Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Former Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business

    Laws to promote fairness in retirement living

    25/10/2012 12:00 AM
    • New laws enhance rights of retirement village residents
    • Reforms also ensure viable retirement village industry
    New laws promoting fairness in the retirement living arrangements of Western Australian seniors have passed State Parliament.

    Legislation was aimed at enhancing the rights of retirement village residents, while ensuring the industry’s prosperity through changes to the regulations relating to contracts and charges.

    Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said the new laws struck a good balance between addressing the concerns of residents while maintaining a viable industry.

    “The changes to the legislation limit the time that recurrent charges are required to be paid by non-owner residents after they leave a village,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “A limit of six months will apply to residents on current contacts and three months for future contracts, meaning all non-owner residents will benefit.

    “The legislation will allow residents to be given the right to pass a special resolution to appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) against excessive or unwarranted increases in charges and allow more time to consider contract information with a longer cooling off period.

    “The SAT, on application by the commissioner for Consumer Protection, will be able to make orders to appoint a manager to a retirement village if that village is being seriously mismanaged.  There are also provisions prohibiting unsuitable people from operating or managing a village. The SAT will also be able to order operators to complete promised works and honour any other contractual obligations.

    “Retirement village management will benefit from the reforms, with payments from residents able to be released from trust once a resident is entitled to occupy a unit, rather than the previous arrangement where the operator had to wait until physical occupancy occurs.

    “This is the first stage of the State Government’s reform process that began with a comprehensive review involving extensive research and consultation with residents and operators.  As well as these reforms, the Government also established the Seniors’ Housing Centre which, for more than a year, has been providing free information on housing options for retirement living.

    “The State Government is committed to resolving issues related to the retirement village industry while ensuring the sector has a prosperous future.”
          Fact File

    Minister's office - 6552 5800