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When things go wrong in retirement villages

Posted to Retirement Section on 20-03-2017

By Diane Maxwell - Retirement Commissioner

We know that more people are choosing to move into retirement villages and many have a great experience. But occasionally things go wrong or disputes occur and it’s really important that people know what they can do to sort things out.

There’s a Code of Practice that covers the dispute resolution process, but retirement village residents, as well as the people who run the villages, told us it wasn’t working as well as it could.

The Commission went through a procedure across a year to better understand how to make the process clearer and more user-friendly. We held a forum for residents, operators, mediation specialists and others with an interest in the subject, and also invited the public to write and tell us what they thought.

From there we drew up recommendations for improvements and those changes will come into effect on 1 April.

Under the amended code, all retirement village operators are required to have a written procedure so that residents know how to raise concerns informally. We hope this will enable more disputes to be resolved early on, before they need to go before a disputes panel.

We have also tried to make the formal process easier to understand, with a new step-by-step procedure for residents and operators to follow.

Every six months the operators will have to report to me with information about formal complaints they have received. This ensures I can keep across what is going on and identify any trends or issues that might need addressing.

You can read the code in full here but I’d encourage anyone who’s having a problem to begin by talking to their retirement village manager or operator. It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve things as quickly as possible and the operators will be as keen as you to do so.

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