Submission: Review of Residential Parks Act 1998


The Tenants' Union of NSW has written to NSW Fair Trading in support of the submission by the Park and Village Service.

Review of the Residential Parks Act 1998 (NSW)

The Tenants’ Union of NSW (TU) has consulted and participated with the Park and Village Service (PAVS) in the preparation of PAVS’s submission to the NSW Fair Trading review.

We are pleased to generally support the submissions made in response to the discussion paper ‘Improving the governance of residential parks’.

From the TU’s own submissions in support of residential tenancies law reform, Fair Trading will be aware that we regard the landlord-tenant relationship as structurally unbalanced, to the disadvantage of tenants. This is because before the start of a tenancy, a prospective tenant will typically have a more urgent need for housing than a landlord has need of a tenant; and during a tenancy a tenant cannot readily take their business elsewhere, because of the large financial, logistical and emotional costs of moving out and finding another home.

We consider that each of these aspects of the imbalance in the landlord-tenant relationship applies, in heightened ways, to residential park residents. Park residents who rent their dwelling usually are in very urgent need of housing, and would otherwise be homeless. On the other hand, park residents who own their dwelling and rent the site face transfer costs that are prohibitively large – and, indeed, probably unique in consumer-provider relations.

The primary objective of the Residential Parks Act should be to protect residents from the effects of this structural imbalance. We submit that PAVS’s recommendations in relation to the licensing of park operators, rent increases, security of tenure, sales and assignments, improved disclosure for prospective park residents and shared equity arrangements are especially important to achieving this objective.