Residential parks and lifestyle communities advice for seniors
Residential parks provide sites upon which relocatable homes are placed. Residents either rent a home and a site, or rent a site only and own the home on the site. The home may be a caravan, cabin, park home or motor home. Whether you own the home or not, park living always involves renting the site. It is important to understand, in most residential parks, all you own is the relocatable home and this (not the land) is what you sell when you leave the park.
In Western Australia, residential parks are generally either:
- 'mixed-use' parks: residential parks that cater for both long-stay tenants and holiday makers; or
- 'lifestyle villages': residential parks solely for long-stay tenants. Some lifestyle villages are specifically set up for people over 45.
Many types of housing can use the term 'lifestyle village' in their name or promotional materials. The term 'lifestyle village' will not tell you whether the housing option is a retirement village, a strata title complex, a residential tenancy, or a residential park. The table on the housing choices page may help with figuring out what type of housing you live in.
When considering any option, check with the operator or salesperson to see what type of accommodation is being offered and which laws will cover you as a resident.
The following information is based on a lifestyle village under the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006, because this is a common scenario.
Lifestyle villages generally offer a different experience than mixed-use parks. Lifestyle villages are often marketed to people over 45 and are designed specifically to cater to long-stay residents. Many provide amenities such as swimming pools, recreation centres and storage areas for boats or caravans.
When you want to leave a lifestyle village you will have to sell the home to a new owner. When selling a home on site, there are two transactions that must take place. The seller must:
- enter into an agreement with the buyer for the purchase of the home, and
- ensure that an agreement is reached between the park operator and the prospective purchaser allowing them to live in the village.
You should be aware that even after you leave a lifestyle village you will have to continue to pay the site rent until the home is sold to a new resident.
Residential parks checklist
- Am I happy with the terms of the agreement? Are the terms negotiable?
- What happens if I change my mind after I sign a tenancy agreement?
- What are the up-front and ongoing charges? How are increases to the on-going charges calculated?
- What is a security bond? Can I be asked to pay a bond if I own my home?
- If I want to go on holiday, can I rent the site or the home while I am away?
- Can I make improvements to the exterior of my home?
- Can I keep pets?
- What are the park rules? How are rules enforced? How can rules be changed?
- Can I have a say in the running of the park?
- Can the park operator enter my rented premises? Can I refuse entry?
- What shared facilities are available?
- How are utilities charged?
- Is there a charge for visitors?
- What are my rights if I want to sell my caravan or park home?
- What happens if the park operator wishes to sell?
- Can I be asked to leave the park and under what circumstances? How much will it cost to move my home? Where else could I go? When am I entitled to compensation?
- Is there an exit fee payable when I sell my home and how much is it?
- How long, on average, is it taking to sell homes in this park?
For more information
- See the Residential parks (lifestyle villages and caravan parks) section of this website
- Seniors Housing Guide - Residential parks and lifestyle villages facts sheet
- Living in Residential Parks
Detailed information from the seniors housing guide.
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