Fees and Charges
Each retirement village has its own set of fees and charges, which must be set out in the residence contract and also in the disclosure statement. The most common sets of fees and charges are recurrent charges (which may cover things like administration, food, and utilities), capital replacement funds (which may be used to replace things like appliances, hot water services, or air conditioners) and sinking funds (which may be used for long-term maintenance and unplanned expenses). Some villages may also offer additional services such as cleaning of the residence, care services, and separate meals, which may attract additional fees.
Consultation with Residents
Retirement village operators are required to consult with residents on any matter that could have a significant impact on their financial affairs, the amenity of the retirement village, or their way of life. Consultation must occur before:
- any redevelopment of the village is undertaken [s 37];
- the operator changes any dispute resolution policy [Retirement Villages Regulations 2017 (SA) Schedule 1 reg 6(1)(a)];
- any changes are made to the Residence Rules [Schedule 1 reg 6(1)(c)];
- any changes are made to the operator's remarketing policy [Schedule 1 reg 6(1)(d)]
A single residents' committee may be established within a retirement village, with the purpose of representing the interests of residents and to consult with the operator of the village on behalf of residents [see Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA) s 38].
Members of a residents' committee are elected to the committee for a period of one year, but can stand for re-election [s 38(5)].
A residents' committee can call meetings with other residents [see Retirement Villages Regulations 2017 (SA) reg 12(1)], and can meet with the retirement village operator as required [Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA) s 38(11)]. The Committee is required to call a meeting with residents annually, where certain financial information of the committee must be provided [Retirement Villages Regulations 2017 (SA) reg 12]. The Committee must take minutes from these meetings and within 10 business days make them available for other residents to inspect, and cause a copy to be given to the operator [see reg 12(4)].
A retirement village operator is required to consult with a residents' committee on a range of matters, including any maintenance issues raised by residents to the Committee, certain proposed changes to village services or amenities, and the establishment of social and recreational programs at the village [see Schedule 1 reg 5].
Meetings are an important way for residents to keep in contact with retirement village operators and for operators to provide relevant information (particularly, financial information) to residents. They also provide an opportunity for residents to vote on certain proposals affecting the village.
A resident's meeting must be convened by the operator of a retirement village on at least an annual basis [see Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA) s 33(1)]. Each resident will be provided with written notice of the meeting at least 10 business days before it is held [s 33(5)]. A notice of an annual meeting must contain various financial, income and expenditure details [s 33(6)(a)] as well as an invitation for residents to submit written questions to the operator at least 5 business days before the meeting [s 33(6)(b)].
Minutes must be made within 10 days of an annual meeting, a copy of which must then provided to each resident [s 34(4)(a)].
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