Behavioural standards under the Retirement Villages Act 1999
This article explains behavioural standards, and remedies for breaches of the standards, for residents and their guests, and for retirement village operators, provided by the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (the RV Act).
In this fact sheet –
Resident – includes also, a former resident but only where it is relevant in the context.
Scheme operator – includes also, the village manager, all village staff or a representative of the scheme operator.
Standards for scheme operators
In general terms, the scheme operator must respect the rights of residents.
The RV Act includes details of, but does not limit, specific behavioural standards for scheme operators.
The scheme operator must –
- not unreasonably interfere with or allow interference with, the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of a resident
- take reasonable steps to ensure a resident or a resident’s guest does not interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of another resident
- use their best endeavours to ensure that each resident lives in an environment free from harassment and intimidation
- respect a resident’s autonomy and self-reliance over their own personal, domestic and financial or other affairs, or possessions.
The RV Act makes it clear that the scheme operator or another person may, in the following circumstances, enter a resident’s unit–
- where the scheme operator reasonably believes the health or safety of a person in the unit is at risk
- to carry out urgent repairs
- in an emergency
- where entry is authorised under a law.
Standard for reply to a resident’s correspondence
The RV Act provides that within 21 days, after receiving relevant correspondence from a resident or their representative, the scheme operator must provide a complete response to the correspondence.
The following definitions apply to the standard stated in the paragraph above –
Complete response means a written response addressing each complaint, proposal and question in the relevant correspondence.
Relevant correspondence means a written complaint, proposal or question about the operation of the retirement village.
Representative means an entity—
- established to represent the interests of the resident; or residents generally; and
- that is authorised by the resident or former resident to give relevant correspondence to the scheme operator.
Notes about the meaning of representative
Until clarification by a relevant authority, at least each of the following are considered by ARQRV to be a ‘representative’ –
- an attorney under a power of attorney which provides appropriate authority
- the executor of the estate of a deceased resident.
Further, it is considered that a residents committee is not a representative for the purpose of ss 135(2)(f) and (4) and thus do not have the right to be given a response witin the timeframe, for the following reasons –
- a ‘representative’ by definition has delegated authority to ‘make decisions and act on behalf of another or others’ – it is well understood that a residents committee is not empowered, to make a decision for a resident or residents generally, for any matter
- residents committees, since 1999, have had defined statutory functions to deal with the scheme operator on behalf of residents about day to day and budgetary matters, and without first requiring written authority.
A relative or friend, on behalf of a resident, who gives correspondence to a scheme operator, is not afforded the right of a representative (to be given a response within 21 days) as they are not an entity established for the purpose stated above.
Notwithstanding the above, there is nothing to prevent a residents committee or another person assisting a resident by drafting a letter and having the resident personally sign the letter to gain the right of a complete reposnse within 21 days.
Standards for residents and their guest
In general terms, residents and their guests must respect the rights of others resident and the rights of other persons in the retirement village.
The RV Act includes details of, but does not limit, specific behavioural standards for residents.
The resident must –
- not unreasonably interfere with, or unreasonably cause or permit interference with the peace, comfort or privacy of another resident
- The above means that each resident is responsible for their guests, in addition to themselves, respecting the rights of other residents.
- respect the right of the scheme operator, and their representatives, to work in an environment free from harassment and intimidation
Representative, of a scheme operator, in this standard means an executive officer, employee or an agent.
not act in a way that adversely affects the occupational health and safety of any person who is working in a retirement village.
Remedies for breach of standards
The RV Act makes it clear that a dispute about a person’s rights and obligations provided in Part 8 of the RV Act, is a retirement village dispute. As such the remedies of Part 9 – Dispute resolution may be relied upon including apply to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order.
However, it is recommended that residents, in dispute with other residents may, in the first instance seek free legal advice from Qld. Neighbourhood Disputes