This article first appeared on the iSeniority blog.
Although retirement villages include the provision of services and care, they are primarily about property, which is the domain of State and Territory governments rather than the Commonwealth. So retirement villages are regulated at the State and Territory level and all States and Territories have enacted specific retirement village legislation.
This contrasts with aged care, which includes the provision of accommodation but is primarily about the provision of services and care and has been brought under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Government. So aged care homes and facilities, which are commonly known as hostels and nursing homes, are mostly regulated at the Commonwealth level by the Aged Care Act 1997.
Unfortunately, but as you might expect, the retirement village legislation is different in each State and Territory. As well as making life difficult for multi-state retirement village operators, this means that the rights and obligations of residents and prospective residents also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and the legal documentation (which is already complex enough) can vary accordingly. This may not matter much to people who are considering alternatives in a single State or Territory, but it can complicate things even more for those who are considering alternatives in more than one State or Territory.
The retirement village legislation in each State and Territory has its own definition of what is and what is not a “retirement village” and some communities that you might reasonably think are retirement villages may fall outside the technical definition, in which case they will usually be regulated by other specific legislation. The definitions usually exclude aged care homes and facilities that provide residential care by approved providers under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth. They also usually exclude manufactured home villages and communities that offer short term rental accommodation, which are usually regulated by specific manufactured home and tenancy legislation, respectively. Particular legal structures may also attract the application of additional legislation, such as strata title, community title and companies and securities legislation.
As the applicable legislation is different in each State and Territory, it will be the subject of separate posts for each State and Territory.