NZ Herald Article 10 Mar 2023: “Ten ‘unfair’ retirement village practices: Government review under way”, discusses the retirement village practices RVResidents Association has collated which we are currently concerned about in relation to the unfairness of the Retirement Villages Act 2003. These practices are not illegal, but they do discriminate against or disadvantage residents.
Our RVResidents president Brian Peat said “We are currently concerned with the unfairness of the Retirement Villages Act 2003, regulations and codes of practice which never contained a clause for review and no longer protects the consumer rights of residents, given the changes in the economy, the care sector and expectations of residents,”. Our association also said these were just a few examples and it acknowledges not all villages practiced such unfair things. “But we are very conscious that the RV Act allows them to do so which means that residents have very little consumer protections under the current act.”
The Retirement Villages Association said most of the practices are not used by larger businesses and aren’t widespread. While their president, Graham Wilkinson argues that if any of the 10 were currently practised, it was only by a few smaller operators, and if they did it would be disclosed in writing upfront. “We’ve always been aware of a small minority of villages which had practices which are not followed by the vast majority. I’ve always called them the wrinkles in the system. Doing things like charging fees after you leave shouldn’t happen.”
Brian said around 40 per cent of all villages forced residents to pay for repairs and maintenance costs “even though we don’t own the property”, but did acknowledge some operators were trialing changes by eliminating some of the 10 unfair practices. The list of 10 practices had gone to the Commerce Commission as a complaint “and we haven’t heard anything back. But the unfair clauses might not comply with the Fair Trading Act”.
The ministry of Housing and Urban Development has announced an investigation in December after widespread calls for change from Consumer NZ, the Retirement Commissioner, the association and residents. There is also a ministry discussion document due out later this year that could recommend banning some of these practices. The ministry is currently examining many of the practices.
Five Retirement Villages are quoted with their responses to the ten ‘unfair’ practices.
To see the original RVR Residents Association document sent to the Commerce Commission, go to:
Or, to read the full article please click on the following link;