Retirement industry commits to action plan on village costs and contracts

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The Retirement Living Council released an eight-point plan following a recent meeting between over 30 operators and retirement village resident association leaders from around Australia.

The plan includes a commitment to deliver high standards; simpler information about costs and contracts; and an independent umpire to resolve disputes.

This would be achieved by supporting “mandatory accreditation” for operators, ensuring contracts are “consistently clearer” and providing “better dispute resolution mechanisms”.

The sector has been under fire over village fees and charges in the wake of the Fairfax/Four Corners investigation, but so far, there’s been little in the way of action.

Will this be the turning point?

The action plan promises to:

  1. Support nationally consistent retirement village legislation and contracts.
  2. Ensure there are easy-to-understand descriptions in contracts of entry pricing, ongoing service fees, reinstatement costs and fees and payments relating to residents leaving a retirement village.
  3. Encourage all potential residents to seek independent legal advice before signing a contract, and work together with government and the legal profession to make this happen.
  4. Improve training and professional support for village managers, sales people and other staff who speak to residents.
  5. Commit to improve industry village accreditation standards and coverage, including making accreditation a mandatory requirement for operating a village.
  6. Work with the Australian Retirement Village Residents Association to implement an industry Code of Conduct, as well as dispute management procedures for operators and residents.
  7. Commit to the establishment of a government-backed independent dispute resolution process, such as an Ombudsman or Advocate.
  8. Maintain and strengthen the relationship between industry and the Australian Retirement Village Residents Association.

Download the plan here.

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