Warning for WA village operators: retrospective fines now in force

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[The new wave of Consumer Advocacy] Following an action by the WA Government’s Consumer Protection department, a WA retirement village owner has been fined $5,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court for failing to provide specific information to prospective residents prior to them signing contracts in 2013 and 2014.

Stephen Graeme May pleaded guilty to breaching the Retirement Villages Act for failing to provide a “Form 1” as prescribed by the Act, to three prospective residents at his Willow Creek Mews retirement village in Greenfields between September 2013 and February 2014.

He was ordered to pay costs of $1,938. His company was also ordered to write to residents and post on its website clarifying statements about ownership arrangements and utility charges.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said this “Form 1” requirement was designed to provide transparency in retirement village contracts and failing to provide it was “unacceptable”.

Mr May was also acquitted of five other charges, with Consumer Protection ordered to pay his costs of $1,000 to defend these.

According to the village’s website, Siena Living is in the process of taking over its management while financial responsibility for the village has been assigned to an independent accounts management company.