Caravan parks

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Caravan parks

You are considered to be a resident of a caravan park if you have:

  • lived in the caravan park for at least 60 days without a break (this does not include staying at a park for holidays or other reasons)
  • a written agreement from a caravan park operator to stay there.

If you own a caravan in a caravan park but live somewhere else, you are not considered to be a resident.  

Note – rental laws have recently changed

New laws provide more protections for renters. These changes started on 29 March 2021. Learn more about the changes and new rental laws on the Tenants Victoria website.

Caravan park residents, owners and operators have legal rights and obligations. There are two types of caravan park residents in Victoria:

  • people who hire a caravan and rent the site – their rights are set out in a booklet Caravan park guide
  • people who own their caravan (wholly or in part) and rent the site – their rights are set out in a booklet called Moveable dwellings guide.

A caravan park owner or operator must give a copy of these guides, as well as a copy of the caravan park rules, to residents on or before the day they move in.

A written agreement is required for a person who owns their caravan and rents the site. They must be given the proposed written agreement 20 days before signing, in order to seek legal advice. There is also a cooling off period of five business days after signing.

Residents’ rights and responsibilities

Caravan park residents have the right to:

  • receive a copy of the park rules in writing from the owner
  • be given a statement of any fees, charges or commissions
  • privacy and ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the site.

Caravan park residents are responsible for:

  • using the site for residential purposes only
  • not using the site for any illegal purpose
  • paying rent/hire charges on the due date
  • ensuring their visitors don't interfere with other park users’ quiet enjoyment
  • keeping the site clean
  • keeping their caravan in a good and safe condition (if they own the van)
  • not erecting structures or making alterations to the site without the consent of the operator
  • repairing any damage, or notifying the operator of any damage and paying compensation for it (not including fair wear and tear)
  • not allowing more than the number of persons agreed to reside on the site.

Repairs and maintenance

All repairs (urgent and non-urgent) are the caravan park owner’s responsibility, but if the resident caused the damage the owner can ask them to arrange and/or pay for repairs. It is also the caravan park owner's duty to maintain communal areas, including cleaning and repairing communal bathrooms, toilets and laundries.

Residents must also be given written notice of the full name and address of the park owner or their agent, and an emergency telephone number in case urgent repairs are needed, within seven days of moving in.

Urgent repairs include serious problems with the water or toilet system, gas or electricity, as well as any fault or damage that makes the caravan unsafe.

If the owner won’t fix the problem, a resident may arrange for urgent repairs to their caravan or site as long as the repairs don't cost more than $2500. The owner must pay a resident back for the cost of urgent repairs (or replacement if the fault cannot be repaired) within seven days of the resident giving written notice of the cost of the repairs.

Non-urgent repairs need to be reported to the caravan park owner in writing. The owner then has 14 days to make sure the repairs are done.

A resident can request Consumer Affairs Victoria investigate whether the caravan park owner is making sure that the caravan is being maintained in good repair. After the inspection, the inspector will write a report and send it to the resident. The inspector may speak to the caravan park owner and ask them to make the changes that are suggested. If the owner does not make the changes, the caravan park resident can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal using the report as evidence.

Changes to park rules

Caravan park residents must follow the caravan park rules.

Caravan park owners can change the park rules. When rules change each resident must be informed in writing at least seven days before the rules come into effect.

Before any changes can be made to park rules, the owner must consult with residents about the planned changes and give residents the chance to have their say about the changes.

If you think a rule is unfair, you can apply to the tribunal for an order declaring it to be unreasonable. Contact Tenants Victoria if you are thinking about applying to the tribunal.

Notice to vacate

A resident can be asked to leave a caravan park immediately if:

  • they or their visitor has caused serious damage to the caravan, site or park facilities
  • the caravan park owner has ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that a serious act of violence has occurred
  • the safety of someone on the premises is in danger
  • they are causing a serious disruption to the peace of the caravan park.

Seven days’ notice can be given if:

  • there is seven days or more rent/hire charges owing
  • there has been a breach of a compliance order or compensation order issued by the tribunal
  • two ‘breach of duty’ notices have already been served and the same problem arises again
  • the caravan or site is used for illegal purposes.

When there is a written agreement with a set end date, a caravan owner can give a resident 14 days’ notice if the owner or member of the owner’s immediate family will be moving in.

If there is no written agreement or the agreement has no set end date, residents must be given 60 days' notice if the caravan is to be sold or six months' notice if the caravan park is closing.

In some cases you can argue against a notice to vacate. You can also ask the tribunal to make an order giving you more time if moving out would cause you severe hardship.

Before the tribunal can make a possession order, it must consider whether in all the circumstances it is ‘reasonable and proportionate’ to make the order.

Arguing against a notice to vacate

Generally, you can argue against a notice to vacate if it was not given properly or if you disagree with the reason given.

If you’ve been served a Notice to Vacate because the caravan has been sold and you want to challenge the validity of the notice, you must contact the tribunal within 30 days of receiving the notice.

You can also argue against a notice if it would be difficult for you to move out without more time.

Before the tribunal can make a possession order, it must consider whether in all the circumstances it is ‘reasonable and proportionate’ to make the order.

You can’t be forced out unless the tribunal makes an order for possession (an eviction). The owner can’t use force to make you leave. This can only be done by police or another authorised person after the tribunal has made an order for possession and the caravan park owner has purchased a ‘warrant of possession’.

Contact Tenants Victoria if you want to argue against a notice or are thinking about applying to the tribunal.

Caravan park closures

If you have been given a Notice to Vacate because a caravan park is closing, in some cases you may be eligible for compensation if you own the caravan and it is fixed to the land (other than an annexe).

More information about caravan park closures is set out in the Consumer Affairs Victoria booklet, Caravan park guide.

Tenants Victoria also have some helpful information on caravan parks.

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