On 30 July 2017, the NSW Government announced a four-point plan for retirement villages in NSW aimed at putting consumers first. This plan included commissioning an independently chaired Inquiry into the sector. The Inquiry provided its final report to the Government on 15 December 2017, making 17 recommendations for improvements. One recommendation was considering reforms to reduce the burden and uncertainty for residents and their families of ongoing recurrent charges when a resident left the village, and of costs and liability when the resident’s unit remained unsold.
On 14 February 2019, the NSW Liberal and National Government made an election commitment to amend the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (the Act) to address these concerns by placing a 42-day limit on the length of time villages can charge for general services (such as operational and management costs that are paid by all residents in a village) after someone leaves. It also announced a requirement that retirement village operators pay exit entitlements within 6 months of a person leaving a village in metropolitan areas and within 12 months of a person leaving a village in regional NSW.
The purpose of this discussion paper is to seek feedback from the retirement villages sector and the NSW community about how this commitment should be implemented. This feedback will be used to help shape the reforms and ensure that they reflect the needs of residents and village operators.