Compensating residents forced out by park closures

The Victorian Government is making life easier for caravan and residential park residents, who now may be eligible to receive compensation in the event of a park closure, under new reforms coming into effect.

There has been a spate of park closures in the past few years, often leaving the state’s most vulnerable people facing homelessness.

Under the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if a park is due to be closed, park owners must apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to determine the compensation payable to residents who own fixed dwellings in the park.

The amount of compensation an eligible resident is to receive will cover reasonable relocation costs if their dwelling is going to be moved, or compensation for loss of residency if the dwelling is not going to be relocated.

Previously, operators did not have to provide compensation to residents of caravan parks, who were often left vulnerable by a closure because they had invested their savings into fixed dwellings that are very costly or impossible to relocate.

Park operators who lease the land on which the caravan or residential park is located will not be required to apply to VCAT or be liable to pay compensation if the park closure is due to the head lease ending.

Other reforms include laws enabling the suppression of addresses of certain crisis accommodation from the public Rooming House Register, which will improve protection and support for family violence victims living in residential rental housing.

A new tenancy agreement for long-term leases will also commence today, providing additional benefits for tenants and landlords renting for more than five years.

A package of more than 130 rental reforms passed the Parliament in September 2018, with the changes to come into force progressively by 1 July 2020.

Source: Vic Government