The first legislative reforms of the Retirement Villages Act 1999 following the Greiner Review into the retirement village sector came into force on 28 November 2018, in the form of the Retirement Villages Amendment Act 2018 No 77.
The amendments provide for a combination of changes to existing sections of the Act, new sections and provision for the introduction of new Regulations in the future.
Below is a brief summary of the amendments:
Village emergency plans
Village operators will need to prepare and maintain an emergency plan for the village and ensure all residents and staff are familiar with the plan
Annual emergency evacuation exercises
Village operators will need to undertake an evacuation exercise at least once each calendar year, display key safety information in the village and provide each resident with key safety information in relation to their premises.
Meetings to explain village contract information to residents
Residents will be able to request a village contract information meeting with the operator at least once each calendar year to explain the resident’s village contract, and be provided with a written summary of that explanation.
Rules of conduct for operators
The Regulations will be able to prescribe rules of conduct for village operators with respect to professionalism, training, competencies, performance and behaviour in relation to the management or operation of retirement villages.
Asset management plans
Village operators will need to prepare and maintain an asset management plan for items of capital at the village for which the operator is responsible.
Consent for appointment of auditors
Only a qualified auditor whose appointment as the auditor has received the residents’ consent may audit the village’s accounts.
Sharing and publication of information about retirement villages
The Regulations may provide for:
• the provision of relevant village information to Fair Trading;
• the publication of relevant village information; and
• the exchange and sharing of relevant village information by government agencies.
Mediation of disputes
The Regulations may make provision for the mediation of disputes arising under the Act, including the circumstances where mediation will be mandatory.
Fair Trading guidelines
Fair Trading may issue guidelines to assist operators of retirement villages in complying with their obligations and the Tribunal may take these guidelines into account when making orders.