Qld Government to strengthen consumer protection for seniors in retirement villages

The Palaszczuk Government is taking action to boost and toughen consumer protection for seniors living in retirement villages as part of its new Housing Strategy 2017-2027.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that changes were needed urgently, to better protect seniors’ rights.

 “It’s essential our retirement living and manufactured home (Residential Parks) laws are centred on fairness for residents and seniors.

“My Government consulted widely over the past 18 months and it’s very clear that the rights of people who live in retirement villages just aren’t in line with the expectations of the community.

“We must ensure our Queensland seniors can enjoy peace of mind in their retirement years, by giving them stringent consumer protections they need and deserve.”

Ms Palaszczuk said, the Queensland Government will introduce laws that would:

  • require simplified, standard contracts,
  • require on-going fees and charges to be clearly declared upfront,
  • introduce a minimum 21 days required to evaluate the contract before signing,
  • make exit fees and payments and preparing a unit for resale fairer,
  • implement dispute resolution processes, and
  • introduce enforceable behaviour standards for village operators.

‘I want these changes to take effect before the end of the year.”.

The suite of measures are part of the Governments new $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy which aims at making sure all Queenslanders have safe, secure and affordable places to call home.

 Ms Palaszczuk said people who lived in Residential Parks faced similar issues.

“Our seniors and retirees have given so much to Queensland over their working lives. It’s only fair and proper that they should be able to retire with peace of mind and security.

“We intend to put in place a new, staged pre-contractual disclosure process, limits on rent increases, and minimum behavioural standards for park owners, staff and home owners,’ the Premier said.

Currently around 42,000 Queenslanders live in 315 retirement villages, 17,000 are living in 185 residential parks, and 3000 are in aged rental complexes.

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said the Queensland Government would also strengthen the voice of village and manufactured home residents and people living in residential services, with $1 million allocated over the next two years.

“People have invested significant amounts of money and pay significant fees to live in these villages and manufactured homes.

“They have a very real right to be heard.”

 “The Government intends improving this support through initially funding key organisations such as residents groups.”

The flagged legislative changes complement the Residential Transition for Aging Queenslanders Taskforce which has recommended other actions be taken as well, to support older Queenslanders in retaining their independence, as they age and control how and where they live.

The Queensland Government recommends people considering going into retirement villages and manufactured homes should obtain legal and financial advice before signing a contract.