Retirement village disputes

A three-step process for managing retirement village disputes.

Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 amends the Retirement Villages Act 1999 to create a power or a regulation to name specific resident-operated retirement villages as exempt from the mandatory buyback requirements in the Act.

At the date an exemption is granted to a village, any buyback contracts that have not been completed are ended, and if the scheme operator has paid an amount towards the purchase of the former resident’s property, the scheme operator may give the seller a notice requiring repayment.

Where completion of the buyback contract was required to occur before the exemption was granted, the exemption does not prevent a former resident from seeking compensation from the scheme operator for the noncompletion of the contract.

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 (PDF, 487.7 KB). 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 (PDF, 505.7 KB). 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.