Retirement villages under the miscroscope

Retirement villages are the subject of two separate state government reviews in whichdispute resolution isa key issue.
Nanjing Night Net

Consumer Affairs Victoria is reviewingconsumer property law,internal dispute resolution and complaint handling under the Retirement Villages Act.

The Department of Justice and Regulation is reviewing dispute resolution.

The government is also conducting an inquiry into retirement living more broadly, which sat in Ballarat last week and has received over 700 submissions from across Victoria.

Submissions from Ballarat included one from a man who was charged$17,400to refurbisha unit occupied for less than three-and-a-half years, allegations of bullying and harassment by village management and fellow residents, and poor quality fit-outs requiring repairat residents’ expense.

Complaints to CAV about retirement villages have dropped from 58 in 2014-15 to 42 in 2015-2016.

However a government spokesperson said theAndrews government was aware of community concern, particularly around dispute resolution.

“We are aware of community concerns, specifically regarding dispute resolution, which is why a number of reviews of the retirement village sector are underway,” she said.

Complaints to CAV about retirement villages have dropped from 58 in 2014-15 to 42 in 2014-2015.

“The legislation governing retirement villages is consumer protection legislation, that’s why we think retirement villages should sit in the Consumer Affairs portfolio.”

The industry has recommended the appointment of an advocate and retirement minister.

Advocacy groups and residents are calling for an independent ombudsman for the sector.

A review of the so-called aged care rule, which allows a retirement village resident entering aged care with access to some of their exit entitlements prior to the unit’s sale, is also under review by CAV.

The rule is beingchallenged by the industry, which the Property Council says is “causing significant harm” to retirement village operators.

A government spokesperson was unable to say exactly what changes to the aged care rule were being considered.

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