The McGowan Government is making major amendments to the Retirement Villages Act. Image: Canva
  • McGowan Government Retirement Village Act amendment to address operators' and residents' concerns
  • One amendment includes exit entitlements to be paid to former residents within 12 months of departure
  • Property Council of WA responds to the proposed amendments

The McGowan Government is drafting major amendments to the Retirement Villages Act 1992 in order to address concerns that have arisen between operators and residents.

With the aim of making retirement village life easier for seniors while keeping the long-term viability of the sector healthy, the amendment seeks to cover all stages of the retirement village journey.

A few specifics of the reform include:

  • Fairer arrangements for existing payment of exit entitlements to former residents to be paid within 12 months from when the resident leaves.
  • Greater disclosure requirements for operators so consumers have clear and accurate information about the contract they are signing and the services provided.
  • Clarifying the obligations of operators around the financial management and maintenance of the village.
  • Establishing a process for operators to make significant changes to a retirement village, subject to safeguards for residents.
  • Refining the memorial requirements of the village land to ensure residents’ interests are protected, while ensuring flexibility for operators to make changes to the land.

Operators will be given 12 months after the passing of the legislation to comply with the new exit entitlement time limit.

Property Council of WA response

Property Council of Australia Executive Director Sandra Brewer had a mixed response to the amendments.

She says while the industry is supportive of changes to make retirement village life more attractive to residents, a different approach should be taken to the exit entitlements.

“The imposition of a 12-month deadline may represent a serious financial burden for smaller, not-for-profit villages,” Brewer said.

She added exit entitlements changes have consequences for the retirement living industry, which include increased costs for operators and future residents.

“However, the Property Council of WA has engaged extensively with state government throughout the Retirement Living reform process and shared our concerns,” she said.

Brewer says at a time when WA is facing house shortages, encouraging the long-term growth and vibrancy of the retirement village sector is crucial.

“Retirement villages are vital in the housing mix, providing affordable homes that offer safety and community for people as they age,” she said.

“The Property Council of WA will continue to work with the state government to ensure the best outcomes for the retirement living industry are achieved.”

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