New legislation impacting retirement village operators in the ACT has come into effect that will allow marketing of new developments prior to approval and more binding holding deposit arrangements.
The Property Council has summarised the main changes to the the Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2016, which were enacted from 16 December, as being:
- Operators are now required to expressly include in the Disclosure Statement that a former occupant of a unit is not liable to refurbish the unit;
- Operators can enter into more binding holding deposit arrangements with prospective residents, and may retain the reasonable costs incurred from leaving the unit empty if a prospective resident decides not to move;
- A requirement to give at least 60 days notice to a resident of any proposed change to recurrent charges, and removal of CPI as a measure for increases;
- Introduction of an internal dispute resolution process for residents, including responsibility for setting up a disputes committee for operator-resident disputes (with one member appointed by the residents, one member appointed by the operator and a mutually agreed chair);
- Ability for an operator to market a new village which development approval has not yet been obtained (although no contract can be entered into until approval has been obtained);
- An update to the general enquiry document to include a statement explaining the difference between a retirement village and a residential aged care facility;
The Property Council said the ACT Government intends for the review advisory group to continue to meet in 2017 to discuss the implementation of the Act and any other ongoing issues.