Retirement village disputes
Caxton Legal Centre's Queensland Retirement Village and Park Advice Service (QRVPAS) is a specialist service providing free information and legal help. It offers this service for residents and prospective residents of retirement villages and manufactured home parks.
Contact QRVPAS online or via 07 3214 6333.
There are more than 250 retirement villages throughout Queensland. To live in a registered retirement village, you must enter into a residence contract and pay a one-off contribution. In return, you have the right to live in a village unit and access one or more services for an ongoing charge.
Sometimes disagreements occur about the residence contract between residents and retirement village operators. To help resolve retirement village disputes, you can follow this three-step process.
Step 1 – internal negotiation
You are required to first try to resolve the dispute within the village. Write to the other party stating your dispute and nominate a date for a meeting. Give them at least 14 days notice. The other party must respond in writing within seven days of receiving the notice. Then on the nominated day, or another day within 7 days after the nominated day and agreed by the parties, you must meet to resolve the dispute.
You may also contact a Dispute Resolution Centre, which offers free confidential and impartial mediation services to assist in resolving your dispute.
Step 2 - mediation
If you cannot resolve your dispute through internal negotiation, you may apply to attend mediation at QCAT by completing Form 3 - Dispute notice for referral to mediation – Retirement Villages Act 1999 . An application fee is payable.
A mediator will be appointed within 14 days, and they will give you seven days notice of the meeting’s date, time and location. The mediation is private and no record is kept.
Solicitors may represent you and the other party unless the mediator is satisfied either party should not be represented. Other people may also join the mediation if the mediator believes they have relevant interest in resolving the dispute. However, these people do not become a party to the dispute. If you both reach an agreement, the mediator records the agreement, you both sign it, and the mediator gives a copy to QCAT.
Step 3 – hearing
If the dispute is not resolved at mediation you may apply to QCAT for a hearing to be held by completing Form 31 - Application for a tribunal hearing – Retirement Villages Act 1999 . An application fee is payable.
Exclusion from the three step process
In some circumstances, you can apply to QCAT for a hearing without going through steps 1 and 2.
These include when an operator:
- threatens to remove or actually removes a resident from the retirement village
- threatens to deprive or actually deprives a resident of the right to live in the village
- threatens to restrict or actually restricts a resident’s use of the retirement village land
- gives a resident false or misleading documents to the financial detriment of the resident
- fails to fulfil requirements regarding exit entitlements and unit resale, and you are materially prejudiced by the failure.