Yes, you can rent out your home in a residential land lease community in limited circumstances, however, you need the operator’s written permission to do so before entering into a site agreement. Operators cannot un reasonably withhold permission for an owner to sub-let their site and home for 12 months or less, once every 3 years.
Tenants have to comply with the terms and conditions set out in the site agreement signed by the home owner. These include caring for the premises and reporting the need for any repairs and maintenance, paying utility bills on time, not using the premises for illegal purposes and not interfering with the peace, comfort or privacy of neighbours.
What Rules Do I Have To Comply With?
Before signing a site agreement each prospective home owner is given a copy of the community rules, which create a framework for happy and harmonious living within the community.
The rules are set by each operator and have to be fair, reasonable and clearly expressed and apply equally to all people living, working or visiting the community.
The rules cover all issues relating to use, enjoyment, control and management of the community including noise, motor vehicle speed limits, parking, rubbish disposal, the keeping of pets, use and operation of communal facilities, fire safety.
What Does a Residents Committee Do?
A Residents Committee is a group of residents elected by those living in thecommunity to represent their interests and to create a formal channel of communication with the community operator. It is not mandatory to have a Residents Committee (some communities are very small) but no operator can prevent a committee being established.
The operator is legally obliged to consult with the Residents Committee on dispute resolution procedures, any proposed changes to community rules or any proposals to change or introduce a facility or service.
Can An Operator Force Me To Leave A Community?
When you live in the community you have responsibility to comply with the terms of the site agreement and community rules. Any major breach of the rules or terms of the site agreement can be grounds for the operator to terminate your lease.
To start this process, the operator must first issue you with a termination notice – but if you decided not to vacate the operator must then apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for orders for termination and possession of the site.
You have the right to put a case to the Tribunal that your site agreement should not be ended, but if the Tribunal makes a termination order then you must vacate.
Your site agreement can also be terminated without the need to issue a termination notice if you (or anyone occupying your home) have caused serious damage to property; have threatened or caused injury to people living or working in the community; or used the residence for illegal purposes.
How do i sell my home when I leave?
When it is time to sell your home you (or the executor or beneficiary of your estate) can sell your house by simply informing the operator before advertising or offering the home for sale.
You also need to refer any prospective buyers to the operator so they can carry out their obligations in fully informing prospective home ownefrs about the terms and conditions of site agreements and community rules. This includes giving the prospective home owner a Disclosure Statement setting out all the things about living in the community.
You have the choice of appointing the operator or a real estate agent to handle the sale. An operator must not interfere with the sale of your home in any way – including by attempting to charge a buyer a higher site fee than you or others in the community are paying for a comparable site.
The new owner of your home will enter into a new site agreement with the operator.
What happens if my house doesn’t sell – am I obliged to pay rental fees and what happens to my home?
You (or if you have passed away, your heirs) are obliged to pay site fees until your site agreement is ended and a new home owner enters into a site agreement with the operator.
Your executors or beneficiaries have the right to sell the home so that it remains on site. In this way the home is sold with the important right for the home to remain on site in place.
Can Friends and Family Stay?
Yes, but a homeowner needs the written consent of the operator of the community (unless otherwise stated in the site agreement, particularly where there is an age restriction community rule) to allow additional persons live or stay with them.
Some communities may set reasonable conditions for having visitors such as limiting the number of persons that can stay overnight or the length of stay.
Usually most allow visits of between 4- 6 weeks in a year but do not allow you to charge guests for staying on the premises. Spouses, partners and carers all have an automatic right to live with the home owner without the need for consent from the operator.
What Happens If I Breach A Community Rule?
If the operator believes you have broken a community rule, you may be issued with a written notice to remedy the breach within a period of at least 30 days.
If you fail to remedy the breach in that time, the operator can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The Tribunal has the power to order you to comply with the rule or, if it thinks the breach is sufficient will justify terminating your site agreement or tenancy agreement.
Do I Have To Maintain My Home?
In land lease communities you are responsible for the maintenance of your home. Site Agreements stipulate that the property has to be maintained in a reasonable state and you need to consult with and obtain permission from the operator to add fixtures such as decks or garages to the residential site, or to replace your home with another.
However, permission cannot be unreasonably withheld and an operator cannot force you to either replace your home with a newer one or make any upgrades or improvements unless there are health and safety issues involved. For your personal safety and well-being and to protect your investment it’s good idea to keep your home in good order; in most communities residents are very house-proud, often enhancing the garden areas around their properties or adding to the charm of their houses with flowering shrubs and pot plants.
What happens if an operator wants to close or sell the site and it is to be used for the purpose other than a land lease community?
An operator can give you a termination notice on the grounds that there is to be a change in the use of your site, but only if the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) has authorised the notice and development consent has been obtained.
The termination notice must give you a minimum of 12-months to vacate the site unless any fixed term remains on your site agreement.. Operators must also assist you in finding alternate accommodation and this must be approximately the same standard of home on a site requiring a similar rental to your existing home.
The operator must also cover the costs of your relocation to another community including removal of your home from its existing site, transportation of your home and possessions, installing your home on the new site and connecting services, repair of any damages caused by the move and landscape the new site to the same standard as the old site.
If you cannot or do not want to relocate then the operator has to pay you compensation; the amount payable, or method of calculation is set out in the Residential (Land Lease Communities) Act 2013.
FOR YOUR PROTECTION
All residential communities are required to be registered with NSW Fair Trading and you can easily check the register to see if there has been any enforcement or disciplinary action that may have been taken the NSW Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013.