Industry peak bodies are seeking feedback on the draft version of new national voluntary standards for operators of retirement living communities.
The Retirement Living Code of Conduct seeks to establish an accepted national standard for retirement community operators in the context of diverse Commonwealth, state and territory legislation and regulations and assist them to provide high-quality services to residents.
It is an initiative of retirement living peak the Property Council of Australia and aged care peaks Leading Age Services Australia and Aged and Community Services Australia and was developed in consultation with other stakeholders including government and consumer peak the Australian Retirement Village Residents Association.
The industry, which includes around 3,000 retirement communities providing accommodation and services to almost 300,000 seniors, came under the spotlight last year after media reports featuring current and former residents who said they were negatively impacted by complex contracts and confusing marketing (read our report here).
Property council executive director of retirement living Ben Myers said the new code covered all aspects of a resident’s experiences in a retirement community from signing the contract and moving in until the unit or apartment is re-sold.
He said they have released the draft for consultation to ensure the code is suitable to providers in the sector ahead of its implementation.
“Before we implement the code, we wanted to ensure everyone had a chance to see the standards the industry is setting and provide feedback to us, so we can ensure it is as strong a document as possible,” Mr Myers said.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said providers that sign up to the code are showing retirement community residents their commitment to comply with the new standards.
“Once the code is finalised, our three organisations will promote it to the more than 3,000 retirement communities across the country and be strongly encouraging them to sign up and commit to the standards to demonstrate their commitment to their residents,” Mr Rooney said.
He said the code aimed to help providers maintain high standards in marketing, selling and the operation of retirement communities including in the areas of complaints and dispute management.
ACSA chief executive Pat Sparrow said the code would help build trust between providers and residents of retirement communities.
“A set of standards agreed upon by providers and consumers alike is an important resource and will be key to building and maintaining the trust and transparency that we in the industry and the community rely on,” Ms Sparrow said.
Consultation of the draft standards closes on 20 July. The final code is expected to be released later this year.
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