100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

Reforms aim to bring cost-of-living certainty to residential park residents

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Reforms to rules around living in manufactured homes in residential parks will make conditions fairer for occupants, many of whom are seniors, the state government says.

The reforms include limiting site rent increases to the consumer price index or 3.5 per cent, banning rent reviews that have been used to justify rental hikes and making it fairer to sell manufactured homes.

An opt-in buyback and site rent reduction scheme will be introduced for homes on the market for more than 12 months, limiting costs and giving residents certainty.

Registration requirements for residential parks will also be strengthened to enable more transparency for current and future homeowners.

Labor Member for Nicklin Rob Skelton said his electorate included 573 people living in seven residential parks.

Robert Skelton.

“These reforms mean cost-of-living certainty to thousands of Queenslanders in residential parks,” he said.

“The Miles Government has listened to manufactured homeowners across the state facing site rent increases.

“This will bring confidence for park owners and residents investing in these homes.”

Park owners will be able to apply for QCAT in a circumstance where they feel these reforms will impact a park’s viability.

Queensland Manufactured Home Owners Association president Roger Marshall also backed the changes.

“The main challenge that we’re facing right now across Queensland is that we’re locked into site agreements with the park owners, which has resulted in the continuous increase in the rents that we’re paying,” he said.

“The more we pay, the less we get in return – there’s no increase in amenities or park maintenance and in some cases, they are actually cut back.

“It’s to the point where we believe that the park owners are making greater profits on the rents they charge which are over what’s needed to run the park.

“The majority of people living in the parks are either fully or partly dependent on the age pension and the rents in most of the parks take up well over 30 per cent of the age pension.”

A manufactured home park. Picture: Shutterstock

The Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 regulates and promotes fair trading practices at residential parks to protect homeowners from unfair business practices and to enable them to make informed choices.

Residential park homeowners own their home and rent the land it is sited on from a park owner.

While manufactured homes are movable, they cannot be moved without significant expense and many park owners are reluctant to accept a home from another site.

Site rent increases and unsold manufactured homes can be common causes of disputes in residential parks.

It comes after a peak real estate body accused the Queensland government of going too far with sweeping rental reforms, saying they diminish a property owner’s rights.

Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon introduced a bill on Thursday that will establish a code of conduct for the rental sector, ban rent bidding and increase ID protections.

It also puts the onus on owners and property managers when it comes to bond claims, and attaches a 12-month limit on rent increases to the property instead of to a tenancy.

“We think that the government has gone too far with its legislative reform agenda,” Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said.

REIQ CEO Antonio Mercorella.

“They are very much focused on tenants’ rights.

“But at the same time they are focused on diminishing the decision-making power and rights of property owners and that to us is concerning.”

Ms Mercorella said a decision to apply rent increase limits to a property, rather than a tenancy agreement, will have impractical consequences.

The housing minister said the bill specifically establishes a framework for renters and property owners to negotiate modifications to rental properties that are necessary for a renter’s safety, security or accessibility.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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