A NON-PROFIT volunteer organisation is giving a voice to manufactured homeowners living in retirement complexes throughout Ipswich with the key hope of regulating site rent increases.
Queensland Manufactured Home Owners Association (QMHOA) executives have been visiting local villages to explain what they do and to build their membership numbers.
QMHOA President Roger Marshall, who is currently in his third year as president, said that residential parks had become a popular option for retirement living.
“Manufactured residential parks and retirement villages are both common options for retirement living but have different business models,” he said.
“Compared to retirement villages you get full proceeds of the home, but you need to pay the park owners a fee which covers the land and use of the facilities and services of the park.”
Mr Marshall said QMHOA offered services in three main areas – information and education, assistance, and advocacy.
“We offer information and education about the ins and outs of the rights and responsibilities of homeownership in manufactured home residential parks,” he said.
“People are often not fully aware of their rights and responsibilities under the legislation and so we provide that education service.”
Mr Marshall said that QMHOA often visited parks and gave presentations to educate and assist residents with understanding the Manufactured Homes Act 2003.
The association also offers assistance to prevent unfair treatment of manufactured homeowners.
“The big issue that we come across is the costs of living in the parks, where park owners are very keen on putting up the site rents and at the same time minimising the costs of running the park by cutting back on the facilities,” Mr Marshall said.
“We also come across park managers and owners who are doing things in a way that goes against the legislation and they often get away with it because people are unaware.”
He said that QMHOA was devoted to advocating for manufactured homeowners and hoped that the government would place some significant regulation on site rent increases.
“There is currently a review going on for the Manufactured Homes Act and proposals have been made but we are waiting for a final decision.”
Mr Marshall said the main area the government was looking at was regulating the way site rents are increased and regulating what happened around the sale of homes.
“When you sell a home in a residential park it is a different set-up compared to selling a home in other parts of the community,” he said.
“You have three parties involved – the person who owns the house, the person who is buying the house and then you have the park owner where the house is located.”
Mr Marshall said that park owners have generally been using the sale of homes as an excuse to put in place new site agreements.
“These tend to have higher rents compared to previous.
“Our argument is the increases in site rents should be closely linked to the increases in the expenditure on park operations..
“Site rates are paid for the costs in operating the park so if parks feel the need to increase the site rate, they need to show the need in putting up the cost.” Mr Marshall said.