Residents can participate in village decision making in several ways:
- the residents' committee
- residents´ meetings
- special resolutions.
The residents' committee works with the operator in the day-to-day running of the village and common matters. The committee can forward residents´ complaints and proposals to the operator if the committee cannot resolve them.
Residents elect the committee. A committee member holds office for only one year, but can be re-elected.
Residents can remove a member by passing a special resolution.
The residents' committee determines its own procedures and can form subcommittees. If a majority of residents vote on it, the committee can adopt a constitution and, from then on, must conform with the constitution.
The committee must take full and accurate minutes of each meeting, which include:
- the meeting´s date, time and place
- each attendees name and, if relevant, the capacity in which they attend
- the meeting´s issues and how they were decided or dealt with
- any tabled correspondence, reports, notices or other documents.
The committee presents the minutes at the following meeting, and, if confirmed, a member signs the minutes as accurate. Then, if they request, the committee gives residents access to or a copy of the minutes.
The committee must keep the meeting minutes for the retirement village.
Operators can attend or address residents' committee meetings only when invited.
If an operator attends a meeting, they must leave it after they have addressed the members, unless they are invite to stay.
The committee might invite them to attend a meeting, before the start of the financial year, to discuss the draft budget for the:
- capital replacement fund
- maintenance reserve fund
- general services charges.
If the committee gives an operator the required 28 days notice of the meeting, they must attend.
Each year the operator must call an annual meeting of all residents to present annual financial statements. The operator should give each resident at least 21 days written notice.
The operator, or the residents' committee, can call a residents´ meeting with 14 days notice. In extraordinary or urgent circumstances, as little as two days written notice may be acceptable.
The operator can attend and address a residents´ meeting if:
- they called the meeting
- the residents' committee has called the meeting of residents to vote on a special resolution
- the residents' committee has invited the operator.
During the vote on a special resolution, the operator must leave the meeting after they have addressed it and after the vote, unless residents invite them to stay.
Only one resident from each unit is allowed to vote at residents´ meetings, unless the residents agree by special resolution that each resident is allowed to vote.
The "one vote per unit" rule protects the rights of single occupants, and aligns with the per unit way fees and charges are levied.
Former residents may vote while they are still paying general services charges until they sell their unit.
A resident may cast their vote:
- through a person they appoint by power of attorney
- through another person they appoint by signed notice to proxy vote (the scheme operator cannot be appointed as proxy)
- by postal vote, placing a written vote in a container in the village´s common area. (The operator must provide a secure, locked container 24 hours before the meeting. They must not open it and must deliver it to the chairperson immediately before the meeting starts.)
The Retirement Villages Act 1999 does not require residents to take or keep minutes of residents´ meetings. However, residents should consider adopting the Act´s requirements for residents' committee meetings, as outlined above.
If the operator agrees, residents may make, change or revoke retirement village by-laws (other than by-laws for a community title scheme) by special resolution at a residents´ meeting.
Residents can make a by-law about the non-exclusive use and enjoyment of the village.
If a by-law and a residence contract are inconsistent, the residence contract applies.
The operator must comply with the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 to make, change or revoke any by-law for a community titles scheme.