We report on increasing site fees in residential parks, and the requirement that operators provide an explanation.
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Home owners in land lease communities understand that their site fees can increase and most are used to having an increase every year. Receiving a site fee increase might not come as surprise, but big or small, home owners want to know the basis for the increase. And for many homeowners it is now their right to receive an explanation from the operator.

When the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (the Act) came into force at the end of 2015 it introduced a number of changes to site fee increases. One of the positive changes for home owners is that operators are now required to provide an explanation for a site fee increase ‘by notice’.

There are two ways that site fees can be increased under the Act – ‘fixed method’ (these are written into the site agreement, and cannot be challenged) and ‘by notice’. In both situations the operator is required to provide home owners with a notice of increase but only increases ‘by notice’ are required to contain an explanation. The intention behind this new requirement is to enable home owners to understand the need for the level of increase being sought by the operator.

Jill Edmonds, President of the Independent Park Residents Action Group (IPRAG) and a home owner at Central Coast’s Karalta Court, received her annual notice of increase in April. The explanation in the notice was “We have assessed various issues as they impact the community since the last increase and determined that the site fees be increased as set out in this approved form notice of site fee increase.” When Jill read this explanation, she felt it prompted a whole lot more questions than it answered. Was this really the kind of explanation intended in the Act?

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The Tenants’ Union of NSW is a community legal centre specialising in NSW residential tenancies law, and the peak resourcing body for the NSW Tenants Advice and Advocacy Program.

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The articles in Outasite are primarily intended for people who live in, or are affected by, the state laws of New South Wales, Australia. While every effort has been made to ensure the legal information in these articles is correct and up-to-date, it is not a substitute for specific legal advice. The articles are intended to be a general guide to the law only. You should seek expert assistance if you are faced with a problem. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily held by the Tenants’ Union.

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