Proposed reforms to the retirement village laws in WA are now underway.
Significant changes were made to retirement villages legislation in WA between 2012 and 2016 following the Statutory Review of Retirement Villages Legislation Final Report, November 2019 (Final Report) (stage 1 reforms). Many of these changes were focused on providing the consumer with more information when deciding whether to enter into a retirement village agreement, as well as making changes to residence contracts and budget and financial reporting requirements.
Despite these reforms, some problems have persisted which include consumers continuing to enter into contracts without fully understanding their legal rights and obligations. Over the last 24 months, some outstanding recommendations have required reconsideration to reflect issues that have emerged since stage one of the reforms.
This current consultation process represents the second stage (stage two) of the reform process regarding the retirement village laws in Western Australia. Information on the reform process and proposals for change will be published on our website as they become available.
As there are a large number of issues to be consulted on, the outstanding matters have been grouped in categories to deal with common issues and themes. A consultation paper will be released for each category for stakeholders to comment on any issues of interest to them.
The first paper Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (CRIS 1) of the stage two reform is now available and focusses on improving the legislative definition of the retirement village product, how it is advertised and promoted and how the pricing is communicated to consumers.
The aim of reform in this area is to further increase transparency and enable consumers to better understand their rights and obligations before signing up for residency in a retirement village. There will be a series of later CRIS papers released throughout 2019-2020 that deal with issues (in no particular order) including:
- Operator management responsibilities to the village community including the owner/operator dichotomy, payment of exit entitlements, capital works, approval of budgets and refurbishment obligations.
- Clarifying the scope of the RV Act including application to short-term residents, residents’ relatives and partners, aged care facilities on retirement village land and the need for a public database of retirement villages.
- Multi-site villages, scheme termination, memorials and the statutory charge including the regulation of multi-site villages, the memorial requirements of the RV Act, statutory charge provisions and the process for terminating a retirement village scheme.
- New village developments (staged developments and redevelopments) leasing off the plan, and multiple residence contracts including waitlist and holding fees, staged developments and redevelopment and processes for land to be excisable from village land.
- Compliance and enforcement such as whether the head of power for the Fair Trading (Retirement Villages Interim Code) Regulations 2019 should move from the Fair Trading Act 2010 to the RV Act, what enforcement tools the RV Act should contain and the State Administrative Tribunal's jurisdiction.
More information about the consultation is available from the the Retirement village law reforms 2019 page.
Retirement villages laws
The retirement villages laws include: