RERA’s New Guidelines for Senior Living Communities

by Ashwini
RERA's New Guidelines for Senior Living Communities

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has implemented new guidelines to regulate the advertisement and development of senior living communities. These guidelines are in response to concerns about misleading promotions and inadequate standards in projects marketed as “Retirement Homes”. This blog will explain the key aspects of the new RERA guidelines for senior living communities and their impact on community residents and management committees.

Why New Guidelines?

MahaRERA has received feedback indicating that many promoters are misrepresenting their real estate projects as “Retirement Homes”. These projects often fail to meet the minimum physical standards and specifications required for senior citizens. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has issued model guidelines for developing and regulating retirement homes, emphasizing the need for special provisions in agreements and other documents to ensure the protection of senior residents.

Key Aspects of the Guidelines

To address these issues, MahaRERA has established several mandatory physical criteria that projects must meet to be advertised as “Retirement Homes/Senior Homes”. Here are the main aspects of the new guidelines:

1. Building Design:

  • Lifts and Accessibility: All buildings with more than one floor must have lifts that accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility tools.
  • Doorways: Door openings must be at least 900 mm wide.
  • Handles and Furniture: Door knobs and handles should be easy to grip, and furniture should be lightweight, sturdy, and free of sharp edges.

2. Green Building Principles:

  • Renewable Energy: Maximum use of non-polluting and renewable energy sources is encouraged to minimize exposure to harmful fumes and exhaust.
  • Compliance with Model Building Bylaws: Projects must comply with the green building norms specified in the model building bylaws.

3. Lifts and Ramps:

  • Signage and Signaling: Lifts must have audio and visual signage to assist users.
  • Ramps: Mandatory ramps must be included throughout the building for wheelchair access.

4. Staircase:

  • Design Standards: Staircases must have handrails on both sides, and treads and risers must comply with standards for senior citizens.
  • Safety Features: Stairs should be illuminated with fluorescent or radium strips, and long flights of steps should be avoided.

5. Corridors:

  • Accessibility: Steps should not be introduced into corridors. If unavoidable, ramps should be provided.
  • Handrails: Handrails must be installed along corridor walls at suitable heights.

6. Kitchens and Bathrooms:

  • Safety Features: Kitchens should have gas leak detection systems, and bathrooms should have anti-skid tiles, outward-opening doors, and grab rails near wash basins.

7. Lighting and Ventilation:

  • Power Backup: Power backup facilities must be provided in each apartment, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Compliance: Lighting and ventilation should comply with the model building bylaws and National Building Code (NBC).

8. Safety and Security:

  • Alarm Systems: Emergency alarms should be installed in main entry doors, bathrooms, bedrooms, and common areas.
  • Security Personnel: Trained security personnel must be deployed, with CCTV cameras installed in common areas.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Firefighting services and disaster preparedness plans must be in place, with emergency contact numbers displayed prominently.

Impact on Community Residents and Management

These guidelines are designed to ensure that senior living communities offer a safe, accessible, and comfortable environment for senior citizens. For community residents, these standards mean improved living conditions and enhanced safety measures. For management committees, the guidelines provide a clear framework for maintaining and promoting retirement homes.

Conclusion

MahaRERA’s new guidelines for senior living communities aim to protect senior citizens by setting strict standards for building design, safety, and accessibility. By adhering to these guidelines, promoters can ensure that their projects meet the needs of senior residents, providing a secure and comfortable living environment. For community residents and management committees, these changes represent a significant step towards better living standards and enhanced safety in senior living communities.

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