The first stage of the retirement village legislation amendments introduced by the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Act 2017 will commence on 1 February 2019.

Scheme operators will recall that the new behavioural standards for scheme operators and residents, along with the statutory buy back provisions, commenced on assent (10 November 2017) with the balance of the amendments commencing in two stages.

The first stage of amendments commencing on 1 February 2019 impacts the pre-contractual disclosure process, access to village operational documents, the reinstatement/renovation of units following a resident’s departure, resale valuations for the sale of a resident’s right to reside and the ability for regulations to prescribe certain obligations regarding public safety equipment in retirement villages.

In particular, these amendments include:

  • for new residents, the replacement of the current public information document (PID) with:
  • a village comparison document; and
  • a prospective costs document.
  • a requirement for operators to maintain a website
  • a requirement for entry and exit condition reports to be prepared and provided within certain strict timeframes
  • additional mandatory content for residence contracts - including the relocation of the capital replacement fund and maintenance reserve fund provisions from the PID to the residence contract
  • the uncoupling of the maintenance reserve fund contribution from the general services charge
  • a narrower scope for reinstatement work required to be completed by or on behalf of an outgoing resident
  • changes to the timing that an operator must provide a resident with financial statements
  • a requirement for the resale value agreed between a scheme operator and a resident with respect to an unsold right to reside, to be updated every three months (rather than six months under the current legislation)
  • the introduction of a statutory process and valuation criteria whereby a valuer is engaged to determine the resale value of a right to reside
  • an ability for regulations to be made which relate to the provision of equipment in a retirement village for public safety

Scheme operators should familiarise themselves with the new provisions moving forward so that they are complied with from 1 February 2019. There are transitional provisions which will apply to retirement villages existing as at 1 February 2019.