Reprieve for residents of Hastings Point Holiday Park
Hastings Point is a picturesque part of NSW with a significant number of elderly residents living permanently in residential parks dotted across the region.
Hastings Point Holiday Park has been in the process of closing for some time and a seniors living development is being built in its’ place. During 2012 the remaining approximately 30 residents of the park were served with Notices of Termination of their site agreements for change of use. The termination notices set 2013 dates for the residents to provide vacant possession of their sites.
At the time the Notices’ of Termination were served Stage 1 of the seniors development was complete and a plush retirement village complex was built near the entrance to the park. Meanwhile, park residents had lost many of their services and amenities including their swimming pool and tennis court. The laundry and services block were also allowed to fall into disrepair by the park owner.
Most residents initially sought advice from Northern Rivers Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service during 2008 about their rights in regard to the proposed closure of the park.
During the closure and development process the park owner developers obtained two amended development consents. Ownership of the park changed hands on two separate occasions and the latest sale price agreed was a multi-million dollar sum.
The current park owners, Tricare (Hastings) Ltd, engaged a management company KDH to run the diminished residential park and to collect the site fees from residents.
In 2013 Tricare (Hastings) filed applications with the Tribunal seeking orders that the remaining residents deliver up vacant possession of their respective residential sites at the park.
The Tenants’ Union of NSW represented the residents in proceedings before both the NSW Land and Environment Court(LEC) and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
A majority of the residents were awarded compensation from the Tribunal significantly greater than the sums they were offered by Tricare (Hastings). While the Tribunal has terminated the residents’ agreements they are entitled to remain on their sites until 20 September 2016.
The Tribunal decision is published and can be found here.
The important lesson is that residents who were served with Notices’ of Termination sought advice and representation from their local Tenants Advice Service and from the Tenants Union and did not accept the initial written offers to sell their homes and vacate the park by the residential park owner.