Queensland seniors protected under new housing laws
Published Wednesday, 25 October, 2017 at 06:31 PM
Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni
The Palaszczuk Government has passed new laws delivering certainty and security for Queensland seniors in retirement.
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,” Mr 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.
“These changes will ensure everyone is treated fairly, giving seniors support when they are planning retirement, and after they retire.
“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.
“The department will work with five key organisations to confirm how best to invest this funding – Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages (ARQRV), Associated Residential Parks Queensland Inc (ARPQ), the Council on the Ageing (COTA), National Seniors Australia (NSA) and Tenants Queensland (TQ).”
Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said the changes were warmly welcomed as they would even up the playing field.
“These changes will re-balance relationships and increase the confidence of residents to assert their rights,” Ms Carr said.
“Residents move to manufactured homes parks to live a quiet, enjoyable life but many have found themselves in difficult disputes with park managers.
“Providing access to less formal dispute resolution processes before the need to proceed to QCAT means more people will be empowered to resolve disputes.”
Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages President Judy Mayfield congratulated the Palaszczuk Government for listening to the concerns of residents.
“The amendments to the current Retirement Village Act has resulted in greater clarity in contracts, which will assist potential residents to more clearly understand the terms and conditions of the Agreement they are signing,” Mrs Mayfield said.
“It will ensure that staff and village operators are held accountable for any misconduct in the treatment of residents and provide for more clarity to residents on the day to day financial management of their village.
“A wide range of safeguard have been put into place to ensure that residents get a "fair go" and many inequities in the current legislation have now been rectified.”
Chief Executive of COTA Queensland Mark Tucker-Evans said the amendments contained in this Bill will provide a more secure living environment for both current and future residents of these forms of seniors accommodation.
“The provision of more transparent information in a plain English format with regards to fees and charges and other aspects of these living arrangements will ensure that those considering moving into these forms of accommodation have full knowledge before making a major financial and lifestyle commitment,” Mr Tucker-Evans said.
“The inclusion of a 21-day period under both acts to ensure adequate consideration before signing the contract will help safeguard potential residents.”
Changes to the Retirement Villages Act 1999 include:
- enabling simplified, standard contracts,
- requiring ongoing fees and charges to be clearly declared upfront,
- introducing a minimum 21 days to evaluate the contract before signing,
- limiting the time for payment of a resident’s exit entitlement
- making unit reinstatement arrangements before resale fairer, and
- introducing enforceable behaviour standards for village operators and residents.
Changes to the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003include:
- limiting rent increases to once per year,
- making the legislation easier to understand,
- introducing enforceable behavior standards for park owners, staff and residents.
Media Contact: Tristan Douglas 0447 164 197