A new code of conduct has been outlined for retirement villages in NSW.

The proposed reforms stem from a review into the retirement village sector led by Kathryn Greiner.

The Greiner Review was launched after media reports found retirement village company Aveo was charging exorbitant fees on complex contracts, described by some residents as “financial abuse of the elderly”.

The review came up with 17 recommendations, and the NSW Government says it will accept the majority of them.

The recommendations included:

  • Improving up-front disclosure provided to prospective residents, making it simpler to understand the critical terms and conditions
  • A legally-binding exit fees and charges statement is provided early in the process
  • A requirement for operators to provide residents with an opportunity for a regular contract check-up during their occupancy
  • A requirement for an operator to buy back the unit after a maximum timeframe from a resident leaving the village that is a registered interest holder
  • Simplifying the funding arrangements for maintenance
  • Fairer dispute resolution processes
  • Increasing Fair Trading's oversight of retirement villages through targeted compliance activities that focus on retirement villages
  • The introduction of a code of conduct

The Government has not specified which recommendations it has “accepted in principle”, and which ones will be taken on unconditionally.

NSW Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said there will be a “crackdown” on “unscrupulous exit fees”.

“The review is all about putting power back in the hands of retirement village residents and their families,” he said.

Retirement Villages Residents Association (RVRA) president Tom Gate said it as a “good start”.

Mr Gate said the association was “disappointed” that a retirement village ombudsman was not one of the recommendations.