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A new guide released today by the Property Council of Australia aims to help older Australians navigate downsizing choices by making retirement village contracts easier to understand.
The National Guide to Creating Simple and Effective Retirement Living Contracts has been developed to help village operators create clear contracts in plain English, and reduce the confusion experienced by some senior Australians contemplating the move to a retirement community.
Glenn Byres, Chief of Policy and Housing at the Property Council, says the Guide takes a strong leadership position on contracts – in particular, that all residence contracts should be clear, well-structured and transparent about the issues that matter most to residents.
“Operators have heard and acted on feedback from residents about the length of some contracts and confusing language and layout, which can make moving to a village a harder decision than it should be,” Mr Byres says.
“The industry wants to make it as easy as possible for people to make informed choices.”
Produced in conjunction with sector specialists Russell Kennedy Lawyers, who have also authored a widely used standard contract for residential aged care, the Guide will help demystify the sector and improve understanding of common financial terms in village contracts.
“This Guide provides practical suggestions to operators about important terms to include in loan-lease contracts, and a practical structure that breaks down responsibilities into three stages – moving in, living in and moving out of a village,” Mr Byres said.
“Moving to a retirement community is a big life choice for senior Australians, and it should be as straightforward and stress-free as possible.”
Stephen Bull, CEO Retirement Living at Stockland, one of Australia’s largest retirement village operators, says he is supportive of moves to make contracts easier to understand for all residents.
“Since implementing changes to all new contracts, including the use of plain-English language, we’ve seen first-hand how much this helps residents to feel more informed to make decisions about their future,” Mr Bull says.
“This Guide will go a long way toward making a move into a village an easier step for all senior Australians and we encourage all operators to take them on board.”