Development of manufactured homes (MH) and residential parks is increasingly becoming a lucrative venture for Queensland property developers and an option for senior Australians. Today, manufactured homes are often established as “Over 50’s Resort Style Living”.
Many people considering this type of living do not understand the many issues related to this type of home, and the Manufactured Home Owners Association Inc. recommends you do your research prior to making a decision and speak with experienced local people who can explain some important considerations.
The home site is owned by the Park Owner/s; the homes are considered to be chattels and cannot be borrowed against.
The park owners charge weekly site fees for each home owner. The average site fee for the majority of new parks at present is approx. $180 per week and this usually will rise each year. There can be many hidden costs in these fees and all residents should ensure they view a copy of the yearly financial documents of their park which should be made available by the Park Owner each time there is to be a site increase, or as a resident you can ask to see them anytime.
Living in a manufactured home / park should be taken with full consideration of what your site agreement states. This is the legal document that rules your residency, along with all the park rules - and there are many. Many people do not realise that they can ask for changes or amendments in these agreements prior to signing, since negotiation is always available until you sign up.
These agreements are usually standard format and park owners will add certain items that may not be standard and must not come under the “prohibited terms” stated in the Act. There are few solicitors that have a good working knowledge of these contracts, so it is “buyer beware”, and you should think long and hard whether you can live with fewer individual rights and less say on your daily living. Once you have signed up, you cannot change anything unless you can prove it is illegal.
If you wish to sell your home, your site agreement will have rules that the park owner will have you abide by. One rule in most parks is that you cannot put a ‘For Sale’ sign outside your home as the land is not yours. Some will say they do not allow private agents to come on site; this is not legal, but many people can feel intimidated by the management when pushing for their rights.
Manufactured homes and residential parks are duly regulated in Queensland since the commencement of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003. There have been some amendments to the original Act, with continued interaction with the Government and the Minister for Communities and Housing. All people who contemplate this type of living should read this Act.
Knowing what you can and cannot do, what avenues are available to you to address any illegal or unfair actions by the Park Managers / Owners is where the Manufactured Home Owners Association Inc. can assist.
The Manufactured Home Owners Association Inc. has been instrumental in liaising and working with residents, government ministers and working groups for over 30 years. The association presently has two submissions before the government addressing changes in the Act on selling and rent increases. They strive to ensure that residents who choose to live in a manufactured home / park have a voice and that when they have a problem there is a non-profit body with relevant knowledge, history, experience that can support them.
More information is available on the association’s website, www.mhoa.com.au, or by contacting Rhonda Cooper on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0418368567.