More than 180,000 senior Australians now live in retirement villages, which offer convenience and economic advantages when downsizing from a family home. However, stories in recent years of vulnerable residents being charged exorbitant fees and not having their rights respected have put the industry under greater scrutiny.
In 2017, the Retirement Living Council and Property Council of Australia collaborated on an eight-point plan to ensure greater transparency and higher standards for retirement villages across Australia, helping to give new and existing residents peace of mind.
What is the Eight Point Plan?
The Retirement Village Eight Point Plan was drafted by industry bodies, retirement village operators and resident association leaders to address the concerns of residents and their families. It was intended as the starting point for making positive changes in the industry.
Summarised, the eight points are:
- Legislation and contracts to be made consistent at retirement villages Australia-wide.
- Contracts to be made transparent and easy to understand, with a clear breakdown of costs.
- Encouraging retiring Australians to talk to conveyancing solicitors or other legal services before signing contracts.
- Providing more training and support for retirement village managers and staff.
- Raising standards of accreditation for retirement villages and to make accreditation a mandatory requirement.
- Establishing a Code of Conduct for the operation and marketing of retirement villages and disputes.
- Establishing a dispute resolution service for issues that cannot be addressed at the village level.
- To make sure residents’ concerns are clearly identified and addressed by improving the relationship between resident associations and the industry.
How does the Eight Point Plan affect retirees?
The retirement Eight Point Plan addressed common concerns and criticisms raised at some retirement villages, which will be forced to raise their standards and offer greater transparency to existing and prospective residents as the plan becomes enforced by new legislation.
While the changes won’t happen overnight, the industry is already showing clear signs of improvement. Greater awareness of the issues still faced by some village residents should also encourage retiring Aussies to do their research and seek legal advice before signing contracts, helping them to avoid problems down the line.
How is the plan performing?
More than a year on, changes have already swept across the industry as a direct result of the Eight Point Plan. This includes the introduction of a new Code of Conduct that must be followed by all village operators and marketers and a mandatory accreditation program being developed with Leading Age Services Australia. Steps are also being taken to make sure contracts are written in plain language that’s easy for residents to understand.
With villages being forced to uphold high standards and to offer greater transparency to residents, Australians who are considering downsizing their homes and moving into retirement living now have greater security knowing their rights will be protected.
Where can I find out more?
If you have more questions about retirement and how to sell your home, East Coast Conveyancers can help. Click the image below to download your free ebook – Downsizing your home: selling and downsizing tips for seniors.