On 30 November 2018, the long-awaited new prescribed disclosure forms for Queensland retirement villages – and the new Regulation which supports them – were released by the Department of Housing and Public Works (Department). The new forms, Regulation and associated legislative amendments will commence operation on
1 February 2019.
The new forms released are:
- Form 2 – Application for registration as a retirement village scheme;
- Form 3 – Village comparison document;
- Form 4 – Prospective costs document;
- Instructions and notes for village operators completing Form 3 and Form 4;
- Form 5 – Precontractual disclosure waiver;
- Form 6 – Entry condition report; and
- Form 7 – Exit condition report.
Copies of the new forms can be found here.
The new Retirement Villages Regulation 2018 (Regulation), which will repeal and replace the existing Retirement Villages Regulation 2010, can be found here.
Important points to note regarding these changes are as follows:
- New Forms 3 to 7 must be used for all residence contracts entered into on or after 1 February 2019. Operators may no longer issue Public Information Documents (PIDs) to prospective residents from that date.
- However, until the last current resident who received a PID leaves the village, the operator will need to continue updating the PID and notifying affected residents and the Department in the usual way, when material changes occur.
- The new disclosure forms contain a lot of new information that operators were not previously required to disclose to prospective residents in the PID.
- The new 21 day pre-contractual waiting period will commence on 1 February 2019. Accordingly, unless a waiver is obtained in the prescribed form, operators will not be able to enter into any new residence contracts from 1 to 21 February 2019.
- By 1 February 2019, operators must publish a copy of their Village Comparison Document (or a link to it) prominently on each page of the village’s website that contains, or has a link to, marketing material for the village.
- As well as preparing these new forms for each retirement village, amendments to the residence contract template for each village are also required.
- Operators will no longer be permitted to charge a fee for preparing or giving residents or prospective residents their residence contract or the new forms.
- The prescribed procedure relating to Entry and Exit Condition Reports is very prescriptive.
- New procedures will also apply to reinstatement and renovation work and valuing rights to reside.
- The maintenance reserve fund contribution will no longer form part of the general services charge, but will instead be treated separately.
- Residents and prospective residents will be entitled to access certain “operational documents” held by the operator, free of charge.
To date, the Department has only released the new forms in PDF format (with editable fields). The Department has refused an initial request to make the forms available in Microsoft Word format, which would allow operators greater flexibility when completing the required information. We have requested this issue be escalated within the Department.
Unfortunately, the new forms are inconsistent with the Regulation and the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Act) in a number of respects. Accordingly, by using the new forms (as currently released), operators risk non-compliance with the Regulation and/or the Act, which could result in residence contracts entered into on or after 1 February 2019 being set aside by QCAT. Assuming the Department agrees to correct these errors and release replacement forms, this will further exacerbate the time pressure on operators created by the Department’s 1 February 2019 deadline. Various stakeholders have urged the Department to reconsider this deadline.
In the meantime, retirement village operators should, if they have not already done so, begin reviewing their template documents and procedures, and seek assistance from their professional advisors.