ARPQ has been meeting with the Government through the Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) since 2013/4 up to very recent times. Glen Franklin, then president of ARPQ and the writer met with members of the DHPW and we speak as we find, the team that we met with over time were always very professional and gave us a fair hearing which we appreciated. We virtually worked our way through the whole of the Act over time but the main thrust of our discussion always centred around a “fair balance of interest between the parties to the agreements” i.e. park operators and home owners. We have since that time when attending meetings with government pressed that same philosophy, that elusive fair balance of interest. Under the circumstances, is this unreasonable? We think not.
The overview is that a land owner (assuming that a bank does not hold a mortgage over the land) park operator invites the public to erect a home on a site on the land. The park operator, of its own volition, chooses to provide certain amenities for the pleasure of prospective home owners. In return, occupiers of a site (home owners) pay a site fee for the privilege of erecting a home on a site within the land perimeter, the residential park. So who owns what? the land owner/park operator presumably owns the land and any facilities provided within the park. The home owners in the park remain the legal owners of the houses positioned on sites on the land.
In light of the foregoing, there are two parties that claim ownership within the park, i.e. land owner/park operator and home owners. Therefore the terminology within the legislation when it refers to the land owner as the park owner is a deliberate distortion of the truth as explained above. Its not rocket science.
So what we have is a virtual joint venture between the parties and this is why we have always sought, in all fairness, the fair balance of interest between the parties. This is where the park operators and the legislators refuse to acknowledge the ownership rights of the home owners and is a blatant disregard for same. Home owners are treated like renters with no interest in any of the property within the park, to the point that home owners are not really free to sell their own homes unless the park operator reasonably agrees to the sale. So what is reasonable? The writer was once told by a lawyer that whole court cases are fought on the word reasonable. The simple fact is no park operator has the legal right to deny any home owner to sell their home.
Example: Where a bank or financial institution holds a mortgage over a property, the mortgagee has every right in law to sell their interest in their property. home owners living in residential parks are denied this right at the behest of the park operator. Hence we ask for a fair balance of interest so that home owners may enjoy the rights of other citizens of this country.
Why does this not happen, why do the legislators deliberately remove the home owners rights? The answer is the quid pro quo system. Because the Government rely upon park operators to establish these residential parks, the park operators call the tune when it comes to the legislation. This is the first sign of week ineffective very biased government who is for sale to the highest bidder. That’s the crux of this legislation and is repeated through out the whole piece.
So when the premier of this State says in the media that home owners in residential parks are to be protected, see it for what it is, a complete fabrication based on securing the home owner vote later this year. We should all challenge the Premier to prove this wrong and use your vote accordingly.