Retirement Villages Legislation Framework 1/3

Lianne Dalziel Senior Citizens
Proposed retirement villages
legislation

Protection for residents in retirement villages is the focus of measures
in proposed legislation outlined by Senior Citizens Minister Lianne Dalziel
today.

At a briefing on the legislation, Lianne Dalziel outlined the government's
key decisions.

"The legislation will stand alone, and will cover all villages irrespective
of size. This recognises that the risks, problems and need for residents'
protection, are the same for small and large villages alike. Existing villages
will be given 12 months to comply with certain key provisions.

"Villages will have to provide a comprehensive Disclosure Statement which
will outline information that must be presented to intending residents,
including the recommendation that people seek legal and/or financial advice
before signing up to reside in a village. This is very important as many who buy
occupancy in a retirement village unit do not acquire any property they can
sell.

"Intending residents will have a 10 day "cooling off" period giving them an
opportunity to rescind their decision to buy into a village. Every village will
need to have a Code of Residents' Rights that will outline minimum rights of
residents. The Industry will also be required to comply with a Code of Practice
intended to be developed by the industry and approved by the Minister. It is
intended that the Code of Practice will ensure quality practices are observed in
the management of villages. Sanctions and penalties, aligned with the Fair
Trading Act, will be imposed for breaches of the legislation. There will also be
provision for a disputes resolution process to allow disputes to be heard and
resolved fairly.

"Contractual documents relating to village occupancy will need to be
consistent with both Codes, and statutory supervisors will be required for every
village. In addition, all retirement villages will have to register as such with
the Companies Office. The Retirement Commissioner will be responsible for
monitoring the effectiveness of this legislation and public education.

"It needs to be said that the numbers of villages where there are significant
problems are few, but where they do occur, the impact on residents is
substantial. This legislation is about roping in the 'cowboys'."

Lianne Dalziel said she and her Senior Citizens Unit officials with the
Ministry of Social Development would continue to work closely with interest
groups such as the Retirement Villages' Association, Grey Power and Age Concern.