Tales from the Illawarra
The Illawarra region on the South Coast of NSW is home to nine residential parks providing accommodation to over 2,000 long term residents. Many are located in an enviable position between the Illawarra escarpment and the ocean. Earlier this month, Julie and Jemima from the Tenants’ Union Residential Parks Team travelled to this beautiful region.
We started the day meeting with representatives of the Affiliated Residential Parks Residents Association (ARPRA) - Illawarra. They took us on a tour of two parks - Surfrider Caravan Park at Barrack Point and Oaklands (Gateway Lifestyle) at Windang. They were able to give us a valuable update on current issues facing park residents across the Illawarra.
Our last stop for the day was a visit with workers at the Illawarra and South Coast Tenants Service based at Warrawong.
One of the key issues that is coming up in the area at the moment is compliance with local government regulations. Residents in a number of parks across the Illawarra have been formally requested by park owners to make changes to their homes, some of them quite significant - for example moving stairs, and removing associated structures. Park owners are asking for these changes on the basis that the residents’ dwellings do not comply with the required local government regulations.
Whether or not something complies with local government regulations can be a tricky issue to unravel. It is a term of every residential site agreement that residents ensure their dwelling complies with any regulations under the Local Government Act 1993 with which it is required to comply. So, which are the required regulations?
Local government regulations have gone through a number of significant updates and variations since they were first introduced at the end of 1986 (via Ordinance No. 71). The regulations that a resident needs to comply with are those in force when their home was installed on site, and when any subsequent changes were made.
There are also a number of other factors that come into play when a park owner is making this kind of request; for example, has the park owner been instructed by the local council to ensure dwellings are compliant, and did the park owner approve the installation or any subsequent changes?
If you’re having a problem with compliance and local government regulations it’s a good idea to give your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service a call. They provide free advice and advocacy to permanent residents of caravan parks and manufactured home estates, and are able to look at your specific circumstances and help you decide on your best course of action.