Retirement home residents wants clarity on who pays for capital maintenance

April 28, 2017

Residents of retirement villages have called for clarity on who pays for maintenance of air conditioning units, water heaters and other fixtures in their homes.

Allan Wright, chairman of the residents committee at the Bellerive Retirement Village in Lyons, said the current rules were interpreted differently in different retirement homes, leaving some residents having to pay big maintenance bills.

Allan Wright, chairman of the residents committee at Bellerive retirement village in the residents' library: Calling for changes to the rules on who pays for maintenance in retirement homes. Photo: Jamila Toderas

At Bellerive, the residents' maintenance fund was used for electric water heaters that had broken down. Twice, when the entire unit had to be replaced, the village owner paid. But on three occasions since he had been at Bellerive, the water heaters had been repaired at a cost of $1200, including a new component, and the residents had been asked to pay.

Residents were also paying for repainting the village, and had just entered one painting contract worth $5000.

The Bellerive retirement village, where residents want more clarity on who pays for capital maintenance. Photo: Jamila Toderas

"Don't get me wrong, the owners are very cooperative and we have a good relationship," Mr Wright said, but he believes in the water heater case, the owner should pay for the cost of new parts, as a capital cost. 

"The Act isn't clear, the ambiguity's there," he said.

Bellerive Hindmarsh Retirement, whose national retirement manager, Erik Boddeus, said the the case of water heaters, maintenance was to be paid by residents through recurrent charges, and replacement was paid by owners. But given the differences of opinion and the different approaches across different retirement villages, he also wanted the definitions clarified.




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