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Proposed Amendments to the Queensland Retirement Villages Act - Part 2

07 Sep 2017

This is the second in our series on other major changes proposed in the Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill).

As mentioned previously, if the Bill is passed by the Queensland Parliament in (or substantially in) its present form, the Amending Act will significantly amend the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (the RV Act) and have significant effects on the RV industry.

New unit reinstatement process upon resident leaving 

If the resident does not leave the unit in the same condition (except for fair wear and tear) as when they entered the unit, the operator may carry out reinstatement work and claim the cost from the resident. There appears to be no restriction on the operator and resident agreeing on entry that any reinstatement costs will be deducted from the exit entitlement.

A new definition of “reinstatement work” is included in the Bill to define the types of work the operator may carry out in these circumstances and to distinguish “reinstatement work” (that the resident is responsible for) from “renovation work” (that the operator is responsible for).

This new process does not apply for residence contracts in force before the commencement of the Amending Act (the “Commencement”).

New unit valuation requirements

The Bill provides a process for the operator and resident to make submissions (and respond to each other’s submissions) about the valuation of the resale value of the resident’s right to reside to the valuer. It also sets out other matters the valuer must have regard to in conducting the valuation and gives the valuer the power to request information from the operator about the Village, the unit or the residence contract.

New behaviour standards for operators and residents

The Bill prescribes behaviour standards for residents and operators (and their staff), including:

  • an operator must give a written response within 21 days of receiving a written complaintproposal or question from a resident or former resident (or their representative) – an onerous obligation on operators.
  • an operator must take reasonable steps to ensure a resident does not interfere with the reasonable privacy of another resident - placing more responsibility on operators to become involved in disputes between residents.

Requirements on operators for redevelopment/closure of a Village

Before an operator commences the redevelopment or closure of a Village, the operator must obtain approval for their redevelopment/closure plan:

  • by special resolution at a residents meeting (the meeting notice must contain certain disclosure requirements); or
  • if approval is not obtained at the residents meeting, by application to the Department of Housing and Public Works (the Department).

The Department may approve a plan only if it is satisfied the plan provides for a clear, orderly and fair process for redevelopment/closure. Before the Department approves a plan, it may give the operator a direction to take action to revise the plan, but before doing so:

  • the Department must give the operator the reasons for the proposed action to revise the plan; and
  • the operator has an opportunity to make submissions about the Department’s proposed action.

After the plan is approved, the Department on application of the operator or its own initiative may give the operator a direction to take action to revise the approved plan, but once again before doing so must give the operator reasons to which the operator has an opportunity to respond.

The redevelopment requirements set out above do not apply if all residents were given notice of the redevelopment before they became a resident.

Under the Bill, an operator cannot amend a PID in effect before Commencement so that it materially affects the interests of a resident. However there is an exception which allows the operator to amend the PID to give effect to an approved redevelopment or closure plan.

Requirements on operators for transfer/sale of a Village

An operator must give the Department notice of a proposed transfer of control of a Village’s operation and obtain the approval of a transition plan.

The Department may approve a plan only if it is satisfied the plan provides for a clear, orderly and fair process for transitioning control of the Village’s operation. The Bill provides a similar process for a transfer/sale plan as the redevelopment/closure process set out below, ie:

  • the Department may direct the operator to revise the plan, but before doing so must give the operator reasons and the operator has a chance to respond.
  • the Department can give a copy of the plan to a person whom it considers has an interest in the transfer/sale and consider submissions from that person.

As with redevelopment/closure, once the plan is approved, the Department may still direct the operator to revise the approved plan and this can be at the operator’s request or on the Department’s own initiative.

Proposed Approved Forms

The Bill contemplates the following new approved forms for the redevelopment, closure and transfer/sale processes outlined above:

  • Residents Meeting Notice for redevelopment/closure of a Village
  • Redevelopment Plan
  • Proposed Village Closure Notice
  • Closure Plan
  • Proposed Transfer of Village’s Operation Notice
  • Transition Plan – for transfer of village’s operation

If you have any queries related to the content of this article, please contact us. This article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

If you have any queries related to the content of this article, please contact us.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

 

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