Last updated 16 August 2016
The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld) (RTRA Act) covers tenants who live in a moveable dwelling (i.e. a manufactured home or caravan). It applies to those who rent a moveable dwelling on site or own a moveable dwelling but rent a site (s 9(2) RTRA Act). Persons who own a manufactured home and are living in a moveable dwelling park may also be covered by the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 (Qld).
The RTRA Act covers short-term moveable dwelling tenancies of up to 42 days (and an extension of another 42 days) and long-term tenancies.
By entering into a tenancy agreement, tenants and caravan park lessors undertake to abide by the terms of the agreement and the RTRA Act. There are separate prescribed standard terms of tenancy agreements for moveable dwelling tenancies available from the Residential Tenancies Authority.
In regard to rental bond, if the tenancy is a long tenancy (see definitions below) and electricity supplied to the premises is supplied in the lessor’s name and individually metered, the maximum bond is equal to three weeks rent otherwise it is equal to two weeks rent (s 112 RTRA Act). A maximum of two weeks rent in advance can be charged.
The RTRA Act defines a short-term tenancy for a moveable dwelling as being for a maximum of 42 days (or another 42 days if extended). An agreement for a short tenancy for a moveable dwelling may also be put in writing, although it does not have to contain all the standard terms (short-tenancy statement). The statement must be made before or when the tenancy starts and must state the intention for the tenancy to be 42 days or less. The information statement (Form 17b) must be provided when the tenancy commences. Any park rules must also be provided. An extension of the short-tenancy statement for an additional 42 days can be made only once and within the base period.
If put in writing, the tenant and lessor should sign this statement at the start of the tenancy. Short tenancies for a moveable dwelling can be terminated on grounds of incompatibility by urgent application to QCAT. Short tenancies have special provisions dealing with breaches. Termination can be made with a two-day notice by the lessor and with a one-day notice by the tenant.
A long-term tenancy is defined in s 51 of the RTRA Act to be a moveable dwelling tenancy that is not a short tenancy. The full provisions of the RTRA Act apply to these tenancies. Long-term tenancies can be either for a fixed term or periodic. The information statement must be provided, as well as a condition report and a copy of the park rules.
If a tenant in a long-term tenancy has been served a notice to remedy breach (Form 11) for rent payments overdue by seven days, the tenant then has five days to remedy the breach or the tenancy may be terminated.
Lessors cannot charge commissions on the sale of tenant-owned vans, except where the lessor is providing a service, and there is a written agreement with the tenant to do so.
Tenants may be required to pay a service charge for sharing a facility such as electricity, gas or water only if the supply of the service is separately metered. If a service charge is absorbed in rent and that service can no longer be used due to the lessor’s actions, then reduced rent may be payable. A tenant can ask how much of the rent is attributable to particular services and the lessor must give the tenant a written statement outlining each service/facility and the amount of rent attributed to each.
Lessors can make rules about the use, enjoyment, management and control of the park. A breach of the park rules may be considered to be a breach of the tenancy agreement, for which a notice to remedy breach may be served. Tenants must be notified in writing of any proposed changes to the park’s rules. They must be advised of how they may object and should have at least one month to lodge their objections. An elected park liaison committee must be formed to consider the objections, and the parties may apply to QCAT if agreement cannot be reached.
Tenants may be given notice to leave because the park is to be closed or the area will be used for another purpose. A notice to leave for voluntary park closure should state that the handover day is at least three months after the notice is given.
If the moveable dwelling park has become unfit to live in, within one month the lessor may issue the tenant a notice to leave for non-liveability, effective immediately. Tenants who wish to terminate the agreement have one month after the premises become unliveable in which to give notice to the lessor of their intention to leave, effective immediately.
A tenancy may be terminated if the tenant caused or will cause serious damage to the premises or injury to other people. Tenants can apply to QCAT for an order against a lessor who caused or is likely to cause:
- serious damage to the tenant’s possessions
- injury to the tenant or another person
- harassment, intimidation or verbal abuse to the tenant or another person.
Police can act on complaints about tenants or anyone causing serious damage or a nuisance in a caravan park. They can verbally direct the offenders to leave the premises for up to 24 hours. Police may arrest without warrant and detain any person who disobeys a direction, returns within the 24-hour period and does not provide identification when requested. Lessors may make an urgent application to QCAT for an order that a person be excluded from the park if a person causes a serious disturbance or nuisance within the park.
Entry conditions by the lessor to the site are basically the same as for other tenancies, with the exception that the agreement can state conditions of entry and frequency of entry required for carrying out maintenance of the site.