Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts today delivered a Liberals & Nationals election commitment by launching the new streamlined standard contract for the retirement village industry.
Mr Roberts said all retirement villages across the state must have the new standard contract in place by 1 October 2013, along with a general enquiry document that explains the services and facilities available in the village and a new simplified disclosure statement to be given to prospective residents before they sign a contract.
“These reforms will make the move into a village easier and less stressful for retirees and their families,” Mr Roberts said.
“Under the new standard contract, the confusion and complexity that currently exists will be removed, with the new documents written in plain English so they are easier to understand.
“This will allow prospective residents to compare ‘apples with apples’ when making the important choice of which retirement village to move into.
“Retirees and their families will be able to clearly see their rights and obligations and make accurate comparisons between villages so they can choose one that best suits their needs.”
The plain English standard contract covers issues such as:
- The type of residence being acquired in the village, i.e. ownership in a strata or community scheme, leasehold arrangements or other forms of occupancy;
- All costs the resident must pay to enter, live in and leave the village;
- If and how any capital gains are to be shared;
- The settling-in period;
- Services and facilities;
- Alterations and additions;
- Repairs and maintenance.
The President of the Retirement Village Residents Association, Jan Pritchett, commended the Government for achieving the reform in just two years.
“We were pleased when the Liberal Party made the promise of a standard contract for retirement villages, which was an important component of its election policy,” she said.
“The standard contract and its associated documents should be very beneficial to prospective residents, by placing the important sections prominently at the front of village contracts.”
The Chief Executive of the Aged and Community Services Association NSW & ACT, Illana Halliday, welcomed the introduction of a standard contract, on behalf of retirement village operators in the non-profit and charitable sector.
“We commend the work the Minister has undertaken to assist prospective residents to better understand and compare costs and conditions,” she said.
“With the introduction of the new standard contract and disclosure documents our members look forward to a more streamlined approach for processing applications.”
The CEO of The Aged Care Rights Service (TARS), Russell Westacott, said the introduction of a standard contract was an important reform.
“We believe a standard contract will improve the lives of people thinking of and entering into retirement living and that population is only going to grow over the coming decades,” he said.
“We thank Minister Roberts for making this a priority in his first term as Fair Trading Minister. TARS was delighted to be part of the decision-making process along with other key stakeholders.”
The standard contract was drafted by a committee of industry and legal experts as well as retirement village residents.
Law Society President, John Dobson, commended the NSW Government on the initiative.
“I believe it is in the interests of both those looking to move into retirement villages and the operators of retirement villages to have a standard contract that sets out clearly the rights and obligations of each party,” Mr Dobson said.
A copy of the new standard contract is available on the Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or by calling 13 32 20.