Understanding the Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2018Jun 18, 2019 3:14:33 PM
In November 2018, the NSW Parliament passed the Retirement Village Amendment Bill. This amended bill changes parts of the Retirement Villages Act 1999. In short, these bills protect both residents and prospective residents who want to downsize and live in lifestyle villages. It also works to introduce guidelines that people who run the retirement villages must comply with. In turn, residents can enjoy healthier and safer lives.
What Reforms Does the Bill Bring About?
There are five major reforms to the Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2018. Their goal is to improve any dispute resolutions, increase transparency, strengthen safety, improve emergency planning and procedures and giving greater certainty about costs.
1. Annual Contract Check-Up Meetings
Each resident can request to meet with the lifestyle village coordinators once a year. This meeting allows them to get a good understanding of the process for leaving, charges and fees. The resident can nominate people to be their representative or to attend the meeting with the resident. The resident can ask for the following information at each meeting:
- Obligation and rights list for leaving
- Estimated fee for leaving (if applicable)
- Estimated charges and fees associated with selling
- Estimated ongoing contribution of the next resident and the estimated sale price
- Estimate for fees associated when leaving
- Length of reoccurring charges after the resident moves out
- Estimate on what the resident gets after they pay their charges and fees
2. Annual Emergency Evacuation Exercise
Operators must run an annual emergency evacuation exercise. It familiarises the residents with the village's emergency protocols. It also ensures that the residents know what to do in the event of an emergency to get out.
3. Emergency Plans
Village operators must maintain and prepare an emergency plan. They must include prescribed matters. All residents and staff must be familiar with these emergency plans. The emergency plan will include the village size and location, number of residents and the resident's needs like hearing or mobility impairment.
4. Rules of Conduct
Each village must have set rules of conduct to deal with current and prospective residents. The rules also involve marketing the village and training staff. Finally, the rules must lay out clear ways to resolve any village disputes.
5. Village Auditor Appointment Process
Every year, the village operators must get consent of the residents before they appoint an auditor for the village accounts. Residents can suggest an auditor if the residents do not agree with the operator's chosen auditor. This ensures the residents have a say in how the operator uses their fee money and who examines it.
All of these changes take effect on 1 July 2019.
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