Proposed legislation in Queensland aims to protect the rights of senior citizens living in retirement villages and residential parks across the state.
The new laws will limit the increase in rental fees, simplify contracts and require disclosure of other fees among other changes. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the state parliament will soon receive the bill and is expected to be approved by the end of 2017.
An estimated 42,000 people stay in 315 retirement living properties in the state, while 185 residential parks accommodate 17,000 residents and other aged rental properties house around 3,000 occupants. Under the proposed changes, senior citizens would have at least 21 days to review a contract before planning to live in a retirement community.
New dispute resolution process will also be in place. This would come in handy for issues needing the help of a property lawyer in Townsville, Brisbane and other cities in Queensland. The proposed bill would complement an estimated $1 million budget, which would be used for over two years to handle concerns of residents, according to Housing Minister Mick de Brenni.
Queensland’s efforts may pave the way for similar reforms for other retirement villages in Australia, according to Ian Henschke, National Seniors Australia’s Chief Advocate. Henschke stated that national laws protecting senior villages make sense as these communities’ operations cover many parts of the country.
The federal government should also appoint a commissioner to make sure the facilities comply with the likely reforms. These changes should take place soon as 5.5 million people are set to reach the retirement age in the coming years. It would be a great help for the entire senior community if the state and federal governments work together to form a national system for retirement living properties.
If passed, the bill will improve the system of how retirement villages accept and treat their elderly residents. More importantly, it will also ensure senior citizens’ peace of mind and security during their twilight years.