DISPUTES – Residents and Disputes

One of the main aims of the ARQRV is to support, and assist members when they have a problem or dispute with their village manager and/or Scheme Operator. The ARQRV cannot intervene in disputes between residents in a Retirement Village.

Too many Scheme Operators in this industry have placed too much faith in the legal profession in order to maximise their profits. The result has been unfair complex contracts which are so long that ordinary solicitors – sometimes with little knowledge of the Acts relating to Retirement Villages – will still charge thousands of dollars to check them over for future residents. If you know someone considering the move to a Retirement Village please advise them to seek help from the ARQRV before they sign anything. (See ‘Retirement Villages: some questions to ask before signing’ in this section).

Some Scheme Operators may procrastinate, and seek ways to circumvent decisions by the Courts and Tribunals that favour the residents. The Government and the Office of Fair Trading (now the Department of Housing and Public Works) frequently justify their actions on the premise that the viability of the industry is paramount. The Retirement Village Industry is now a multi-billion dollar one with multi-billion dollar multinational and national companies now in the industry.

 Poorly managed companies in this industry should not be encouraged by the former lax attitude of the Office of Fair Trading (now the Department of Housing and Public Works)  towards penalising Scheme Operators who do not operate their villages within the law. The fines are minor, but are still not enforced in a transparent manner. The public are beginning to perceive that some Scheme Operators see nothing immoral, unethical, unfair and dishonest in subjecting residents – in their sixties, seventies and eighties and older – to Elder Abuse, and making them possibly the oldest whistleblowers in Australia. Perhaps, the reducing value of their shares will see changes in this industry for the better. The ARQRV has been campaigning for years to have amendments to the Acts which will give residents a fairer deal.

The organisations that support Scheme Operators still do not recognize the negative and costly impact of all the Court and Tribunal cases on the public image of Scheme Operators. Their actions negate the advertising image of carefree holiday resorts.
Managers have to be better trained in their handling of problems with residents, and Scheme Operators have to be proactive, and not overly reliant on the use of legal services. Residents as part of the industry have to be respected as valuable consumers, and a wonderful resource for advertising the benefits of Retirement Village living.
Surely it’s not an impossible dream for the ARQRV one day to be able to compliment and support publicly the enlightened policies, contracts and management of one or more Scheme Operators in this state.
 Residents may not be aware when they become embroiled in a situation which quickly escalates into a dispute that the stresses and treatment they will feel and endure will be very similar to those that whistleblowers face. The whistleblower websites Whistleblowers and Sister etc are found by clicking on Links. These websites will illustrate this similarity succinctly with numerous examples.

The health effects for whistleblowers and residents risk is well documented. However, residents who belong to the ARQRV are NOT alone, because they have help and advice from the ARQRV Committee at all stages of a dispute including Mediation and the Tribunal. The ARQRV also has recourse to the services of a solicitor who specialises in the Acts governing Retirement Villages.

The Acts that govern Retirement Villages have sections dealing with the Resolution of Disputes. However, these sections lack credibility, because they ignore the fact that residents in many disputes are suffering Elder Abuse in the way village managers and Scheme Operators behave. More information on Elder Abuse can be found by clicking on Links, and then clicking on the links Elder Abuse….. . The ARQRV Newsletters can attest to the bullying, and intimidation of residents involved in disputes with their village manager and/or Scheme Operator.  Even the ARQRV Committee has been subjected to intimidation by solicitors acting on behalf of Scheme Operators for helping members involved in disputes.

Most reputable companies welcome feedback – positive or negative – from their customer. However, this is not the case with the Retirement Village Industry where most Scheme Operators object so strongly to negative feedback from residents that their typical response is one that falls into the category of ‘shoot the messenger’.

3 Replies to “DISPUTES – Residents and Disputes”

  1. That is good advice to give to potential residents. The big problem is we don’t know anything about the ARQRV until after we sign up to buy in many instances.
    I have no idea how to overcome that problem.

    1. Hi staer85
      The committee has discussed this on several occasions. Our current constitution limits membership to residents in retirement villages. Policy to date has been to restrict most information on the website to members only. The issue is not to turn people off retirement villages. It is good for all concerned that when a decision is made to move to a retirement village, the person / persons are fully informed.

      The policy for the website can be changed easily but if members consider this is what their membership fees are paid for, then it could be interpreted that information should not be made freely.

      The alternate proposal has been to do a constitutional change. The restriction of being a retirement village resident could be removed and a new class of membership implemented.

      The forum is open for discussion.

      Peter
      Web Manager ARQRV

    2. Good News – the ARQRV Web Site is now open and available to anyone. Members no longer need to log in. Now you can refer family and friends to the website for more information.

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