Last year saw a huge change of the Retirement Villages Act; both for operators and residents.

On 30 November 2018, the Retirement Villages Regulation 2018 was notified and will commence from 1 February 2019, which will bring new disclosure requirements and rules, relating to entry to Retirement Villages. While this date may seem so far away, that time will move closer very quickly, particularly if you are starting to talk to operators and residents about planning a move to or from a Retirement Village.

Whether you’re an operator, resident or concerned family member, here’s a summary of the main changes and new documents you can expect to see:

  • Introducing a new Village Comparison Document and Prospective Costs Document to replace is current the “Public Information Document”.
  • The operator must not enter into a residence contract with a prospective resident until 21-days has passed after giving the prospective resident (1) the resident contract; (2) the Village Comparison Document and the Prospective Costs Document; and (3) any by-laws for the village. A resident can waive or even shorten this time frame, but will need to get legal advice about this and have a Queensland lawyer sign-off that they have received that advice.
  • There will be new entry and exit condition reports to provide greater clarity around repair and reinstatement work to be done, when a resident leaves the village.

On 30 November 2018, the Department of Housing and Public Works released the new Approved Forms to be used from 1 February 2019, which are listed below:

Retirement Village Form 2 – Application for registration as a retirement village scheme (for those looking to register a Retirement Village after 1 February 2019)

Retirement Village Form 3 – Village Comparison Document

Retirement Village Form 4 – Prospective Costs Document

Retirement Village Form 5 – Precontractual Disclosure Waiver

Retirement Village Form 6 – Retirement Villages Entry Condition Report

Retirement Village Form 7 – Retirement Villages Exit Condition Report

Instructions and notes for operators (to help when completing Forms 3 & 4 above)

After 1 February 2019 changes come into effect, there will be further changes to implement, including (among other things) identifying other matters that need to be included in residence contracts (other than those in the new Approved Form above), mandatory content of residence contracts and content that is prohibited from being in residence contracts.

For elders and families: With Christmas around the corner, it is fair to say that family get-togethers often lead to the identification of care and accommodation needs of elder family members.  Noticing these important issues arising may then graduate further into conversation about elder care and accommodation options, as quickly as the Christmas pudding disappears. So, while the changes coming into effect from 1 February 2019, it isn’t that far away at all, particularly if you have just started the conversation. It takes time to consider the different villages, lifestyle parks and aged care facilities that are available and it may also take time to properly understand an elder’s desires and to assess their care needs. It can be a great idea just to become familiar with some of the forms above, even if nothing else except to know what they all look like.

For operators: This is likely to be a busy time for operators as they plan and ready themselves for compliance with this new regime. This can include adjusting your residence contracts to reflect the new mandatory content, update sales and marketing material to include the Village Comparison Document, prepare Entry Condition Reports for units and implement changes to their processes and procedures regarding the precontractual disclosure requirements and time frames.  This holistic regime change really warrants a full revision of all operator documentation and there is no time like the present to get into full swing of the changes, so you’re ready by 1 February 2019.

This is a great time to get familiar with the forms and prepare yourself for these changes.