Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Votings Rights of Single Retirement Village Residents Trampled.

Retirement Village advocate Les Scobie has written to the relevant minister over concerns the voting rights of single Retirement Village residents are being trampled.

"The Hon. Marlene Kairouz,
Minister for Consumer Affairs,
Level 16, 121 Exhibition Street,
Melbourne. Vic. 3000.

Dear Minister,

Re:- Need for amendment to Section 38(4) of the Retirement Villages Act 1986.

In the Act under Section 3 Definitions the voting rights of couples (not co-tenants) at an annual meeting are defined as having only one vote.

RETIREMENT VILLAGES ACT 1986 - SECT 3
Definitions
(2) If—
(a) under Part 6 a resident may vote at an annual meeting; and
(b) that resident and another resident or other residents are jointly entitled (whether as joint tenants or tenants in common) to share accommodation at a retirement village—
the right to vote conferred by that Part may be exercised by one only of those residents and, if those residents disagree as to which of them is to exercise the right to vote, the resident whose name appears first on the residence contract conferring the joint residence right may exercise the right to vote.


This provides protection for single retirement village residents in that their voting power on important matters is no less than a couple.


However when it comes to an increase in village fees beyond an increase in the rise of the Consumer Price Index, Section 38.4 of the Act allows a vote of couples to be double the voting power of a single resident.


RETIREMENT VILLAGES ACT 1986 - SECT 38 Increases in maintenance charges
  1. Subsection (2) does not apply if the payment of a maintenance charge that is greater than the adjusted maintenance charge has been approved by resolution of a majority of the residents at a meeting of the residents or is approved by resolution of the residents committee.
Section 38.4 either by design or default is allowing village operators to work around a protection afforded single residents by Part 2 of Section 3 of the Act the Definitions. The lived experience being operators present to the body of village residents Section 38.4 alone without Section 3. The words 'residents' and 'meeting' in their stand alone literal meaning can easily be interpreted as removing any voting power protection for single residents. The legislation may in fact be designed to produce this result but if so it contains a gross unfairness for single retirement village residents.



In the interest of improved financial protections for single retirement village residents consideration should be given to amending Section 38.4 to read -
  1. Subsection (2) does not apply if the payment of a maintenance charge that is greater than the adjusted maintenance charge has been approved by resolution of a majority of the residences voting at an annual general meeting of the residents or is approved by resolution of the residents committee.
It may be argued that the voting power of single residents are still protected by the definitions in Section 3 of the Act despite the wording of Section 38.4, that the use of the words 'residents' and 'meeting' in Section 38.4 are just a general reference. Clarity in the law however is just as desirable as clarity in any contract.
Please give serious consideration to amending Section 38.4 by the removal of the words 'residents' and 'meeting' to be replaced by the phrase 'residences voting at an annual general meeting'. Single retirement village residents should have identical voting power to couples particularly on matters that can have a negative financial impact upon them.


Thank you,

Les Scobie,"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Function of Government

The role of government is to create an environment for commerce to function whilst at the same time protecting retirees and particularly vulnerable retirees from both financial and emotional harm emanating from that function.

The Victorian Retirement Villages Act 1986 provides the environment for commerce to function but fails to fully protect retirees from financial and emotional harm as a result of it.

The Victorian legislative definition of a retirement village in demanding the payment of an 'in-going' amount without the transfer of property ownership is a major contributor to that financial and emotional harm suffered by retirees.


retvill.net

Popular Posts