QRVPAS are concerned about an emerging trend in the negotiation of site rent increases in residential parks.
Some home owners are telling us that the park owners are sending them TWO site rent increase offers at the same time, sometimes within the same letter.
One is for a very high “market rent” increase, which many home owners consider excessive.
The other is for a smaller increase, but with a catch. This is sometimes called a “Goodwill Site Rent” offer.
The catch is that if you accept the lower offer (the “Goodwill” offer), you may be asked to waive your rights to challenge the rent increase.
Home owners should know that even if you accept a “Goodwill” offer and it says you have agreed not to dispute the rent increase, you usually will still be able to challenge the rent increase if you think it is excessive.
What rights do home owners have?
In Queensland, home owners’ rights are governed by the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 (the Act).
Importantly, section 70 of the Act allows you to dispute any site rent increase that you consider to be excessive.
This section cannot be “contracted out” of (this means that you cannot sign away these rights). To dispute a site rent increase, you must issue the park with a “dispute negotiation notice” within 28 days of receiving the increase notice.
In addition, section 74A of the Act states:
The park owner under a site agreement must not threaten, intimidate or coerce, or attempt to threaten, intimidate or coerce, the home owner to—
(a) agree to an increase in the site rent; or
(b) refrain from seeking a review, under this part, of the site rent.
Fines can be imposed if park owners are found to be in breach of this section.
I think my increase is excessive – what next?
If you have received a notice of site rent increase or “Goodwill” offer, it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible. QRVPAS provide free legal advice to manufactured home owners in residential parks.
To book a legal advice appointment with QRVPAS please call our reception on (07) 3214 6333. You may also wish to make a complaint to Regulatory Services if you think your park is breaching the Act. For more information about site rent increases, please see our factsheet.