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The dos and don’ts of land leases

10 February 2017 Hannah Blackiston
The dos and don’ts of land leases

The Tenants’ Union of NSW regularly receives complains from land lease community residents about the behaviour of operators. Here are its recommendations on what tenants should be doing, or not doing, in these scenarios.

The main complaints by tenants include reports of interference in sales, harassment, intimidation and bullying.

The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 contains provisions around operator behaviour, including rules of conduct.

According to the Tenants’ Union, the community rules apply to all residents and occupants of the community, plus the owner, operator and their employees. If the operator enforces a rule against one resident or occupant, but not the rest, it’s not consistent or fair and is therefore a breach of the act.

The act is also clear about rules of conduct for operators, what is expected in their management of the community and dealings with residents and tenants. The operators are required to have knowledge and understanding of the relevant legislation, including the act, and must take reasonable steps to ensure their employees comply with the legislation.

The operator must also act honestly, fairly and professionally in all negotiations and transactions, and not mislead or deceive any parties involved. They must also not use high-pressure tactics, harassment, harsh and unconscionable conduct, and must exercise reasonable care and diligence.

Tenants should not be concerned about any retaliatory conduct from an operator, as the act covers this. It states that operators must not engage in retaliatory conduct against an occupier because a complaint has been made.

Tenants have rights in these situations and should be made aware of them. They can make a complaint to NSW Fair Trading or submit an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). NSW Fair Trading will attempt to educate the operator about the requirements and laws, but if the behaviour continues, they can be slapped with penalties.

NCAT can make orders restraining operator behaviour or issue requirements for the operator to do, or not do, certain things. If tenants have any concerns, they can contact either body for advice.

The dos and don’ts of land leases
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