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Update – Rollout of changes to the Queensland Retirement Villages Act

The long awaited announcement of the commencement date for the next round of amendments to the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Qld) (the RV Act) was proclaimed late last week. The next round of changes, which will impact every Queensland retirement village, is set to take effect on 1 February 2019.

We have summarised the changes contained in the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Act 2017 in previous articles (linked below).

Recap of timetable

The following sets of provisions commenced operation on 10 November 2017, being:

  1. Provisions in relation to the mandatory 18 month buy-back period (whereby operators must pay former residents their exit entitlements no later than 18 months after termination of the residence contract, even if the right to reside has not been resold);
  2. Provisions allowing an operator to require a copy of probate or letters of administration for a deceased resident’s estate before paying the resident’s exit entitlement; and
  3. New Part 8 of the RV Act, imposing new behavioural obligations on operators and residents.

In May 2018, the Department of Housing and Public Works (the Department) announced the remaining provisions would be implemented in three stages (the details of which we have outlined here).

The commencement date for the stage 1 provisions has now been fixed by Proclamation as 1 February 2019. Stages 2 and 3 are expected to be implemented between April and June 2019 and between November 2019 and January 2020 respectively.

Stage 1 amendments

The following amendments will commence on 1 February 2019:

  1. Residence contract and disclosure documentation:
    1.1 Residence contracts will require additional information to be included;
    1.2 The requirement to provide residents with a Public Information Document (PID) will be replaced by the new Village Comparison Document and Prospective Costs Document;
    1.3 Operators must provide residents with relevant documents at least 21 days before entering into a residence contract, or obtain a waiver notice (signed by a Queensland lawyer) from the prospective resident; and
    1.4 Operators will need to provide residents with an Entry Condition Report and Exit Condition Report in the approved form.
  2. Village funds: Residents’ maintenance reserve fund contributions will no longer form part of the general services charge and will instead be treated as a separate charge.
  3. Reinstatement and renovation work: The new definition of “reinstatement work” will require former residents to reinstate their unit to its condition upon entry, apart from fair wear and tear and agreed renovations and changes. A new concept of “renovation work” (for which the operator is responsible) will be introduced. The parties must bear the cost of renovation work in the same proportion they share any capital gain on resale of the right to reside, and must agree on the timeframe for the renovation work before work is commenced.
  4. Valuing and reselling a right to reside:
    4.1 The first revaluation of a right to reside must occur if there is no resale within three months after termination (instead of the current six months); and
    4.2 New detailed statutory procedures must be followed by valuers when valuing a right to reside.
  5. Disputes: Expanded grounds have been introduced for residents to apply to QCAT for an order setting aside their residence contract.
  6. Other:
    6.1 There is a new requirement for every retirement village operator to operate a website for their scheme;
    6.2 There are new provisions and penalties for misleading and deceptive conduct by operators or their representatives;
    6.3 Residents and prospective residents will be entitled to access certain “operational documents” held by the operator, to be defined by regulation (not yet released);
    6.4 Where a “building work dispute” arises between a resident and the operator, either party may apply directly to QCAT without first attempting internal dispute resolution or mediation; and
    6.5 Operators may be required to provide certain public safety equipment in villages as prescribed by regulation (not yet released).

What operators should do

Many of the new provisions require use of approved forms, which have not yet been released by the Department, but are expected shortly.

The amendments will require creation of new disclosure templates and amendments to existing residence contract templates and procedures. Noting the approaching busy Christmas/New Year period, retirement village operators should begin the overhaul of their template documents and procedures as soon as possible in preparation for commencement on 1 February 2019.

For more information on the amendments to the RV Act, our previous articles can be accessed here:

Your guide to the major changes proposed to the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Qld)
Retirement Villages Act changes passed by Parliament
Update - Changes to the Retirement Villages Act receive Royal Assent
Update - Timeline announced for changes to the Retirement Villages Act

If you wish to discuss this article or any other retirement village issues in more detail, please contact Stuart Lowe.

This article was written by Tayla Gorman, Solicitor, and Stuart Lowe, Partner

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."