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Latest news and analysis

How did we get here?

01/09/2020
Outasite logo
With the review of the Residential (Land lease) Communities Act 2013 due to commence at the end of the year we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the history of tenancy legislation in residential parks in NSW. The earliest record of any legislation regarding tenancies in caravan parks appears to be in the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948. Special provisions were included in this Act to control the rents of caravans and sites. The Rent Controller was given the power to publish the maximum allowable rents for caravans or sites in various parts of the State.
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Retirement upheaval

01/09/2020
Hacienda holiday park
On 31 December 2019, His Honour Justice Rothman finally handed down his decision in the case of Commissioner for Fair Trading v Jonval Builders Pty Ltd, Hacienda Caravan Park Pty Ltd and John Allan Willmott [2019] NSWSC 1893. This Supreme Court of NSW decision is the culmination of nearly 5 years of legal proceedings and some 8 years since the home owners first sought assistance through their residents associations from NSW Fair Trading. The proceedings were brought by NSW Fair Trading Legal Services.
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Community rules

01/09/2020
Water sports
We could write three or four articles about community rules and still not address all of the confusion and questions that arise out of Part 8 of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act. We have written articles before on this subject and no doubt will write more in the future, but in this article we are going to focus on compliance with community rules. The RLLC Act enables written community rules to be made about the use, enjoyment, control and management of a community. The community rules must be fair and reasonable and clearly expressed.
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Hummmmm

01/09/2020
power lines
Just when we think it’s all over a brand new electricity conundrum pops up. This time the question is whether an operator can stop providing electricity to home owners through the embedded network, and effectively force those home owners to contract with a particular energy retailer. In three land lease communities that we are aware of, this exact situation has been unfolding.
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Shifting sands

01/09/2020
Lakeline
It is fair to say that land lease living is a unique arrangement. The community aspect is attractive to many people but when you own a home that sits on land owned by another party, you cannot be sure that the land use won’t change. The actual land itself is unlikely to change, however its designated use can. Most commonly we see this when a community operator changes a residential site from long-term to shortterm, or vice versa. This can be done by a simple amendment to the approval to operate, which is issued by the local council under section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. Neither the operator or the council is required to notify anyone about the change and affected home owners usually don’t find out until later
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Supporting older renters to 'age-in-place'

18/08/2020
Older woman holding drivers license - DCJ Housing image - Seniors Strategy
Recently the Tenants’ Union of NSW made a submission to NSW Department of Communities and Justice as part of their consultations for the next NSW Government strategy for seniors. We recommended the NSW Government implement policy and benchmarks that ensure older renters are supported to remain living in a community they have a strong attachment to, either in their existing residence or alternate local accommodation with service supports.
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Unlawful and lawful discrimination: how the selection process disadvantages some private renters

17/08/2020
For lease sign
In the absence of any legislated right to housing, or rules and guidelines such as waiting lists or criteria determining housing priority (as is the case in public housing), the decision to accept or reject a tenancy application, in the private rental market, is essentially “competitive”. It sits solely in the hands of the landlord, and, in many cases, the real estate agent, who provides expert advice to the landlord. This puts some tenants at a disadvantage when trying to rent a home. It is important to consider the ways tenants can be better protected from discrimination during the rental application process.
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A 20 Year Vision for Housing - where are the renters?

10/08/2020
NSW Housing Strategy Discussion Paper 2020
The TUNSW submission to the NSW Housing Strategy provides a focus on the need to address crucial issues for people renting their homes in NSW. We've published our submission and recommendations that encompass key priorities for renters.
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We need to talk about the landlord

07/08/2020
Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
We don’t only need to talk about the relationship between tenants and landlords – we also need to talk about the landlords themselves. A key flaw exposed through the response to COVID‑19 is the profile of those who act as landlords in Australia. They are heavily indebted. They are mostly without training or expertise. As a result, they were scared and desperate and clinging firmly to the one power dynamic they felt they had control over. The need for a more compassionate response to tenants was as apparent to everyone as were the barriers.
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No grounds for limiting reform under COVID-19

07/08/2020
Graphic of a family in a house, wearing masks, virus outside
Jemima Mowbray looks at the problems renters have faced during COVID‑19, and shows that they are not new or necessarily distinct from the ongoing issues renting households were already facing. The COVID‑19 health crisis has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities and problems experienced by renters – most acutely, the problems of housing insecurity and the lack of affordable rental housing.
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