Bundaleer Care Services says it supports the introduction of a package of just-announced state government retirement village reforms.
The four-point plan is designed to put consumers first and protect residents from potentially dodge practices, says minister for better regulation Matt Kean.
“This plan will put consumers first by making contracts more transparent, giving residents the tools to compare costs, and cracking down on providers through a compliance blitz,” he said.
Bundaleer CEO Gareth Norman said anyone contemplating entering a retirement village should consider a number of points.
“Ensure you choose to work with a respectable, honourable operator like Bundaleer,” Mr Norman said.
“We pride ourselves on transparency and working with plain-English documents to ensure that all rights and costs, including deferred management fees (also known as exit fees) are explained upfront to potential clients during a disclosure meeting, well before a contract is signed.
“And research who you are working with, chat to people who live within the village already and get a feel for the community you are thinking about joining.
“Bring someone to support you to contract disclosure discussions and we would also suggest that you read and fully understand what you are and the operator are agreeing on. Make sure you ask about anything that isn’t clear.
This inquiry will safeguard the rights of residents in retirement villages and will be tough on those who take advantage of our seniors.
“We also suggest you seek legal and financial advice before you sign a contract.”
Mr Norman said moving into a retirement village is about lifestyle, and the attraction of maintenance-free, hassle-free, relaxing living.
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams said the plan also includes an inquiry that will make sure residents have the protections they deserve, while ensuring retirement village operators are complying with the law.
Kathryn Greiner AO will head the inquiry, which will examine all registered retirement villages across NSW, and their compliance with the Retirement Villages Act 1999.
“This inquiry will safeguard the rights of residents in retirement villages and will be tough on those who take advantage of our seniors,” Mrs Williams said.
The package also includes:
- An overhaul of the Retirement Villages Regulation 2009, which NSW Fair Trading recently sought feedback on, that included proposed changes requiring greater transparency around fees and charges in contracts;
- Introducing an online calculator that will help prospective residents, and their families, better understand the estimated costs of living in a retirement village; and,
- NSW Fair Trading launching a compliance blitz targeting NSW retirement villages.
“Our retirees have made so many valuable contributions to our community. They deserve to live fulfilling, independent lives in the village of their choosing.
“And these measures will work to bolster transparency and give current and future retirement village residents the details they need to make the most informed choice,” Mrs Williams said.