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COTA

COTA SA welcomes “fairer” Retirement Villages Act reforms

Media Release 31st December 2017

The State Government's new Retirement Villages Act, which come into force tomorrow (January 1, 2018), represents a fairer deal for those living in retirement villages, achieving a higher level of transparency and protections, says COTA SA.

COTA SA Chief Executive Jane Mussared says there are some important and very welcome changes to the Act, which strike a much better balance between the commercial requirements of village operators and the rights of village residents.

"We welcome the statutory repayment provision that allows residents leaving a village to be paid out for their unit after 18 months, whether or not it has been relicensed," Ms Mussared said.

"This had been a major sticking point for some of the residents we have spoken to, with some waiting for years before having access to their investment. It just hasn't been good enough."

Ms Mussared says the Act will also enable residents to continue to occupy their unit while it is being relicensed.

"At the moment residents are required to move out even though the unit may be vacant.

"The new legislation and accompanying regulations provide a greater level of transparency in both contracting and day-to-day management.

"Transparency surrounding contracting has been a point of contention for many.

The new regulations also provide opportunities for breaches to be penalised through an ‘on the spot fine' in some instances, which is good news for older South Australians. We hope these will create a much better deterrent than the current system that has relied on rare, long-winded and difficult prosecutions.

"Having a code of behaviour required for both residents and operators will also provide much needed protection for all.

"Older South Australians and their families have a right to be protected from unfair practices which, while not occurring in the vast majority of villages, have happened often enough to undermine confidence in the industry as a whole. The new Act is a positive step in the right direction and has generally been supported by the majority of operators as well as by residents," Ms Mussared said.

About COTA SA

COTA SA is an older people's movement run by, for and with older people. COTA SA represents the aspirations, interests and rights of 633,000 older South Australians, with 17,000 individual members and 250 organisation members. In 2017 COTA SA turns 60.

For all interview requests please contact:

Bec Tape - rtape@communikate.net.au | 0438 806 983

Download a copy of the media release