COTA Victoria acknowledges the long and tireless campaign for reform by retirement living residents. Our warmest congratulations to YOU the RESIDENTS on the significant report handed down by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Retirement Housing.
COTA Victoria worked alongside campaign stalwarts Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria, their members, Consumer Action Law Centre and Housing for the Aged Action Group. The evidence by residents at the Inquiry was powerful. Members of the Inquiry heard about the impact of poor maintenance, long and expensive disputes and the hidden costs of deferred management fees and exit fees.
The issues of complex and confusing contracts and intimidation and bullying of residents by managers and owners have been acknowledged through many of the recommendations for change. COTA supports the recommendation for a low cost, timely and binding dispute resolution body such as an independent Ombudsman. Skill training for people working in retirement housing in finance, respectful communication and conflict resolution are also positive outcomes. Not all calls for reform were made. Whilst the report recommended operators provide clearer disclosure on ingoing, ongoing and outgoing fees the argument for standardised contracts and differential rates for retirement villages was not accepted. COTA Victoria does not support the recommendation to allow retirement village operators to pay either the accommodation deposit (RAD) or daily accommodation payment (DAP) for residents entering aged care until the unit is sold
COTA Victoria urges the Victorian government to act on all, bar one of the recommendations from the Inquiry Report and support greater consumer protections for older people seeking to live in retirement housing.