Victorian Retirement Villages Amendment Bill includes wholesale changes

Fundamental changes across all stages of the resident’s journey through a village are proposed in the exposure draft of Victoria State Government’s Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2022.

You only have until 28 October to comment.

Rosemary Southgate (pictured below), principal of Russell Kennedy Lawyers, wrote the 13 most significant changes to Victoria’s Retirement Villages Amendment Bill 2022 are:

1. the Disclosure Statement and Factsheet to be replaced by one disclosure document called an Information Statement, which must be available on the operator’s website;

2. a proposed settling in period;

3. restrictions upon the use of the village operating surplus and operating deficit;

4. restrictions upon increasing maintenance charges, if an increase is greater than CPI, to require a special resolution of residents to be passed at a resident meeting;

5. liability for payment of maintenance charges for owner and non-owner residents will cease upon vacant possession;

6. annual contract check-ups to be provided to all residents at no charge – initially in writing, but also with a meeting if requested by the resident;

7. the Deferred Management Fee to only be calculated as a percentage of the ingoing contribution paid by the resident;

8. restrictions on sharing any capital gain and capital loss with the resident – they must be shared in the same proportion; as well as new definitions of what comprises a capital gain and capital loss;

9. if maintenance charges are used for repairs and maintenance, an obligation to establish a separate capital maintenance fund which must only be used for repairs and maintenance and must not be used for replacements;

10. requirement for a condition report for the premises to be prepared prior to the resident’s entry into occupation, to be used as a reference point for the resident’s reinstatement obligations upon vacant possession;

11. restrictions upon a resident’s obligations to repair, reinstate or refurbish the premises upon departure – the resident is not responsible for fair wear and tear, the resident is responsible for reinstatement but is not responsible for renovation or upgrade works;

12. expansion of the aged care payment rule to include an obligation to pay alternative accommodation payments for the care of residents who move from the village to other accommodation which is not a residential care facility; and

13. requirement for an exit payment to be made within 12 months of vacant possession for owner and non-owner residents, with no carve-outs or exceptions other than by way of an application to VCAT by the operator on the grounds that they may be unable to pay the exit payment.

The exposure draft, released on 8 October, allows for an initial consultation period until 28 October, when the Victoria State Government goes into caretaker mode before the election on 26 November when Victoria Labor Party’s Daniel Andrews is seeking a third term in office.

“The feedback we receive will be vital to make sure those living in retirement villages are informed and supported to feel at home in their village,” said Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne.

“Retirement villages play a critical role in the lives of senior Victorians, who all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

“We welcome any and all submissions on the proposed reforms, and we thank those who have participated in the previous public consultations for retirement village reforms.

The next stage of consultation will depend upon the outcome of the State election.

Share this post