Independent review of timeframes for retirement village exit payments
The Queensland Government has released the final report of the independent review of timeframes for exit payments in Queensland retirement villages (PDF, 5576.71 KB), and our response to the recommendations (PDF, 589.84 KB).
We have now completed consultation with retirement village residents, their families, operators and other interested parties about the impacts of the recommendations, our response and how to best implement them.
The Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Act 2017 was passed by Parliament on 25 October 2017 and assented to on 10 November 2017. This legislation amended the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (RV Act).
These amendments included a requirement for retirement village operators to pay former residents their exit entitlement within 18 months after the resident terminates their right to reside in a retirement village, unless doing so would cause the operator undue financial hardship.
The changes also included a requirement for a review of this maximum timeframe to start no later than two years after the commencement of the changes.
In 2019, the RV Act was further amended to ensure that this policy also applied to retirement village units held by former residents under freehold title.
An independent panel was established with Terms of Reference (PDF, 84.75 KB) to review the potential impacts of implementing the 18-month timeframe for payment of exit entitlements, and purchase of unsold freehold units, on scheme operators, residents, former residents and their families.
The panel provided an Interim Report on the impact of timeframes, for the mandatory buyback of units in resident operated retirement villages, in September 2020 and the Final Report, with findings and recommendations, in November 2020.
Findings and recommendations
The Final Report contains 4 key recommendations. One of these recommendations was to exempt resident-operated freehold retirement villages from the requirement for mandatory buyback of unsold units. This was implemented following stakeholder consultation on the Interim Report, with amendments to the Housing and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 passed by Parliament on 14 October 2021 and assented to on 20 October 2021.
The other 3 recommendations include:
- reducing the timeframe for paying exit entitlements from 18 to 12 months. The timeframe would start 20 business days (or 40 days outside of South East Queensland) from when the operator has vacant possession of the unit.
- allowing operators to apply for one extension, up to 6 months per unit, to pay out exit entitlements or buyback freehold units. The operator can apply for a 6-month extension when they can demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps within the timeframe.
- creating a simpler and more accessible decision-making mechanism for extension applications.
Government’s response to the recommendations
We support reforms that improve consumer protections and industry viability, and ensure all parties have access to timely and consistent decision-making to help them resolve issues.
We have responded to and support recommendations regarding the timeframe for exit payments and extensions and accept the need for access to timely and cost-effective decision-making for extension applications.
In April and May 2022, we consulted with residents, their family members and operators so they could tell us about the impacts of these recommendations and our response. This information will help us understand any potential impacts on them and inform future implementation.
Independent review panel members
- Chair: Associate Professor Therese Wilson
- Professor Laurie Buys
- Dr Maree Petersen
- Ms Jacqueline Carmont
Discipline: Business and accountancy
Note on Final Report
Appendix 6 of the Final Report is a case study about the Cooloola Waters Retirement Village, at Tin Can Bay, which includes information about its former scheme operator.
Since the time that case study was developed, the issues raised in the case study have been addressed in partnership with the department, management and the Cooloola Waters residents. A new operator has recently purchased the village and we look forward to this village continuing to meet the standards expected of all Queensland retirement villages.