Disputes are probably the least likely thing on your mind when you decide to move into a retirement village to enjoy the lifestyle it offers.
However, retirement villages are similar to any other community; with individuals from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, job experiences, religions and political beliefs all living closer together compared to people living in the suburbs.
With every village having its own complex mixture of individuals, and each person with their own opinions, ideas and beliefs it’s not surprising that disputes arise.
In villages disputes can be placed into three groups.
- Disputes with other residents in the village.
- Disputes involving the village manager, village staff and/or the scheme operator.
- Disputes with the Residents Committee and/or the Body Corporate Committee (this committee is found only in freehold villages).
Disputes or conflicts between residents may be resolved applying the following tips (from the government website) :-
- Choose an appropriate time.
- Discuss the issue.
- Give the other person a chance to explain.
- Listen to the other person.
- Work together to find a solution.
- Meet again in the future.
- Seek mediation help if necessary.
Problems with pets, loud music/TV, feeding wild birds etc. are usually better handled personally one to one rather than involving the village manager or the Residents Committee. The tips outlined above should prove helpful in these situations.
NOTE: The ARQRV cannot intervene in disputes between residents in a retirement village.
Disputes in this group come under the Dispute Resolution part of the RVAct. The Act stipulates that the resident must try to resolve the matter with the village manager face to face. If the dispute is still not resolved then the resident has to outline the dispute in a letter to the village manager, and nominate a date for a meeting.. The manager has to reply in writing regarding this meeting (see s154 RVAct).
If the meeting is unsuccessful the resident may apply to QCAT for a mediation meeting.
Application can be made to the tribunal for a further hearing if mediation was unsuccessful.
NOTE: See the main heading ‘FAQs’ for more information regarding QCAT.
Issues include budgets, by-laws, maintenance, pets, management complaints, use of village facilities, use and enjoyment of village, refurbishment of communal areas, quality of services, contractual issues, and condition of village grounds which can lead to disputes.
Disputes with the Residents Committee may involve the village manager and/or the scheme operator if the committee’s actions breach the Act.
In a freehold village disputes with the Body Corporate Committee may be settled by an exchange of letters or by attending the Body Corporate Committee Meeting to try to resolve the dispute.
Under the BC & CMA residents can take their dispute to the Commission for mediation, if the above efforts are unsuccessful.
Problems such as budgets, noise from units, car parking, overhanging trees, construction noise, breaches of by-laws, enforcing by-laws not previously enforced, changes affecting a minority of residents, and the timing when repairs have to be made source many disputes.
With groups 2 and 3 there is always some tension for residents as they adjust to the balance between their individual autonomy and liberty, and the rights of the community to ensure efficient operations within the village.