A residents committee is a group of residents, elected by their fellow residents, to represent their interests and carry out certain functions.
Forming a residents committee
A residents committee can be established with the consent of the residents of the retirement village. For residents to consent:
- a general meeting to where all residents are invited needs to be held, and
- more than 50 percent of the residents who vote (in person or by proxy or postal vote) must give consent.
Residents should then discuss and agree on how many members the committee should have and how often it should meet. Nominations for members should be called and an election held. All of these steps can be taken at the same meeting, or at a later meeting.
Any resident can stand for election to a residents committee. Non-residents cannot be members. There is no restriction on the number of committee members.
Unless otherwise invited, only committee members should attend a residents committee meeting.
The residents committee is free to decide the procedures for its own meetings. There are procedures set out in the retirement village laws relating to general residents’ meetings and consent of residents. Residents committee members need to be familiar with these. A residents committee doesn’t need to have a formal constitution or written rules, but these may help. Fair Trading has developed a <set of model rules> that residents committees can use if they wish. The model rules can be used as they are or changed to suit the committee’s needs.
A residents committee can form sub-committees and decide their procedures.
There is no requirement to appoint office holders but it’s a good idea to choose a member to keep records and another member to chair meetings. Many villages choose to appoint residents to act as chairperson, secretary or treasurer.
If office holders are appointed, a person can hold the same office for more than three years where there are no other people standing for election or residents agree by special resolution. An office holder can also be appointed to a different function. For example, after three years the secretary could be nominated for another role, such as chairperson.
Functions and rights
Residents committees have a wide range of functions and rights such as:
- calling meetings of residents to vote on matters requiring residents’ consent or to discuss the management and operation of the village
- reporting residents’ decisions to the operator regarding matters that need residents’ consent
- applying to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the 'Tribunal') on behalf of some or all residents
- requesting information from the operator about proposed changes to recurrent charges
- receiving certain financial accounts from the operator
- forming sub-committees
- proposing changes to the village rules or the village services and facilities
- acting as a contact point for prospective residents
- meeting with the operator
- receiving a copy of the annual safety inspection report from the operator
- putting forward a proposal for a surplus in the annual accounts or excess money in the capital works fund to be distributed to residents.
Residents committees are not decision-making bodies. They cannot make decisions on behalf of residents on matters that require residents’ consent.
The operator should provide administrative assistance to the committee. The operator is not allowed to obstruct a committee from exercising its functions, should meet with the residents committee, or a representative of the committee, on request or can even request a meeting with the committee.