When you move into a retirement village, your interests as a resident may be represented to the village operator by a Residents Committee.

This committee will consist of a group of residents who you and your fellow residents elect to make your voices heard to the operator and carry out certain other functions. Depending on the state or territory you live in, these can include:

  • Calling resident meetings to discuss matters that need your consent, or to discuss how the village is being managed and operated;
  • Reporting your decisions to the operator;
  • Applying to your state Civil and Administrative Tribunal on behalf of residents;
  • Asking the operator for information on changes to recurring charges;
  • Receiving financial accounts from the operator;
  • Proposing changes to village rules, facilities, or services;
  • Being a point of contact for new residents;
  • Receiving the annual safety inspection report; and
  • Proposing that annual account surpluses or excess capital works funds be distributed among the residents.

Note that, if an issue requires residents’ consent, the Residents Committee CANNOT make decisions on your behalf.

How can I found or join a Residents Committee?

Image: Amy Hirschi/Unsplash

To establish a Residents Committee in your village, a general meeting must be held, to which all residents are invited; at this meeting, more than 50% of residents need to approve the Committee.

From there, you can decide how many members it should have and how often it should meet, then nominate and elect members.

Anyone can stand for election on a Residents Committee, and there’s no limit on how large it should be – though it should at least have a chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer. It’s also important to have a returning officer: someone who isn’t a member of the committee or standing for election to the committee, who works with the operator to prepare for meetings and is responsible for running elections and counting the votes.

Remember that the village operator should provide your committee with administrative assistance, can’t obstruct it from carrying out its functions, and should meet with the committee or a representative on request; the operator can also request meetings with the committee.

If you want to make sure your voice is heard in your retirement village, then standing for the Residents Committee – or starting one, if there isn’t one already – is a great way to do it.