There has been recent media attention surrounding the rights of residents in retirement villages, due to the recent changes to theRetirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) (the Act).
Retirement villages in Western Australia are largely regulated by the Act, the Retirement Villages Regulations 1992 (WA) and the Fair Trading (Retirement Villages Code) Regulations 2009 (WA).
A series of major amendments to the Act came into effect at the beginning of April 2014. The amendments follow a comprehensive review of the legislation governing retirement villages in Western Australia and constitute the most significant changes to the retirement villages’ regime since the Act commenced in 1992.
While many of the amendments to the Act protect the interests of a resident, any resident contemplating entering into a residence contract should still consider seeking independent expert advice before signing.
Some of the principle amendments to the Act include:
- changes to increase the time for a prospective resident to consider pre-contractual disclosure information (section 13 of the Act);
- changes to increase cooling off periods (section 14 of the Act);
- new provisions allowing for the creation of regulations which can prescribe certain matters that either must be or must not be included in a residence contract (section 14A of the Act);
- changes to allow for a resident’s premium to be released from trust once a resident is entitled to enter into occupation of the premises and after the cooling off period has expired (section 18 of the Act);
- new provisions which limit the liability of an outgoing non-owner resident (for example, a tenant under a lease) to pay recurrent charges once they have vacated the premises (section 23 of the Act);
- new provisions which allow an outgoing non-owner resident to defer payment of recurrent charges incurred once they have vacated the premises, and which allow the resident to have such charges deducted from the repayment of their premium (section 24 of the Act);
- new provisions which prohibit an administering body from demanding or receiving certain payments (prohibited charges) (section 25 of the Act);
- new provisions which allow residents to pass a special resolution and apply to the State Administrative Tribunal in relation a disputed increase in recurrent charges (section 57A of the Act);
- new provisions which allow for the appointment of a statutory manager to manage a retirement village where the wellbeing or financial security of residents is at risk (sections 75A to 75I of the Act);
- new provisions which prohibit certain persons from being directly or indirectly involved in the administration of a retirement village (sections 76 to 77C of the Act);
- changes to extend the time within which a person may commence proceedings under the Act (section 80 of the Act); and
- changes to increase penalties for offences against regulations created under the Act (section 82 of the Act).
It is anticipated that further amendments and additional regulations will come into effect later this year.
For more information on this update or any other Retirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) matters please contact David Miller or Joseph Di Rocco on (08) 9321 3755.
The information published on this website is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.