The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has released a draft aimed at regulating retirement homes across the state, aligning with the model guidelines issued by Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) for the development and regulation of retirement homes. This move follows concerns about misleading advertisements and inadequate facilities for senior citizens within such housing developments. MahaRERA has become India's first and only housing regulatory body to disseminate guidelines for retirement housing projects.
The genesis of these guidelines trace back to a comprehensive study conducted by Moneylife Foundation
, which highlighted the need for regulation in the retirement home sector. In 2019, MoHUA, under the leadership of Union minister of state Hardeep Singh Puri, had acknowledged the significance of the study and released the model guidelines
to address the issues faced by senior citizens residing in retirement homes.
These model guidelines issued by MoHUA aimed to promote a higher quality of life for elderly citizens while ensuring the protection of their rights. They were designed as a framework for states and Union Territories (UTs) to establish transparent and accountable regulatory mechanisms tailored to the specific needs of retirement home residents. However, implementation of these guidelines across each state and union territory has been delayed due to various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
By setting standards for service-providers and developers, the guidelines issued by MahaRERA aim to enhance the overall quality of retirement homes and ensure a dignified living experience for senior citizens. Their draft order mandating several key requirements that every retirement home project in Maharashtra must adhere to before being advertised as a "Retirement Home/Senior Home" has been published on the MahaRERA website
Briefly, the key provisions outlined in the draft guidelines include specifications for building design, green building principles, lifts and ramps, corridors and essential services such as medical, safety and security facilities.
1. Building Design:
- Installation of lifts equipped to accommodate users requiring assistance and wheelchair access.
- Design considerations for free movement of wheelchairs.
- Door openings width not less than 900mm, with easy-to-grip door knobs and lever type handles.
- Ergonomic furniture design specific to the needs of senior citizens, emphasising lightweight, sturdy, and rounded-edge furniture.
2. Green Building Principles:
- Maximum utilisation of non-polluting and renewable energy sources.
- Compliance with building bylaws to minimise exposure to fumes and exhaust.
3. Lifts and Ramps:
- Lifts with audio and visual signage and signalling systems.
- Mandatory incorporation of ramps for wheelchair access throughout the building.
- Clear width of not less than 1,500mm.
- Installation of handrails on both sides, appropriate tread and riser dimensions, and provision of adequate lighting and ventilation.
5. Kitchen and Bathrooms:
- Compliance with national building code (NBC) standards.
- Installation of gas leak detection systems in kitchens.
- Bathrooms equipped with grab rails, anti-skid tiles, and outward-opening doors for emergency access.
6. Lighting and Ventilation:
- Power backup facilities in each apartment, compliant with NBC standards.
- Uninterrupted power supply for common areas.
7. Safety and Security:
- Incorporation of alarm systems with emergency controls.
- Deployment of properly trained security personnel at entry and exit gates, with access to intercom and basic telephone facilities.
- Installation of CCTV cameras for surveillance, emergency firefighting services, and provision of disaster preparedness measures.
MahaRERA's draft order seeks to enforce these guidelines within Maharashtra, requiring promoters to comply with minimum physical specifications before advertising their projects as retirement homes. Once the guidelines are implemented, the developers will have to include some of the special provisions in the sale agreement and other relevant documents. Essentially, implementation will ensure that all senior citizen housing projects in Maharashtra are built as per guidelines.
MahaRERA is now inviting stakeholders to submit their suggestions and views on the proposed regulations by 29 February 2024 by emailing [email protected]