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The owner of a Mandurah retirement village has been fined $5,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court for failing to provide specific information to prospective residents prior to them signing contracts.
Stephen Graeme May of Mosman Park owns the Willow Creek Mews retirement village in Greenfields, near Mandurah. He pleaded guilty on 31 January 2018 and was fined over breaches of the Retirement Villages Act for failing to provide a “Form 1” as prescribed by the Act to three prospective residents between September 2013 and February 2014. He was ordered to pay costs of $1,938.
Mr May pleaded not guilty to five other charges and was acquitted after a two day trial. Consumer Protection was ordered to pay his costs of $1,000 to defend these charges.
Under the Act, a prescribed ‘Form 1’ containing specific information relating to the retirement village, a notice of rights, a copy of the residence rules, a copy of any applicable code and any other prescribed documents are to be supplied by the retirement village owner at least ten working days prior to a contract being signed.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said this requirement is designed to provide transparency in retirement village contracts.
“Getting the prescribed information and having its receipt acknowledged ensures that potential residents have all the information they need at their fingertips to make an informed decision,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Entering into a retirement village contract is a major lifestyle decision for our community and their families, so these laws are crucial to make sure potential residents have specific and essential information before signing.
“Failing to provide the information in the form prescribed by retirement village regulations is not acceptable and village owners who do not comply may face action by Consumer Protection.”
In December 2016 the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) issued orders to the company that operated the retirement village Mayco Properties Pty Ltd and its Directors Stephen Graeme May and Louis Stephen May regarding the removal of misleading statements from the village’s website as well as addressing maintenance issues.
The company was ordered to write to residents and post on its website clarifying statements including the resident’s right to occupy the villa is through a lease; residents don’t buy any portion of the villa; the lease does not provide the absolute security of home ownership and that the company does not discount utility charges, residents may be charged at a rate higher than the residential tariff but residents may be eligible for state government discounts.
The SAT also ordered the company and its Directors to establish a more effective maintenance system at the village where residents’ maintenance requests are reported, tracked and resolved in a timely manner.
Anyone who has a complaint against a retirement village operator can contact Consumer Protection by emailing email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
General information and advice about seniors’ housing options is available from the Seniors Housing Advisory Centre by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 367 057.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com