Retirement village law reforms 2019 - 2021

Status: closed (CRIS 4 closed on 21 July 2021).

Between 2012 and 2016 significant changes were made to retirement villages legislation in WA following the Statutory Review of Retirement Villages Legislation Final Report, November 2010 (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 persisted which include consumers continuing to enter into contracts without fully understanding their legal rights and obligations. Some outstanding recommendations have required reconsideration to reflect issues that have emerged since stage one of the reforms.

The second stage (stage two) of the reform process regarding the retirement village laws in Western Australia commenced in August 2019.

As there were a large number of issues to be consulted on, the outstanding matters were grouped in categories to deal with common issues and themes. Consultation papers were released for each category for stakeholders to comment on any issues of interest to them. 

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Consumer Protection Division (Consumer Protection) released four consultation papers as part of the stage two consultation process to introduce reforms to the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) (RV Act). 

The first consultation paper (CRIS 1) released in August 2019 focused on improving Western Australian consumers’ understanding of the retirement village product and its price. The second consultation paper (CRIS 2) released in December 2019 focused on operator obligations such as exit entitlements, capital works funding, refurbishment and rules of conduct. The third consultation paper (CRIS 3) released in March 2020 focused on clarifying when the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) applies.  The fourth consultation paper realesed in June 2021, focused on managing change in a retirement village. 

The proposed reforms in CRIS-4 include:

  • improve consumer understanding of the retirement village product and price structure by way of advertising requirements, clarifying definitions in the legislation, and more accessible pricing information;
  • improve the financial situation of departing residents, including a proposed time limit for the payment of exit entitlements, extending the cap on payment of recurrent charges to strata title residents, and addressing refurbishment obligations;
  • introduce mandatory reserve funds in retirement villages to ensure provision is made for ongoing capital works;
  • improve clarity and transparency around village operating budgets and the use of resident funds for capital works;
  • impose certain standards for the conduct of operators and residents in retirement villages;
  • establish a public online database of retirement villages to assist in the identification of villages covered by the legislation;
  • introduce a new process to apply when significant changes are proposed to be made to a village,
  • clarify how the RV Act applies where there are multiple sales contracts;
  • clarify how the RV Act should apply to residential aged care facilities;

The consultation also sought feedback on a number of issues, including dispute resolution, the overlap between the RV Act and the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA), building defects, insurance contracts, and the provision of private home care services in retirement villages.

What was the consultation process?

  • The four consultation papers were released as part of a broader consultation process to introduce reforms to the RV Act.
  • The four Consultation Regulatory Impact Statements (CRIS) were released between August 2019 and July 2021.
  • Submissions to the fourth consultation paper (CRIS 4) closed on 21 July 2021.
  • The consultation papers form part of the Government’s regulatory impact assessment process. They set out issues, summarise policy considerations, identify options for addressing the issues and identify the main benefits and detriments of taking or not taking action.
  • Together these CRISs are part of a broader consultation process on implementing recommendations made in the Statutory Review of Retirement Villages Legislation Final Report (2010) (Final Report) and considering other issues that have arisen since that time.

How else has feedback on reform proposals been obtained?

  • Feedback from the community has also been obtained in other ways, including surveys, discussions and roundtables with peak bodies in the sector, engagement with other government agencies, and interested organisations.
  • Consumer Protection has also engaged the WA Treasury Corporation to assess the financial impact of proposals to introduce a time limit for exit entitlements. The outcome of this process will inform recommendations to the WA Government.

What are the next steps?

  • Consumer Protection is analysing all submissions it has received during the consultation process.
  • This includes any additional matters and any alternate ways for dealing with an issue raised by stakeholders.
  • Before the end of this year, Consumer Protection will make recommendations for regulatory change in a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS) to Government on the reform proposals.
  • If the Government decides to approve these, a draft Bill for introduction into Parliament will need to be prepared. Further consultation with stakeholders will occur during this process.

How will decisions be made?

  • All comments made by the community are being considered in Consumer Protection’s analysis and recommendations to Government.
  • The comments of people who made submission help Government decide whether reforms are required, policy should change, and which particular proposals are likely to be effective.

When will a decision be made?

  • The Government is anticipated to make a decision on the DRIS recommendations in the first half of 2022.

How can stakeholders continue to receive updates

  • Consumer Protection issues regular bulletins to keep stakeholders informed and up-to-date. If you would like to be added to the stakeholder list please email us your email address.

Downloads and resources

CRIS 4 -  Managing changes to a retirement village

Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement 4 (CRIS 4) - Managing changes to a retirement village

CRIS 3 -  Clarifying when the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) applies

Retirement villages law reforms 2020 CRIS 3 - Clarifying when the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) applies

CRIS 2 - Operator responsibilities

Retirement villages law reforms 2020 CRIS 2 - Operator management responsibilities

CRIS 1 - Retirement village product and price

Retirement villages law reforms 2019 CRIS 1 - Retirement village product and price

 

Enquiries

Enquiries can be made by calling Consumer Protection Contact Centre on 1300 304 054 or by email.

Retirement village consultation pages

Further information about the different stages of the consultation are available from:

 

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