A community group the government has relied on to represent the interests of park residents has been accused of ignoring their concerns and"Proposed new law "appalling" for residents": Mary Preston. Photo: Gene Ramirez Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/residential-park-advocacy-group-criticised-for-supporting-bill-20131113-2xfrj.html#ixzz2kZjgbylb defending new laws that swing the balance of power in favour of park owners.
The bill – which will give residential park owners greater authority to increase rents and to take a share of profits from the sale of prefabricated or mobile homes on their sites – was passed in the upper house of Parliament close to midnight on Tuesday.
While the government says the profit-sharing arrangement is voluntary, residents – many of whom are pensioners and low-income earners – fear they will have little choice in practice.
Charmaine Crowe, a senior policy adviser for the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association, said the legislation would likely see many residents pay more in rent. Advertisement
“We don't think there is anything voluntary in these agreements," she said. "There is a power imbalance that will benefit park owners. “Prospective residents are going to be pressured into these shared agreements because park operators will be able to bargain and charge higher rents if they refuse [them]," she said.
Ms Crowe said she was surprised that the Affiliated Residential Parks Residents Association (ARPRA), which received a $100,000 state government grant to canvas the views of residents, had not opposed voluntary sharing agreements which were "absolutely not in the best interests of residents".
Ms Crowe said the Park and Village Service, which the association oversees, had lost its government funding after it criticised the legislation. “The Park and Village Service has been the most outspoken critic of this legislation and its funding will run out on November 30," she said.
The head of ARPRA, Gary Martin, said there had been "wide consultation undertaken by ARPRA and its affiliates in explaining the laws to its members".