3rd August 2017
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s recent call for an urgent review of Queensland’s Retirement Village laws has been welcomed by QUT experts as a significant step but they urged the government to proceed with caution.
“It’s been too long in coming but Queensland is finally taking a significant step to make processes easier for current and future residents,” said property economist Dr Andrea Blake who, along with senior law lecturer Dr Lucy Cradduck has been advocating for a simplified Retirement Village contract since 2012.
The researchers also noted the government’s desire to review the process for the sale of existing units.
“However any legislative proposal to change the status quo must involve careful consideration of issues for 350-plus villages and their residents and operators to safeguard the sustainability of this industry into the future. Any review therefore must be undertaken thoroughly,” said Dr Cradduck.
“While the Premier’s proposal to extend the existing cooling off period to 21 days also will be beneficial, as the Government’s own media release states, prospective residents should obtain both legal and financial advice before signing any contract.”
Dr Cradduck and Dr Blake therefore also called for the government to amend the Act to ban retirement village operators from charging exit fees unless they could show that their residents had in fact obtained legal and financial advice before signing any agreement.
More importantly, the pair reinforced the need for more transparency.
“As a true measure of consumer protection, the Government also needs to make decision-making easier for prospective residents’ by ensuring that they are able to make a genuine comparison between village and village operators,” said Dr Blake.
As Dr Cradduck stated in her oral submissions to the 2012 review “[a]n issue that all prospective residents face is that it is not easy to obtain the necessary information with which to make a comparison between the villages, both as to the tenure type and fees that attach and also to the other lifestyle facilities and fees…”
“To correct this requires that the contracts and related documents for all villages should be easily accessible on the village or operators website,” she said today.
More detail on the recommendations of Dr Cradduck and Dr Blake’s recommendations can be accessed here.
Amanda Weaver, QUT Media, 07 3138 9449, email@example.com
After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901, firstname.lastname@example.org