There have been some noteworthy changes to the retirement villages legislation that will not only require compliance but a serious amount of attention to detail.

What is happening in New South Wales?

Laws: The Retirement Villages Act 1999 (NSW), the Retirement Villages Regulation 2017 (NSW) and the Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2018 (NSW) (to commence 1 July 2019).

Commencing 1 July 2019, operators must provide the following services to residents in compliance with the Retirement Villages Act:

Changes required – 1 July 2019 Additional proposed changes Additional proposed changes

An annual contract ‘check-up’ meeting with residents to discuss their contract. The operator must provide the resident with a written summary of the explanation at the meeting.

The resident is entitled to bring a support person with them or have that support person represent them during the contract ‘check-up’ meeting.

Mandatory conduct rules will prescribe rules of conduct to those staff that are managing or operating the retirement villages. The rules cover professionalism, training, competencies, performance and behaviour when performing their role.
Operators must now develop and maintain customised village-by-village emergency plans, and ensure that both residents and staff are familiar with the plan. Furthermore, the operator is required to undertake a safety inspection at least once a year and report on such findings to residents. Operators will have to maintain an asset management plan for the village’s capital items and make the plan available to current and prospective residents. Operators will have to maintain an asset management planfor the village’s capital items and make the plan available to current and prospective residents.

Operators must conduct an annual evacuation exercise for residents to ensure familiarity with emergency protocols.

Key safety information must also be displayed in both communal areas and villages, as well as provided to residents.

Operators must obtain the residents’ consent each year before appointing a person as the auditor of the accounts for the retirement village.

What is happening in Queensland?

Laws: Retirement Village Act 1999 (Qld), Retirement Villages Regulation 2018 (Qld), Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Act 2017 (Qld) and Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Qld).

Required changes – 1 February 2019 Proposed phases

PRIOR TO Retirement Village Living – operators must comply with certain pre-contractual disclosure obligations when engaging, communicating and providing information to prospective residents.

Specifically, operators must provide a Form 3 Village Comparison Document, a Form 4 Prospective Costs Document, the residence contract (eg a lease) and any by-laws for the village at least 21 days before entering into the residence contract.

An entry condition report must also be prepared by the operator prior to the resident occupying the unit.

Additional phases will continue to roll out throughout the year, which will deal with:

 

  • redevelopment;
  • change of ownership;
  • new standards for residence contracts; and
  • financial reports and budgets.
DURING Retirement Village Living – operators must make available a variety of ‘operational documents’ to residents who request access to them.  

POST Retirement Village Living – operators must provide certain documents to the resident upon exit. These include information about reinstatement, renovation works and statutory buy-back provisions.

An exit condition report must also be provided by the operator to the resident within 14 days of the resident vacating the unit.

 

What is happening in Victoria?

Laws: Retirement Villages Act 1986 (Vic) and Retirement Villages (Contractual Arrangements) Regulations 2017 (Vic).

Overview Recommendations
The Retirement Villages (Contractual Arrangements) Regulations 2017 (Vic) commenced on 30 July 2017 and focuses on:

 

  • payments that are made to residents on exit;
  • when financial assistance will be provided; and
  • how a residential accommodation deposit or daily accommodation payments are calculated.

The Regulations are extremely prescriptive in terms of what content is to be included and prohibited from resident contracts, management contracts, disclosure statements and fact sheets.

Given this, it is advisable for operators to have these documents legally reviewed.

Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme Standards

The Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS) has been created jointly by the Property Council of Australia and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), two organisations that represent retirement village owners and operators around the country. The draft has been released for comment.

These new standards create a unified accreditation scheme for all Australian retirement villages, which ensure that each village meets minimum quality standards and processes when delivering and operating services.

As part of ensuring that operators, residents and other interested stakeholders have an opportunity to be heard on the accreditation standards, Leading Age Services Australia and the Property Council of Australia have opened a feedback window from now until Friday, 12 April 2019. Feedback can be emailed directly.