Hastings Point retirees win payout after being forced out of residential-park homes

Hastings Point retirees win payout after being forced out of residential-park homes

Hastings Point retirees win payout after being forced out of residential-park homes

Updated 16 September 2017, 11:35 AEST

Two women who were forced out of their demountable homes by a developer win a court battle for compensation after a six-year fight.

Two women who were forced out of their demountable homes by a developer have won a court battle for compensation after a six-year fight.

When Judy Tucker and Beryl Anderson were told in 2012 by developer TriCare they were to be evicted from the Hastings Point Village in northern NSW, they decided to fight.

Between them they had lived at the residential park for 43 years.

TriCare bought the park in 2011 with plans to build a retirement village, leaving about 80 residents at risk of homelessness.

In the drawn out legal battle, many residents fought for fairer compensation than was being offered by the developer, but many settled as the complex legal case played out.

Ms Tucker and Ms Anderson took the fight to its bitter end.

Now, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled in their favour and ordered they be paid $230,000 and $210,000 respectively.

"I am still in shock. People said we couldn't win against corporate Australia but we did," Ms Tucker told the ABC.

"We had no choice but to fight."

The victory could have ramifications for about 40,000 people who live in residential parks in NSW, where the land could be sold from underneath them.

These types of communities live in pre-fabricated, demountable homes, and residents pay a weekly fee to live in the park but they do not own the land.

'It's a fair outcome for the homeowners'

In the decision handed down last month but not previously reported, the tribunal ruled the compensation offered by TriCare should reflect the current value of their homes and assume the park was fully functioning with all its amenities, and not due to be closed down.

"It's the first decision of this kind under new regime for compensation," lawyer Paul Smyth from the Tenants Union of NSW said.

"I think it's a fair outcome for the homeowners."

In a statement, TriCare said it accepted the tribunal's decision.

"The relevant compensation amounts have been paid and we look forward to continuing development of the retirement village in due course," company director Peter O'Shea said.

Ms Tucker said she hoped other states adopted compensation regimes similar to NSW.

"It's a win for us and hopefully for owners in other states too," she said.

Rights of park residents vary across Australia

It is estimated 100,000 retirees live in residential parks, mainly in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. The rights of park residents vary across the country.

In Victoria, where several residential parks have been closed to make way for development, residents are not entitled to any compensation.

Mark O'Brien, from Tenants Victoria, said the State Government needed to adopt similar compensation laws and better disclosure laws governing the sale of demountable homes.

"I don't think people realise how many of these parks exist and how many are situated on valuable land that developers want," he said.

"These villages have grown in part as retirement villages become too expensive for many. These people are very vulnerable."