VIC Govt set to review its Retirement Villages Act

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The State Govt has committed to reviewing the Act as part of its response to the recommendations of the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into the retirement living sector.

The response to the Legal and Social Issues Committee’s report also backs Consumer Affairs Victoria collating its online ‘retirement villages’ information into a booklet that village operators must provide to potential residents; that deferred management fees are applied on a pro rata basis; and villages must report on compliance with maintenance plans funded by maintenance charges paid by residents.

The Govt has also given “in principle” support to a requirement that retirement village operators provide every resident with an estimate of their exit fees every financial year.

Village operators already have to disclose the entry, ongoing and exit costs to prospective residents if they were to leave after one, two, five or 10 years. But the Govt says they will explore the “feasibility” of introducing a new requirement that an operator must provide an estimate of exit fees on request from a resident (limited to once a year).

The report does point out that a number of the recommendations – including that operators disclose ingoing prices with and without deferred management fees; mandatory accreditation for all retirement operators; and the creation of a new dispute resolution process – are already under review.

The State Govt has also agreed to support a plan for the Act and related regulations to make it clear whose responsibility it is to pay for repairs and maintenance in units and community facilities and any works should be undertaken “within a reasonable and mutually acceptable timeframe.”

However, the Govt says it will not support new planning provisions to increase the supply of retirement housing, saying “there is no need to establish a new ‘retirement housing zone’.”

The inquiry had raised concerns about the lack of available zoned land close to services and facilities.

Interestingly, the Govt has only “noted” the recommendation that the Law Institute of Victoria’s Elder Law Committee develop professional accreditation for specialists in retirement housing and also provide training to general practitioners to improve their understanding of this area of law.

They also say they will only support “in part” investigating measures to ensure that all retirement village units hold the same owners corporation voting rights; and provisions to allow village operators to pay either the refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) or daily accommodation payment (DAP) for residents entering aged care until the resident’s unit is sold.

You can download a copy of the full response here.