Electricity win – a real circuit breaker

02/09/2019
Parklea land lease community residents
A few weeks ago the Tenants' Union of NSW successfully represented 93 residents from Parklea residential land lease community in Tribunal applications regarding unfair electricity charges. Residents will now receive a refund totalling approximately $80,000 for incorrect charges in their embedded electricity network dating from November 2015. This important case will assist residents across NSW to challenge overcharging for their electricity.
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Reflections of a Blue Mountains Tenant Advocate

27/08/2019
Jo Hibbert
Jo Hibbert has been a Tenant Advocate at the Blue Mountains Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for seven years. Now she’s retiring for a well-earned break, so we took the opportunity to ask her for some reflections about her time in the world of tenancy. She talks about some of her experiences at the Tribunal, and the way the workload for Advocates has increased, but the funding hasn't. She also tells the story of a tenant who she defended from eviction six times!
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17 years of advocacy in Regional NSW

27/08/2019
Chris Maybin
Chris Maybin has been a Tenant Advocate with VERTO South West Tenants’ Advice Service for 17 years. Now she's moving on, but in this interview she gives some of her thoughts and reflections on her experiences. She talks about having to tell a family they were going to be homeless, and being "cursed" by a landlord! She also explains some of the particular challenges faced by tenants and Tenant Advocates in regional New South Wales.
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Assignment of site agreements

07/08/2019
Outasite article
The assignment of site agreements has been an ongoing issue since the commencement of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 on 1 November 2015. The problem lies with a drafting error in section 45(3) and relates to whether an operator can unreasonably refuse a request for assignment of a site agreement.
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Who is the operator?

07/08/2019
Outasite article
This may sound like a silly question but the answer is not always as obvious as you may think. The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 defines an operator as being ‘the person who manages, controls or otherwise operates the community, including by granting rights of occupancy under site agreements or tenancy agreements whether or not the person is an owner of the community’. An owner is ‘the owner of the land on which the community is located’. Sometimes the owner and operator are one and the same and sometimes they are different.
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The balance of power

07/08/2019
Outasite article
The main factor that affects affordability for home owners living in land lease communities is site fees. When they increase it can have a major impact. As mentioned in the article on cooperative communities, site fees are reaching extraordinary levels in some communities and many home owners are struggling. In this article we look at the three methods used to increase site fees and how home owners might dispute unfair increases.
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Interference with sale

07/08/2019
Beverley and Brian Welch
The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (the Act) provides home owners with the right to sell their home on site. The Act also states the operator must not cause or permit any interference, or any attempt to interfere with a home owner’s right to sell the home. Similar provisions appeared in the (now repealed) Residential Parks Act 1998 yet arguably park owners and operators have always interfered in home sales. Will a recent decision of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal bring a change in operator behaviour?
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Dianna Evans: Land lease community advocate

07/08/2019
Di Evans
Di Evans has worked with residents of parks and land lease communities in various capacities since the late 1980’s. She has seen
permanent living in parks change from ‘housing of last resort’ to the upmarket over 55s lifestyle villages we are seeing today. 
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Fairness prevails

07/08/2019
Gaye and Barry Sanders
Good news stories seem to be few and far between in land lease communities, so Barry Sanders, of Terrigal Waters Village, thinks we should share positive outcomes and acknowledge those times when operators do the right thing.
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Electricity: The battle over usage charges approaches resolution

07/08/2019
Mary Preston
When we published our last issue of Outasite (in July 2018) the battle over electricity usage charges was in the early stages and as most home owners will be aware, a great deal has happened since then. In this article we will attempt to bring you up to date. Since the introduction of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 park operators have disputed how electricity costs should be charged to residents. Tribunal determinations on electricity charges have been inconsistent. In proceedings involving other parties, the Tribunal has accepted different methods of calculating refunds including applying the peak rate paid by the operator and also an ‘averaging method’.
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