Local Government Regulations finally getting a refresh


By Eloise Parrab, Land Lease Communities Officer at the Tenants’ Union of NSW

The wait is finally over! The NSW Government is undertaking a review of the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2021.

The Tenants’ Union has referred to an urgent need to update these regulations in past articles in Outasite. There have been a few minor tweaks and changes to the regulations since they commenced in 2005. In that time though there have been major changes in residential land lease communities and in particular changes to the types of homes you find in communities. The regulations have not kept pace with these changes, are out of date and need a big refresh and update to make them both relevant and applicable to residential land lease communities in 2024.

Phase One

The review is being undertaken in two phases with phase one underway. Submissions for phase one proposals closed in January 2024 and we are waiting to hear what the final changes will be and when they will be implemented. Phase one appears to be primarily around bringing in recommendations from the NSW Flood Inquiry. The draft proposal is for no new permanent/long term sites on flood prone land. This will not be retrospective so it will not impact long term sites that are currently on flood prone land. There will also be requirements for new land lease communities including minimum floor levels in manufactured and relocatable homes. Any development will also have to ensure it doesn’t cause flooding elsewhere in the floodplain and there must be access to a refuge which is above the probable maximum flood level.

Changes to how separation distances are measured is also part of the phase one proposal. At the moment dwellings on long term sites must be 3 metres from the neighbouring dwelling. The proposal is for dwellings to be 1.5 metres from the site boundary on long term sites and 0.9 metres for short term sites which will result in an equal sharing of the required separation distance between dwellings.

Other proposed changes include:

  • fire hydrants and hose reels will need to meet Australian Standards and to be inspected and certified annually
  • community maps to be prepared by a surveyor (or other qualified person). Maps will need the number, size, location and dimensions of all sites, community buildings and facilities and location of fire hydrants, extinguisher and hose reels

We will keep you updated on this review process including the release of Phase Two of the review and will provide more details when the legislative amendments are made by NSW Parliament. You can find the Tenants’ Union’s Submission to the Phase One Review here.

Compliance Issues

We often hear from residents about issues they are dealing with where the operator appears to be ignoring local government regulations or the local Council are insisting on changes to sites and homes where they are alleged to be non-compliant. Some recent compliance issues that have been brought to our attention are from communities in Northern NSW where new homes have been brought in on sites where homes were too badly flooddamaged to be repaired. Many flood-impacted homes were assessed by Disaster Recovery Management companies like Johns Lyng Group and various consulting engineering firms and either demolition / removal of the home or significant structural works were recommended. The new homes that have been brought in are owned by the operator and many have since been sold or are up for sale. Issues include failure to comply with separation distances between homes with the back steps of some homes virtually touching. There is also no set back from the road for some homes. The current local government regulations require relocatable homes to be at least one metre from an access road. These issues have been raised with the local Council but it’s unclear yet what action might be taken.

In another area of NSW the local Council has been taking a very close look at compliance issues in the land lease communities within their council area over the last couple of years. We have been advised by residents that they have been told they need to remove structures to ensure they are complying with separation distances and some have been told they need to raise their homes by over 2 metres due to the flood risk. The Tenants’ Union hears from residents and Tenant Advocates across the state and what we see is a very wide range of approaches taken by local Councils when looking at compliance by the operator with the local government regulations. It’s important to remember that your home and associated structures must comply with the local government regulations that were in existence at the time your home was built on site or when you made any amendments or additions to your home or structures on your site. If you have concerns over changes you are asked to make to your home or other structures on your site then we encourage you to seek advice before making any changes which can be very costly and ultimately impact on the value of your home.

For advice, call your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service.


This article was published in Outasite magazine issue 11. Outasite is published once or twice annually. Outasite Lite email newsletter is sent several times a year – subscribe subscribe here. All past issues are available in the archive.