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Resolving Disputes

The operator of a retirement village must have a written dispute resolution policy, which must comply with any requirements prescribed by the Retirement Villages Regulations 2017 (SA) [Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA) s 45 and reg 18].

A copy of the policy must be provided to residents within 5 business days of request.

If, after reasonable attempts to resolve the dispute by following the dispute resolution policy, the dispute continues, a party to the dispute may apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for resolution of the matters in dispute [s 46].

Legal advice should be sought before making an application to SACAT.

An application must not be made to SACAT concerning an act or omission that occurred more than 4 years beforehand, except with the permission of SACAT [s 46(2)(b)]. In these cases, permission should be sought in the first instance.

SACAT can make a range of orders, including orders [s 46(3)]:

  • to restrain a breach of the contract or the Act

  • to require action in the performance of the contract or compliance with the Act

  • to pay compensation for loss or injury, other than personal injury, caused by a breach of the contract or the Act

  • to require the operator to vary or reverse its decision

  • to avoid or modify terms or conditions of an agreement between the operator and resident

  • to require the operator to repay to the resident any amount paid by the resident, and

  • to determine the amount payable as an exit entitlement

SACAT may suggest mediation, particularly if it has not yet been attempted, but may only refer a matter for mediation with the express consent of the parties [s 46(4)].

A dispute as to an exit entitlement may alternatively be brought before a court with jurisdiction to hear and determine a claim founded on contract for the amount in dispute [s 46(9)]. Depending on the amount sought, this would likely be the Magistrates Court or District Court.

Resolving Disputes  :  Last Revised: Thu Dec 21st 2017
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