The site agreement saga (Caveat Lector)

Caveat lector simply means “reader beware” and that is so important before signing a site agreement, even the Government understand this. Some park operators are genuine in their dealings but the majority should be treated with a deal of suspicion so prospective home owners should always consult a contracts lawyer. This may cost a bit more than the usual family lawyer but horses for courses, always consult an expert.

Government site agreements usually carry a warning message on the front page which is about the only decent thing this government has ever done for home owners in residential parks. Please pay attention to this warning. Be aware that the precise description and measurements of your prospective site is a true record showing all the site measurements and any other relevant details. Look at the site and ask questions and ask to have any answers written into the agreement. Do not just accept the spoken word as an answer to any questions, the spoken word can and will be denied should there be a dispute after signing the agreement.

Look for and ask about site fee increases which should be written into the agreement. Ask questions. Confirm that your site fee has not been increased because you are a new home owner, this is an old trick. The park operator will use your increased site fee to claim that because you have agreed to the increase, that this somehow sets the market rate for the whole park which is not so. A market rate is based on what a person is prepared to pay at a given time, it does not set the market rate for the whole park. It is really only what you are prepared to pay at a given time. The market is not a stagnant commodity, it rises and falls according to economic fluctuations. An example of this is the ever increasing number of residential parks being developed all over the place. This in real terms should effect competitive marketing based on competition for customers. This does not apply to residential parks. The government legislates particularly to bypass market forces when it come to residential parks. Park operators need only to apply cartel like conditions which allows park operators to compare site fees based in all probability on who can freely charge the most and get away with it. Competition is out of the equation.

Also be aware of “special terms” in the site agreement, these special terms are only there to screw more money at sometime out of home owners. All that is required is a set of park rules and yes if a resident or visitor causes damage to the park operators property, that damage must be paid for by the offender. That’s reasonable.

So please beware when considering entering a residential park. The concept is great. living along side people of you own age and making new friends. Always be aware that the Government legislates to satisfy park operators as a reward for establishing residential parks. Once in, you are on your own.

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