Caravan parks and camping

The department administers the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995 (the Act). 

Local governments are responsible for issuing, renewing and cancelling licences for caravan parks and park home parks as well as assessing planning applications for these facilities against their local planning schemes and other relevant policies.
An elderly couple standing in front of their park home

Park home parks

Park homes are defined in the Act as a vehicle of a prescribed class or description that is fitted or designed for habitation. A park home park is a caravan park at which park homes, but not any other caravans or camps, are situated for habitation. Park home parks are often called ‘Lifestyle Villages’. 

Under the Act, park homes are required to have a chassis, axles and wheels which are structurally able to bear the weight of the park home giving it the capacity to be drawn by another vehicle on a public road.

Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Amendment Regulations 2020

What changes are being made?

The Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Amendment Regulations 2020 (amendment regulations) insert a new Part 4A 'Manufactured homes and attachments' into the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997 (the Regulations).

These amendment regulations provide a legal protection to owners whose park home has been approved and placed in a licensed caravan park or park home park prior to 1 July 2019 in the event they wished to relocate to another facility. The amendment regulations ensure these owners cannot be refused entry on the grounds their 'park home' does not comply with the statutory definition in the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995 (the Act).

Why are these changes being made?

In October 2018 a decision of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) in the case of Henville v City of Armadale [2018] WASAT 108 examined the definition of a park home when considering whether a developer was appropriately refused a park home park licence by the local government.  

SAT affirmed that a park home must be a means of transport and not merely movable or capable of movement.

The SAT interpretation of the definition of a park home was considerably narrower than that which has been applied by some local governments.

Subsequent to the SAT decision, the department was made aware there may be park home-owners wishing to relocate their homes who could be refused approval on the new site due to their park home not being compliant with the statutory definition in the Act.

What is a manufactured home?

The term 'manufactured home' is defined in the amendment regulations to mean a structure that is not a vehicle but is capable of movement and is designed for habitation. The term describes the essential features of the 'park homes' that have been constructed and brought onto a facility prior to 1 July 2019 but do not comply with the definition of a park home under the Act.

What is the significance of the date 1 July 2019 in the amendments?

The SAT decision was handed down in October 2018. In February 2019 a circular from the Director General to all local governments advised local governments to accurately apply the statutory definition of a 'park home' when considering new applications for a park home park licence and before approving placement of a park home on a facility. The department considered that 1 July 2019 provides a fair and appropriate transition time after awareness was raised of the SAT decision.

Therefore, the legal protection in the amendment regulations applies to a 'manufactured home' (a non-compliant park home) that has been brought onto a facility with the necessary approvals prior to 1 July 2019.

Does the operator of a caravan park have to accept these 'manufactured homes'?

Under regulation 30(2) of the Regulations, a licence holder operating a facility has a discretion to approve whether a park home is brought onto their facility.

If the owner has not obtained the approval of the local government for their park home to be brought onto the caravan park before they approach the licence holder, they may be refused entry.

If the owner, in accordance with regulation 40C of the amendment regulations, does not have the original certification as specified or, if those certificates are no longer available, then replacement certificates certifying their home has been constructed in accordance with the requirements of the Building Code and is structurally sound and capable of being moved within 24 hours of detachment from services, they may be refused entry.

If the owner who wishes to relocate was placed at their original site after 1 July 2019, then they are not captured by the legal protection of the amendment regulations and may be refused entry because their manufactured home does not comply with the definition of a park home in the Act as articulated by the SAT decision.

Under section 11(1)(a) of the Act, a licence holder of a caravan park who has been served with a prohibition notice under section 10 must not admit any new occupiers to the facility.

When do these changes take effect?

The amendment regulations come into effect on Wednesday 4 March 2020.

State Administrative Tribunal decision — Henville v City of Armadale

A State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) decision in October 2018 (Henville v City of Armadale [2018] WASAT 108) examined the definition of a park home and affirmed that a park home must be a means of transport and not merely moveable or capable of movement. SAT confirmed that a park home did not need a vehicle licence under the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 due to its size, however the reason for this must be due to its size and not for any other reason.

The department is aware that the SAT interpretation of the definition of a park home is considerably narrower than what has been applied by some local governments. Dwellings in park home parks, particularly lifestyle villages, have been approved as park homes, however it is unlikely they would be considered a means of transport in accordance with the park home definition in the SAT decision.

The department has previously advised all local governments to read the SAT decision and ensure they are accurately applying the statutory definition of a park home and seek their own legal advice to deal with particular circumstances as necessary.

Latest developments

Changes to the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997

The department was made aware that there may be situations where a park homeowner may wish to relocate their home but may be refused approval at the new site due to their park home not meeting the statutory definition of a park home.

To address this scenario, the State Government has made amendments to the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997 (CPCG Regulations) to ensure that park home owners cannot be refused entry onto a caravan park for the sole reason that their park home does not comply with the statutory definition in the CPCG Act.

For more information please refer to the department’s circular <here> and FAQs <here>.

Review of park home parks

The department commissioned a review of park home parks and lifestyle villages to gain a better understanding of their business model, where they fit on the spectrum of affordable housing and how they are managed and regulated in other states and territories.

Future regulation of park home parks

The State Government has established an interagency working group to determine the best way for park home parks and lifestyle villages to be licensed and regulated going forward. Further information will be made available on the website on progress with this aspect of the project.

Page reviewed 03 March 2020