Outasite magazine issue 6 – out now!

02/09/2020
Outasite 6 cover
Our annual printed publication for land lease communities has been published and delivered to mailboxes in communities all over NSW. You can also download a pdf here or read the articles online. We hope you enjoy the read. If you’d like to subscribe, please contact us, or subscribe to our regular email newsletter Outasite Lite.
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Report on the situation for NSW renters during COVID-19 demonstrates struggle ongoing, potentially getting worse

02/09/2020
Picture: Report cover - Family in masks in house, covid virus graphic surrounds house
Tenants' Union of NSW Report released today demonstrates the struggle many NSW renters continue to face as a result of COVID-19. The report 'Supporting Renters During the Pandemic' provides evidence of the continued need for support for renting households across NSW during the pandemic and demonstrates the need for an extension and strengthening of moratorium protections.
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Five year review

01/09/2020
Outasite logo
At the end of 2020, which has been a very strange year so far, the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (RLLC Act) is due for review. The RLLC Act commenced on 1 November 2015 and the Minister responsible is required to review the Act as soon as possible after five years from commencement. Following the review, a report is to be tabled in each House of Parliament within 12 months after the end of the period of five years. If the RLLC Act review proceeds on time, which looks likely, this report would need to be tabled by 31 October 2021. The purpose of a statutory review of an Act is to determine whether the policy objectives remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives. In this article we delve into the detail of the policy objectives and discuss achievements, failures and what needs to change. 
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Fair market value

01/09/2020
Philomena and Ian
This article is not about home sales, although that is what gives rise to the issue, it’s about site fees and site fee increases. Fair market value appears in sections 109 and 111 of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (RLLC Act) and is a small but important provision that sets an upper limit on site fees in new site agreements when a home has been sold by one home owner to another. Fair market value is the higher of either the site fees payable by the home owner who is selling the home, or the site fees payable for residential sites of a similar size and location within the community. It seems very straightforward, but in reality the provision has been ineffective and site fees are often set much higher than fair market value. Over time this practice lifts the site fees in a community to higher and higher levels, yet there is no scrutiny over these increases.
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Fixed method site fee increases

01/09/2020
Bob Morris
The concept of increasing rent or site fees by a fixed method is not new. Fixed method increases were possible and did happen under the (repealed) Residential Parks Act 1998. What the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act (RLLC Act) introduced is specificity regarding what a fixed method may be, and that is what we examine in this article. The RLLC Act provides that site fees may be increased by a fixed method which may be either: (i) by fixed amounts, or (ii) by a fixed calculation (for example, in proportion to variations in the Consumer Price Index or in the age pension).
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How did we get here?

01/09/2020
Outasite logo
With the review of the Residential (Land lease) Communities Act 2013 due to commence at the end of the year we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the history of tenancy legislation in residential parks in NSW. The earliest record of any legislation regarding tenancies in caravan parks appears to be in the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948. Special provisions were included in this Act to control the rents of caravans and sites. The Rent Controller was given the power to publish the maximum allowable rents for caravans or sites in various parts of the State.
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Retirement upheaval

01/09/2020
Hacienda holiday park
On 31 December 2019, His Honour Justice Rothman finally handed down his decision in the case of Commissioner for Fair Trading v Jonval Builders Pty Ltd, Hacienda Caravan Park Pty Ltd and John Allan Willmott [2019] NSWSC 1893. This Supreme Court of NSW decision is the culmination of nearly 5 years of legal proceedings and some 8 years since the home owners first sought assistance through their residents associations from NSW Fair Trading. The proceedings were brought by NSW Fair Trading Legal Services.
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Community rules

01/09/2020
Water sports
We could write three or four articles about community rules and still not address all of the confusion and questions that arise out of Part 8 of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act. We have written articles before on this subject and no doubt will write more in the future, but in this article we are going to focus on compliance with community rules. The RLLC Act enables written community rules to be made about the use, enjoyment, control and management of a community. The community rules must be fair and reasonable and clearly expressed.
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Hummmmm

01/09/2020
power lines
Just when we think it’s all over a brand new electricity conundrum pops up. This time the question is whether an operator can stop providing electricity to home owners through the embedded network, and effectively force those home owners to contract with a particular energy retailer. In three land lease communities that we are aware of, this exact situation has been unfolding.
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Shifting sands

01/09/2020
Lakeline
It is fair to say that land lease living is a unique arrangement. The community aspect is attractive to many people but when you own a home that sits on land owned by another party, you cannot be sure that the land use won’t change. The actual land itself is unlikely to change, however its designated use can. Most commonly we see this when a community operator changes a residential site from long-term to shortterm, or vice versa. This can be done by a simple amendment to the approval to operate, which is issued by the local council under section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. Neither the operator or the council is required to notify anyone about the change and affected home owners usually don’t find out until later
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