The end of the road?
Sadly the Tenants’ Union (TU) community education project came to an end in June 2016. During the project we visited 107 land lease communities throughout the state. We also published and distributed 10,000 copies of our newsletter Outasite. That’s about one for every 3.5 residents!
The community education project was funded by the NSW Law and Justice Foundation to ensure that home owners were provided with good quality, independent information about the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013, which commenced on 1 November 2015. The Act brought significant changes to the rights and responsibilities of home owners in land lease communities (residential parks).
The project involved us partnering with Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services to visit land lease communities and deliver free information sessions about the new Act. We provided 17 formal and two informal information sessions reaching close to 1,000 people in total. The majority of audience participants were home owners, but tenants, operators, Members of Parliament and even a real estate agent came along to hear what we had to say.
NSW Fair Trading partnered with us for some of the sessions and this provided added benefit for participants who also learned about the services that Fair Trading provide to land lease community residents.
Our travels took us as far as Moama on the Victorian border, Tweed Heads on the Queensland border and almost everywhere in between.
We talked with home owners and chatted with operators, we had tours of communities and were treated to fantastic morning teas. We saw and learned a great deal about the people and communities we visited and we also had a few surprises. One example is The Marine Museum at Seascape North Star Holiday Resort.
The museum is a celebration of biodiversity and “the most comprehensive and unique marine education resource centre on the eastern seaboard.” The museum founder is Ted Brambleby BSc. who is a Marine Biologist and a home owner in the community. The museum is incredible and a testament to Ted’s knowledge, passion and dedication.
Not all of the surprises were good unfortunately. We did discover some communities in poor condition and home owners whose rights were being ignored or undermined. The local Tenants’ Services were able to step in and offer assistance to these home owners, and in one case we visited with the local Member of Parliament to provide a joint service response.
The community education project provided a great opportunity for us to get out into communities and we apologise if we didn’t get to yours – maybe we will see you next time.