The second phase of consultation on proposed changes to retirement village laws in WA will look at the time it takes for former residents to receive their exit entitlements.
Currently, in some extreme cases, former residents of retirement villages have reported waiting up to four years before they receive funds owing to them, often causing serious financial hardship and distress. These funds are often needed to pay for alternative accommodation or aged care facilities.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said seniors in this position have pressing needs such as funding a move into aged care which can be quite urgent.
“The public consultation on this issue will consider whether there needs to be a time limit placed on the payment of exit entitlements to former residents and Consumer Protection is seeking the views of industry, residents and the community,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Refurbishment costs when residents move out is another contentious issue with claims that the residents are being required to pay for works that upgrade the residence rather than simply make the unit marketable. The consultation considers whether refurbishment provisions should be clarified so that a departing resident need only reinstate the unit to its original condition.
“The proposed reforms to the Retirement Villages Act also deal with problems being experienced with reserve funds and capital works funding, with residents often complaining that not enough money is set aside for long term capital works needed to maintain their village.”
Other issues raised include whether residents should have the power to approve operating budgets, giving them more power over the village costs that they pay, as well as establishing additional conduct obligations on village operators and managers and greater clarification of the entity responsible under the legislation for the operation of the village.
“At the heart of these issues is considering whether residents should have more control, or at least more say, in the running of their retirement village with the obligations of operators being made clearer,” the Commissioner said.
Future topics for consultation will look at different aspects of the RV legislation:
- Better identification of retirement villages- identifying when the retirement village legislation applies and when it does not, including options for a public database;
- Village development, sales and memorials – including issues relating to wait list and holding fees, memorials and processes for land to be excised from village land;
- Village re-development, termination of scheme and new village models – this will include multi-site villages, statutory charge provisions and the process for terminating a retirement village scheme; and
- Compliance and enforcement – including moving the RV Code to the RV Act and the creation of new offences.
A consultation paper will be released for each topic, giving all interested parties an opportunity to comment.
Those interested can view or download the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement – 2 (CRIS 2) from the Consumer Protection website