The review of laws regulating the retirement village sector in WA moves to a new chapter with Consumer Protection embarking on an extensive consultation process with the industry and community before recommending any further changes.
The first paper of the second-stage review of the Retirement Villages Act (RV Act), which is now open for consultation, will focus on improving the definition of a retirement village product, how it is advertised and promoted and how the pricing model works.
The aim of reform in this area is to increase transparency and enable consumers to better understand their rights and obligations before signing up for a retirement village unit.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said this paper focusses on improving the understanding of the nature of the retirement village product and its price.
“It’s important that people considering living in a retirement village have a clear understanding of the total cost both now and in the future, as well as knowing exactly what they are getting in return, before making such a major commitment,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Many changes to the RV Act were put in place prior to 2016 as a result of stage one of the review. Despite these reforms, some issues have persisted including consumers continuing to enter into contracts without fully understanding their legal rights and obligations.
“There are also proposals to regulate the content of advertising materials to make it clearer for consumers at an early stage what retirement village living entails and to ensure that the advertising and marketing doesn’t mislead consumers.”
Future topics will look at different aspects of the RV legislation:
· Operator responsibilities in the managed community – including the payment of exit entitlements within set time frames;
· Application of the RV Act – identifying when the retirement village legislation applies and when it does not, including options for a public database;
· Multi-site villages and village development – this will include memorials, statutory charge provisions and the process for terminating a retirement village scheme;
· New village developments, leasing off the plan and multiple residence contracts – including issues relating to wait list and holding fees and processes for land to be excised from village land; and
· Compliance and enforcement will be dealt with 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.
“We have staged the consultation process so that stakeholders and others in the community will have the time to devote to considering the proposals being put forward on each topic and provide their input,” the Commissioner said.
“We need the views and opinions of everyone involved with or affected by the retirement village industry so we can develop laws to better meet the needs of the community, residents and operators.
“We’re keen to get feedback from seniors either looking to move into a retirement village or currently a resident, and their families as well.”
Those interested can view or download the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (CRIS) from the Consumer Protection website. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by post:
Retirement villages’ consultation
Locked Bag 100, East Perth WA 6892
Submissions on this paper close on 27 September 2019.