Draft Regulations Released!
NSW Fair Trading Minister Mathew Mason-Cox released the draft Residential (Land Lease) Communities Regulation 2014 at a residential park in the Tweed on 17 October. In attendance were a number of park residents and representatives from residents groups including Port Stephens Park Residents Association, Tweed Residential Parks Homeowners Association and the Affiliated Residential Parks Residents Association.
The Regulation is the final piece in the reform of residential parks legislation. It is necessary to carry out the purpose of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013.
There is a 15 week consultation period for the Regulation with submissions due by 30 January 2015. The Minister has indicated that he will visit more residential parks during the consultation period and talk with residents about the proposed changes to the law.
What’s in the Regulation
The Regulation only has 17 clauses but it also provides the standard form site agreement and condition report.
Clause 4 sets out the procedure for the publication on the internet of particulars of enforcement and disciplinary action taken against operators. This information can be published as part of the register of communities (currently the residential parks register).
Clause 5 enables the Fair Trading Commissioner to publish on the internet information about whether a community has a residents committee.
Clauses 6 and 7 are about the standard form site agreement and condition report.
Clause 8 prohibits certain types of terms from being terms of a site agreement including a term requiring a home owner to take out any form of insurance.
Clause 9 exempts new operators from the requirement to undertake an education briefing if they have operated a park within the previous two years.
Clause 10 expands retaliatory conduct by an operator to include the withdrawal or withholding of a service or use of a facility.
Clauses 11, 12 and 13 deal with sewerage charges and are the most complicated clauses in the Regulation. They set out the method for calculating sewerage use and set a maximum charge of $50 for water and sewerage availability.
Clause 14 sets out the maximum service availability charge for electricity based on the number of amps flowing to the site. The maximum charge in the Regulation reflects that currently prescribed by the “Customer Service Standards for the Supply of Electricity to Permanent Residents of Residential Parks” published by NSW Fair Trading.
Clause 15 provides a maximum financial penalty for operators who request or receive from home owners more than the maximum amounts provided for in the Regulation.
Clause 16 is about offences penalty notices.
Clause 17 cancels any clauses restricting the sale of homes on-site in residential site agreements that are already in force when the new Act commences.
The Regulation also has three schedules. Schedule 1 is the standard form of site agreement. There is only one type of agreement under the new Act (instead of the five provided under the Residential Parks Act 1998). Once the Act has commenced this is the agreement that operators must use but they can add additional terms to it.
Schedule 2 is the standard form of condition report for sites.
Schedule 3 sets out penalty notice offences.
A full copy of the Regulation can be obtained from the NSW Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or by calling 9895 0111. The Regulation is not a complicated or long document and we encourage all residents to read it, discuss it and put in a submission.
Submissions can be emailed, posted or faxed by 30 January 2015.