Retirement village laws and inquiry

Retirement Villages Regulation 2017

The Retirement Villages Regulation 2017 made some changes to retirement village laws. These include:

  • requiring copies of a village's insurance policy documents be available to prospective residents
  • a new 'average resident comparison figure' (ARCF) in the Disclosure Statement to facilitate more effective comparison between villages – required for all disclosure statements after 1 March 2018
  • reducing the maximum amount payable for an operator's legal and other expenses to $50
  • adding new matters for which village rules can be created, including smoking in communal areas
  • requiring clearer information in annual budgets around head office expenses
  • lowering the maximum amount allocated for contingencies to $1
  • prohibiting additional matters that cannot be financed by recurrent charges
  • simplifying the process for allowing residents to hold office on a residents committee for longer than three years; and
  • allowing service of documents by electronic means.

Inquiry into NSW retirement villages

As part of its four-point plan to improve retirement village living, the NSW Government commissioned Kathryn Greiner AO to lead an inquiry into the state’s retirement village sector. The inquiry was completed between August and December 2017.

The Inquiry into the NSW Retirement Village Sector Report (PDF, 3583.78 KB) (the Greiner Review Report) outlines the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations to improve the legislative framework for retirement villages in NSW.  The Inquiry found that the operation of the retirement village sector could be improved in three key areas:

  • increasing transparency of exit fees and contracts
  • clarifying the funding arrangements for ongoing maintenance costs which are shared between residents and operators
  • providing more support when disputes arise (and reducing the potential for disputes arise).

The Greiner Review Report further recommends improving Fair Trading’s administrative and operational practices in the retirement village sector.

The NSW Government supports the findings and recommendations in the Greiner Review Report. To implement the Greiner Review Report, it will make reforms to afford greater protections to consumers. These reforms will aim to:

  • increase transparency
  • improve certainty around costs
  • enhance operator accountability
  • improve dispute resolution, and
  • strengthen Fair Trading’s role as the regulator of retirement villages in NSW.

The Government is progressing the proposed reforms outlined in its response, and will consult on any significant proposals as they are developed.

Read the Government response to the Greiner Review Report (PDF, 339.02 KB).

Background to the Inquiry

The Inquiry reviewed the protections offered to residents and the opportunities to improve Fair Trading’s administrative and operational practices that could help address unfair practices in the sector.

The Inquiry also looked at the fairness and transparency of business practices, including:

  • transparency and honesty of marketing activities
  • clarity of fees and contractual rights and obligations for prospective residents and their families
  • suitability and fairness of village maintenance and operational practices to maintain resident safety
  • availability and cost-effectiveness of dispute resolution mechanisms
  • fairness of arrangements to levy maintenance fees to maintain the village and address building defects.

Download the formal terms of reference for the inquiry.

Submissions to the Inquiry

Submissions closed on 31 October 2017.

Community forums

During the consultation program, residents and members of the community were invited to attend consultation forums to discuss their concerns at locations across the State. The forums were held in Sydney, Hornsby, Ballina, Parramatta, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, Wollongong, and Wagga Wagga during October 2017.

View a summary of issues raised at the community forums below:

These summaries are issues raised by participants during consultation and do not reflect the views of the NSW Government.

Privacy and personal information

Personal information collected as part of the submission process is handled in accordance with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, which regulates the collection, storage, access, amendment, use and disclosure of personal information. Visit our privacy page for more information. Fair Trading may in some circumstances be required by law to disclose your submission, including personal information to third parties.

Submissions, in part or in whole, may be made publicly available on our website or in in reports, or other documents produced by the Inquiry. Please tell us if you do not wish for your submission to be made public.

Complaints

If you have an enquiry or complaint about a retirement village, you can lodge a complaint or contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

 
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