Unresolved complaints and disputes in a retirement village

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An unresolved complaint or dispute can be referred to an external agency for resolution. For advice on all disputes, contact us (although we cannot mediate disputes between residents). 

If the dispute is contractual, we may attempt to conciliate between residents and the manager. 

Retirement village contracts must not include terms that allow management complaints or resident disputes to be dealt with by arbitration. Arbitration is the process that enables a private third party to make a legally binding decision about how the complaint or dispute is resolved. If a contract contains such a term, it is void (treated as if it never existed). 

Conciliation by Consumer Affairs Victoria

Our conciliation process involves helping the parties resolve the dispute by: 

  • facilitating the exchange of information 
  • identifying and clarifying the issues in dispute 
  • helping the parties identify and explore options for resolution, and  
  • facilitating discussions to resolve the dispute. 

We are an independent third party and our conciliators use their knowledge of the law to assist in the resolution of disputes. Conciliation is usually by telephone, but a conciliator may suggest a face-to-face conciliation in certain circumstances.

We will give consideration to the complexity of the complaint, the number of issues/parties and whether a face–to-face conciliation would help with a speedier resolution. We may hold face-to-face conciliations on site or at our Melbourne or regional offices.

If the parties cannot agree, we cannot make either party provide the outcome desired by the other and we cannot make a binding decision. 

Parties can take the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a decision that is binding on both parties.

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