The Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Bill 2017 has officially passed with bi-partisan support in Queensland state parliament, considerably impacting the retirement village industry.
The Queensland amendments aimed to ensure fairness and consumer protections for residents living in retirement villages following concerns that residents are being left vulnerable to exploitation.
Further, the amendments seek to increase transparency for operators across a broad spectrum of their operations, including the development and use of documents, communications with residents on any material changes to the scheme and fees.
Amendments include the requirement for operators to use new documents in approved forms, the introduction of a 21-day waiting period, a requirement for the exit entitlement to be paid to residents within 18 months and transparency and communication requirements for retirement village operators.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the new laws strengthen protections for Queensland seniors looking at retirement options as well as those already retired.
“These are landmark reforms that will see a new era of fairness introduced to the retirement sector in Queensland,” de Brenni said.
“The Palaszczuk Government introduced these reforms after consultation with industry and operator groups, consumer advocates, resident representatives and seniors groups, and retirement village residents and manufactured home owners.
The Palaszczuk Government has also set aside $1 million over two years to provide advocacy and support through peak groups and resident associations to assist retirement village residents, manufactured home owners and residents of boarding houses.
A Four Corners investigation earlier this year into the practices of ASX-listed Aveo Retirement Villages uncovered exorbitant fees and complex contracts.