What law protects me if I live in a caravan?
If you live in a caravan, it can be sometimes difficult to work out which law applies to you. The best way to work it out, is to look at where your caravan is.
For example, you might live in a caravan on a rural property and pay money to the owner of that property. In this example, you may be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1999 (NT). If you live in a caravan park and have an agreement to live there for a year, you may be covered by the Caravan Parks Act 2012 (NT).
If you are unsure about which law applies to you, it is best to seek legal advice for help.
What is the Caravan Park Act, and who is Covered by it?
The Caravan Parks Act is the law that sets out the rights and responsibilities of caravan park operators and people who live in caravan parks in the Northern Territory.
The Caravan Parks Act applies only to two types of people:
- People who enter into an agreement to live in a caravan park for 12 months or more and:
- the caravan park is not advertised as being only for holiday or tourist accommodation;
- the agreement requires you to pay rent;
- the caravan and/or site is not run by a charity for homeless, unemployed or disadvantaged people;
- the caravan and/or site is not for emergency shelter or accommodation; and
- the agreement is not between family members or friends and only a small amount of rent is charged.
Note: if your agreement says that the Caravan Parks Act is to apply, you are protected by the Act even if your agreement falls into one of the previously listed categories
- People who have lived in the same caravan park for more than 5 years.
If your agreement is not covered by the Caravan Parks Act, the person from the caravan park who you sign your agreement with, must tell you that you will not be covered by the Act before you enter into an agreement with them.
I think I am covered by the Caravan Parks Act, what are my rights?
You have a right to:
- have the caravan site and facilities such as toilet and shower blocks provided and maintained in a reasonable state of repair;
- make and claim the cost of certain repairs;
- enjoy peace and privacy of your caravan without interruption by the park manager or owner;
- be given receipts for rent payments if paying by cash or cheque;
- have locks and security provided and well maintained;
- be given a written notice of termination if you are asked to leave; and
- be given 24-hour car access to the caravan site you occupy.
What are my Responsibilities if I am covered by the Caravan Parks Act?
- pay a security deposit (bond) if requested;
- pay rent on time;
- tell the park manager or owner if your caravan will be unoccupied for more than 30 days;
- tell the park manager or owner about any damage and any repairs that are required
- keep your caravan and surrounding areas reasonably clean;
- not damage the caravan, common areas and other site property;
- not change or alter locks without a reasonable excuse;
- not give false information to the park manager or owner when entering into an agreement;
- not use your caravan or site property for an illegal purpose;
- not sublet, or assign your rights and obligations under the caravan agreement to someone else without the permission of the park manager or owner; and
- not interfere with the peace or privacy of other people who are staying at the caravan park.
I do not think I am covered by the Caravan Parks Act, what can I do?
If you are not covered by the Act, you will still have rights in contract with the caravan park operator. If you have a written agreement, you can rely on what is written in that agreement. If you only had a verbal agreement, you can still rely on what was agreed on however it will be more difficult if there is a dispute as to what was said.
If you want to know more about your rights living in a caravan, please feel free to contact our service for free legal advice and information.
Darwin Community Legal Service 2019: Non-profit community groups have permission to reproduce parts of this publication as long as the original meaning is retained and proper credit is given to DCLS, as the publisher.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is a guide to the law in the Northern Territory. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer about your particular legal issue. The information contained in this factsheet is current as at November 2019.