day they move in
- site tenants, before they sign the site agreement.
If you want to change the rules, you must give at least seven days’ written notice to residents. A penalty applies if you do not. Residents must also be consulted on the changes, either individually or through a resident's committee, and allowed to respond before the changes come into effect.
Residents have 14 days to respond in writing to the proposed changes, and you must reply in writing to the written concerns of residents.
You cannot make rules that require park residents to upgrade or improve their dwelling, unless they are needed to keep it reasonably clean, for safety or for good repair.
Site tenants and residents who believe a rule is unreasonable may apply to VCAT to hear the matter. VCAT may decide that the rule is unfair and ask you to amend or remove it; or it may find that the rule is reasonable and that it can stay in force.
You must ensure that the park rules are applied fairly and consistently.
Resolving any repair or maintenance issues quickly can help you avoid disputes. You must keep rented sites in good repair, including any structures or fixtures you own.
It is important to communicate all information about repairs in writing and keep copies of all letters, forms and reports.
You must repair communal facilities as soon as possible once any damage or breakdown is reported to you by residents.
If residents, site tenants or their visitors cause any damage to the site or any facility within the park, the resident must repair the damage or tell you and pay any costs directly to you.
Site tenants are responsible for repairs to their movable dwelling, and for fixing anything they have damaged. You are responsible for repairs to the site (including fixtures and utility supply infrastructure) and communal park facilities.
If you and a site tenant disagree on who is responsible for a repair, you may:
- try to negotiate an agreement. We recommend putting any agreement in writing
- contact us for information and advice
- apply to VCAT for a determination.
For more information, view:
For caravan park residents, all repairs are your responsibility, but if the resident caused the damage, you can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.
The law distinguishes between urgent and non-urgent repairs, and park operators and residents must follow different processes for each.
For more information, view Repairs in rental properties.