Abandoned homes in residential parks
If, as the residential park owner, you believe a home owner has abandoned their manufactured home, you can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to make an abandonment order.
An abandonment order declares that the home owner has abandoned the home and specifies the day the home was considered abandoned.
If QCAT makes an abandonment order, the owner is then considered to have abandoned their home and their site agreement is terminated.
In deciding whether to make the abandonment order, QCAT may consider if:
- any site rent payable under the agreement is unpaid
- the home is unoccupied and neglected
- the agreement has already been terminated
- the home owner's mail is being collected
- reports from the home owner's neighbours or other people about the owner's whereabouts or absence
- utilities supplied to or used at the home have been disconnected
- the home owner's personal effects have been removed from the home.
As well as an abandonment order, QCAT can also:
- authorise you to sell the home and any of the home owner's personal effects that remain in the home or on the site
- order the home owner to pay you any amount of rent owing up to the day their agreement is terminated.
Park owner obligations
You must not sell the home or the home owner's personal effects:
- unless QCAT authorises the sale
- to a prohibited person (park owner, employee or relative of the park owner), unless QCAT authorises the sale.
If QCAT grants the order, you do not incur any liability for selling the home, or selling or removing personal belongings from the home or site, if you act honestly and without negligence.
Anyone who buys the home or belongings gets a clear title to them. This means that anyone else's interest in these items ends unless the buyer does not act honestly in the purchase.
Distributing sale proceeds
You must distribute the proceeds from the sale of an abandoned manufactured home in this order:
- Pay the reasonable costs of selling the home, or removing, storing and selling the personal effects.
- Pay any amount under a security interest registered for the home or personal effects.
- Pay any relevant termination payment owed to the home owner.
- Pay the balance to the home owner or, if the home owner's whereabouts is unknown, to the public trustee within 10 days of the sale.
If you appoint a public trustee to receive the balance, you must pay this amount into the unclaimed money fund kept under the Public Trustee Act 1978.
Once the public trustee pays the amount to the fund, you may apply to QCAT to receive payment for loss of rent money that you would have received between the agreement termination date and the date you sold the home, or sold/removed belongings from the park, from the money paid into the fund.
When considering the application, QCAT would look at whether you:
- acted as soon as reasonably practicable to sell the home or belongings
- took all reasonable steps to reduce your loss of site rent that would have been paid if the agreement were still in force.