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Manufactured Homes in QLD - Manufactured Home Parks

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Manufactured Home Parks

Along with your own living space you may have common use facilities at your disposal. These may be over and above what you might have in a unit or apartment, perhaps parking areas for guests, swimming pool, gym, BBQ areas, tennis courts etc. These are of course shared, and you need to be comfortable with that form of space sharing and communal living. If so, you will no doubt find these additions very attractive. Of course you need to be sure you will use them, as you will be paying for their maintenance.

Less maintenance can mean a chance to sit back and relax, but you will in the end pay for future maintenance issues in any rent increases.

Your checklist for manufactured or relocatable home communities

Do be aware of the following:

  • You will not own the land associated with your home, and the landowner may not be the manager of the park.
  • You will pay rent for the land and rent can, and most likely will, be changed annually. You may not have any say in that change other than that it may be defined or limited within your Site Agreement (contract) and/or by State legislation. Check those terms carefully before signing anything. Read the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act as this is the document used to define your contract and site agreement.
  • Purchasing your manufactured home may impact arrangements you have with Centrelink e.g. rental assistance and pension; it is your responsibility to keep Centrelink informed. You can apply for rent assistance, you will need documentation from the Park Management to take to Centrelink.
  • The homes are called chattels and as you will not own the land you cannot get any loans for or against it
  • Rent for the land will continue to be payable while ever your home is located there, irrespective of whether you are living in it and there may be rules as to how long you can leave it empty
  • Check any terms & conditions related to selling e.g. where advertising is allowed, restrictions on selling through agents, mandated selling through park owners etc. Again, be aware that rent is still payable (as above), while you or your power of attorneys are trying to sell. Most site agreements have tight rules on this area, so negotiate before you sign the site agreement, one day you will need to have the home sold and many people just do not realise how confining this is to them selling on
  • You have no control over who your neighbours will be, with limited recourse outside standard obligations should their behaviour be unacceptable to you. Whilst this is the case in any residence it can have greater impact at close quarters. There are rules but many will just do their own thing, and noise is certain with the closeness of many of these homes. And there is the issue of if you complain there could be repercussion socially and there is little that management will do in most cases.
  • The landowner and park managers may change without notice and the good relationship you had with management when you moved in may not continue. Always remember they are employees and they are not your friends, so always be wary of any contact with either the park owner or managers.
  • There is no obligation on the landholder to continue the land use as it was when you moved in, or to continue operation of the park. The risk of this may be higher where the park is located in areas where land values are increasing. The land may be worth much more if sold for another purpose, e.g. residential development.
  • Although parks may be advertised for over 50’s, unless the landowner has been granted a specific exemption other age groups cannot, by law, be refused a place – this is not the case in a” retirement village”. Many will not challenge this and so they tend to do what they want; they make up many of these rules to suit themselves. Some allow pets others do not but by law they cannot discriminate, but they will just not sell to you or sign you up to a contract as they have the power.

Other important checks for pre owned homes

Pre-purchase inspections for pests and building condition are always strongly advised. If you are purchasing from the park owner, you need to ensure the park owner will, prior to your moving in, rectify any defects. If you are purchasing from an existing owner, the park owner must agree to the assignment of the Site  Agreement and cannot unreasonably refuse to do so. You should check the current rental agreement thoroughly as you will be signing a new site agreement and there may be differences between the previous owners and the new one.

Utility costs may be included in your Site Agreement. Whatever the metering arrangement is you are entitled to see the relevant utility billing and how it is calculated. If you do pay, then you need to know the full disclosure of how, when, where and the costings.

Park owners are responsible for the maintenance and access to common areas and facilities and likewise as a homeowner you are responsible to keep your building and immediate surrounds well maintained and safe. There may be strict rules regarding your maintenance obligations.

Will there be rules about your garden at your new home? Probably yes, so even though you have an enclosed yard it is not your land  and they can have a  say on what you do with it and  also anything that can be seen from the exterior may have restrictions, such as outdoor blinds.

One of the key areas with some Manufactured Home Parks is that they may have exit fees and even if you hold a freehold title, it is not the same as owning your own home.

MH Parks vary considerably between promised lifestyle expectations and facilities, as do the options to reside in them and the associated financial implications. If you are considering this option as a couple, it is worth noting that if either or both of you need to go into care, the financial burden of the initial decision may impact your capacity in that regard. Even if the Village has an associated Aged Care Facility, there may be no guarantee that you will be able to access that facility; there can be different institutions, with different access rules.

Again, being thoroughly cognisant of the nature of the legal interest you will buy in a MH Park is essential. Read every word and seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience in this area. Consider just as carefully what happens when you leave as well as when you enter, including the implications for those managing your estate.

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