The MHIA Guide To Land Lease Communities In New South Wales | MHIA Insurance
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Residential Land Lease Communities: A Comprehensive Guide for Prospective Residents In New South Wales.

5 minute read

You’re selling up, it’s time to find some greener pastures and you’ve stumbled upon the idea of living in a lifestyle resort – but your not sure where to begin. Land lease communities offer a unique living arrangement where you own the home but lease the land it sits on from a community operator.

Let’s be clear, MHIA is not involved in running or managing any of the active communities across Australia. Our role is to provide home owners with great home and contents cover to suit their needs. We’ve been providing insurance to manufactured home communities for 30 years and what we’ve learned over that time is that it can be tricky to understand what a lifestyle community actually is.

Let's address some of the most common questions people have when they set out to move into an over 50’s lifestyle community so you can have a clear place to gather information before you decide to move.

What Is A Residential Land Lease Community? Is It Like A Retirement Village?

Land lease communities and retirement villages are not the same thing. The key difference is that residents living in a land lease community, manufactured home estate or a manufactured home have full ownership of their dwelling. The only part they lease, or rent, is the land underneath their home which they do so from a community operator. In New South Wales alone approximately 34,000 residents live across 500 different land lease communities, each operated by a range of different organisations from large corporations to small family businesses. These communities offer a variety of services, facilities, and financial arrangements to suit different lifestyles and preferences.

Are There Any Rules, Regulations Or Registers That Govern A Land Lease Community?

Each state has it’s own set of rules, regulations and laws pertaining to land lease communities. Covering each would turn this article into a small novel, so we’ll just cover New South Wales which has the largest number of parks and residents. To assist prospective residents in their search for the perfect land lease community, NSW Fair Trading maintains a comprehensive Residential Land Lease Communities Register. This record lists all registered land lease communities and allows you to search for specific communities by location, post code, or local government area. It's a valuable resource for gaining insights into each community's details, including the number of residents in each locality.

Are There Any Regulations Or Acts I Should Know About?

Yes, land lease communities in NSW are covered under The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013. This act recently underwent a statutory review to assess its policy objectives and break down how effective it's been in achieving them. The review's findings were tabled in the NSW Parliament, and the report is available for download on the Parliament of NSW website. Additionally, an Industry Profile has been created from the details stored in the register, providing a wealth of information to anyone performing a bit of due diligence before they move. This includes general park locations and the number of residents in each area.

What Kinds Of Forms Do I Need To Know About?

You’ve done your research, picked a park and are ready to take the next step. Unsurprisingly there’s going to be some paperwork to do. Your chosen community will have a sales office, community office or management group that should be able to furnish you with all the appropriate paper work – in some case this will be available to you online or through your states' Fairtrade website too. These resources cover everything from the beginning to the end of an agreement with a resident, giving you a clear understanding of the laws and processes involved. Additionally, some will include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section to help you understand specific topics, such as electricity in a community with an embedded network.

Is Moving To A Land Lease Community Comparable to a Traditional Home?

Yes, it's functionally the same, but there are some things to consider. With all the necessary paperwork in hand, you're nearly ready to embark on an exciting journey into a residential land lease community. At this point, you might be on the brink of finalizing a contract for construction, securing a property from an existing homeowner, or making a direct purchase from the community operator. As you prepare to become a resident in your new community, it's crucial to be aware of your rights:

  • You are entitled to seek advice freely and without any limitations.
  • No payments, fees, or charges are required upfront until you commit to an agreement.
  • Expect to receive a disclosure statement and a publication from Fair Trading titled "Moving into a Residential Land Lease Community." Make sure to give it a thorough read.
  • You should have obtained a comprehensive site condition report and a written site agreement.
  • Keep in mind that there is a 2 week cooling-off period, during which you can change your mind.

Aside from those elements above we also suggest speaking with a professional removalist to facilitate your move and beginning the process of rightsizing your possessions for your new home – with a little help from your family of course.

Why Should I Get Specialist Home & Contents Cover?

While there are no statutory limits or laws regarding the type of insurance you choose for your land lease home, we would encourage you to consider choosing a specialist like MHIA. We understand the differences between a standard home and a manufactured home and create our policies to cater to your unique needs. Many insurers do not see these differences and so you’re premium may be higher. It’s always worth contacting our team to see if we can offer a more competitive premium or a similar or better level of cover with greater inclusions.

Congratulations on taking the first step toward exploring the world of residential land lease communities. With this guide, we hope you feel better informed and equipped to make the right decisions for your future. Whether you're searching for a community that fits your budget, lifestyle, or preferences, there's a perfect land lease community waiting for you, where new adventures and cherished memories await.