29 October 2019

Improved fee disclosure to prospective buyers and potential mandatory village accreditation schemes have been put on the table in a review of Victoria’s retirement village legislation.

The review aims to update laws about retirement villages to further protect consumers, as well as encourage growth and innovation in the sector.

As part of the review, the government has published a 62-page issues paper, which poses 51 questions about various aspects of the State’s regulatory framework.

Consumer Affairs Victoria will also be facilitating a number of community consultation sessions during November.

“We’re creating fair and effective retirement village laws and engaging with the community is an important step in this process, and we want Victorians to have their say,” said Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz.

“Input from retirement village residents, employees, owners, and managers is vital to ensure that the government is addressing key issues within the retirement village sector.”

The consultation sessions will be held in Shepparton, Geelong and Melbourne, ensuring all Victorians can contribute their ideas.

The review is being conducted in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Retirement Housing Sector and aims to address concerns around:

  • Contractual agreements, including whether contracts are too complex

  • Disclosure of fees and charges

  • Obligations for repairs and maintenance

  • Rights and obligations when selling a village unit.

The issues paper indicates the government is going to act on disclosure.

“Advertisements for retirement village units for sale or lease often only refer to the amount of the ingoing contribution, which may lead prospective residents to believe that this is the only or the total cost under the contract,” the paper says. 

“There is often no reference to any other costs and charges associated with the purchase or lease of the unit such as a ‘deferred management fee’ or other departure fees and charges which can significantly impact on the amount of ‘ingoing contribution’ that a resident receives when the unit is resold or leased.”

The issues paper also seeks feedback on a recommendation by a 2016 parliamentary Inquiry that the Government “give consideration to developing a model for mandatory accreditation for all retirement housing providers”

You can learn more about the current laws surrounding retirement villages by visiting www.consumer.vic.gov.au/retirementvillages.

Those who wish to make a submission, contribute their stories, experiences, and suggestions on the regulation of the retirement village sector can do so by visiting www.engage.vic.gov.au/retirementvillagesact before Friday, 6 December.