State government releases reforms to retirement villages laws

(2 August 2022) The state government today released the long-awaited Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS) paper on reforms to the Retirement Villages Act WA.

Included in the reforms is the inclusion of a maximum time limit of 12 months to be placed on the operator to pay exit entitlements to a resident after they leave.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said the Property Council has consistently advocated for over a decade to ensure reforms do not harm operators, who provide an important role in delivering and managing age friendly communities.

“Retirement villages are an essential part of WA’s housing mix,” Ms Brewer said.

“Beyond providing high quality, affordable accommodation options, retirement villages also offer residents incredible social and community benefits.

“Property Council research shows that retirement village residents visiting General Practitioners less frequently and have shorter hospital visits 

“Overwhelmingly the 25,000 Western Australian retirees who call a retirement village home love their experience,” she said.

Government receives very few complaints per year. In the context of around 25,000 retirement village residents, complaints requiring action or investigation represent less than 1 per cent of Western Australian retirement village residents.

“The reforms follow a lengthy consultation process, during which retirement village operators and industry representatives worked determinedly to meet the intended objectives of the Department of Industry Regulation and Safety.

During the consultation, a coalition of industry representatives provided research-backed solutions that fairly met the expectations of existing, departing, and future retirement village residents,” Ms Brewer continued.

“The reforms as announced do not reflect the agreed industry position presented to government which is disappointing in the context of prolonged good faith interactions.

“Of particular concern is the proposed changes to exit entitlement policy which will apply retrospectively, representing a major government intervention into private contracts.” Ms Brewer stressed.

“Whilst elements of the reforms are unfavourable, Industry is hopeful that the conclusion of the reform program, which has been highly disruptive for over a decade, will now allow the retirement village sector to do what it does best and provide outstanding age-friendly independent accommodation options for older Western Australians,” she concluded.

The Property Council WA will continue to work with the state government to ensure best outcomes for the retirement living industry are achieved.

Media contact:  Megan Lack | M  0449252380   |   E  [email protected]