Manufactured homes legislation changes

On 23 May 2024, Queensland Parliament passed amendments to the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 to improve consumer protection, and address concerns about site rent increases and sales in residential parks.

The Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Amendment Act 2024 received assent on 6 June 2024. The amendments will deliver a range of improvements and commence in stages throughout 2024 and 2025. This will provide time for consultation and implementation.

Amendments commencing on assent

Site rent increases limited to 3.5% or CPI (whichever is higher)

The limit applies to all site rent increases for current and future home owners.

The limit is a ceiling and existing site rent increase bases (unless they are market rent reviews) are not replaced. Site agreements with terms that are more beneficial than the limit will not be affected.

Prohibition of market rent reviews

Park owners cannot use market rent reviews as a basis to increase site rent.

Market rent review clauses in existing site agreements are voided. Park owners can no longer use them to increase site rent.

If a site agreement includes a market rent review clause that is voided by these provisions, the park owner may instead use any alternative basis to increase site rent provided for in the site agreement.

If no alternative basis exists, the park owner may instead increase site rent based on CPI.

The Act allows park owners to have QCAT set a new increase basis if the alternative basis is not CPI and will not be enough to maintain the park’s viability.

Buyback and site rent reduction scheme introduction

The opt-in scheme encourages the timely sale of pre-owned manufactured homes.

An eligible home owner can ‘opt in’ to the buyback and rent reduction scheme if this criteria applies:

  • the home has been on the market for 6 months and hasn’t sold
  • the home is vacant
  • the park owner has been appointed to sell the home (if they offer selling services).

Six months after a home owner opts in to the scheme, the park owner must reduce the home owner’s site rent by 25%.

Twelve months after joining the scheme, the park owner must buy the manufactured home.

See the Act for details about the scheme operation, including home eligibility, and notification and valuation processes that home owners and park owners must follow. More resources and guidance material for home owners and park owners will be available soon.

Revised protections for home owners with terminated site agreement

Terminations are rare. However, if they do occur, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) will have more discretion to make appropriate orders.

When a site agreement is terminated, QCAT may order that the home be removed from the site or ownership be transferred to the park owner in exchange for compensation – if the transfer is appropriate and the home owner consents.

QCAT will be able to award compensation where appropriate, no matter why the site agreement is being terminated.

Amendments commencing 6 months after assent

Multiple options to pay site rent, including fee-free

Park owners must offer home owners at least 3 approved ways to pay site rent, including at least 1 fee-free way. This amendment commences for new site agreements 6 months after assent.

Within 12 months after commencing, park owners must also offer this to home owners with existing site agreements.

This expands home owners’ choice and autonomy over how they pay site rent and gives them more flexibility to change this payment option if their circumstances change.

Amendments commencing on a date set by proclamation

Maintenance and capital replacement plans

Park owners will be required to prepare maintenance and capital replacement plans for the residential park. This will:

  • encourage park owners to be proactive about maintenance and capital replacement work
  • allow home owners to engage with park owners about emerging issues or priorities.

Park owners must provide the plans to the home owners committee and the department, and to other home owners on request.

Detailed requirements for these plans will be established in an approved form and regulation developed in consultation with key stakeholders.

Residential park comparison document requirements

Park owners will be required to prepare a park comparison document. They must host this document on a website for the park and include a document link on any website advertisements for the sale of a manufactured home.

The department will make a regulation that outlines the requirements for comparison documents. Generally it should include information about site rents, communal facilities, services and amenities, frequency and bases of site rent increases, and services and utilities included in site rent.

This amendment will help home owners better:

  • understand what they are buying
  • compare what a park is offering with that offered by other parks and forms of accommodation.

This will help them make informed decisions and drive competition, resulting in better outcomes for consumers.

Detailed requirements for these documents will be established in an approved form and regulation developed in consultation with key stakeholders.

Limiting bases for site rent increases to approved bases

The Act creates a power to make regulations to prescribe approved ways to increase site rent in new site agreements.

This regulation-making power will make site agreements more consistent.

We will consult further with stakeholders to identify the appropriate bases to be prescribed by regulation. The regulation will probably include many bases currently in use, such as CPI, a fixed percentage or a formula based on specific cost increases.

Stronger registration requirements for residential parks

Park owners will be required to apply to register new parks. It will be an offence to operate an unregistered park.

All existing residential parks that are currently recorded will be considered registered.

The chief executive will require information to ensure a proposed residential park is suitable for registration. They can also request relevant information from park owners to ensure the register remains up to date.

Improvements to streamline sales process and ensure new and up-to-date site agreements

Home owners will no longer be able to assign site agreements except in limited circumstances (e.g. to immediate family members or the beneficiary for a deceased estate). See more details in the Act.

Some beneficial terms will be carried over from a seller’s site agreement.

This ensures a single sales process and that buyers receive up-to-date site agreements, which will streamline the sales process.

Read more about improvements to residential (manufactured home) parks.

Advocacy and support for residents

A manufactured home owners organisation has been funded to conduct advocacy and support manufactured home owners in residential parks to:

  • understand their rights
  • represent their interests to village operators, service providers, park owners and government.

See the Right Where You Live website for more details.

The Queensland Retirement Village and Park Advice Service has also been funded to provide free legal information and advice to manufactured home owners.

More information

Contact us for more information.