Are you organising a residents' annual meeting in a retirement village - then you need to read this!

Rebecca Barr, Partner

Alf Macolino, Consultant

Helena Errey-White, Solicitor

Working your way through the various declarations issued by the Government about what you can and can't do in holding meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic is enough to put you off being a lawyer let alone a retirement village operator.

However, with little fanfare, the Government on 9 September 2021 introduced a new section 53 to the Acts Interpretation Act 1915. Under the heading: 'Certain meetings etc may occur remotely' this section says that:

If an Act requires that a meeting occur or that some other transaction take place that requires 2 or more persons to be physically present, the requirement will be taken to be satisfied if the persons meet, or the transaction takes place, remotely using one or both (including a combination) of audio-visual communication or audio communication.

What this means is that the annual meeting of residents under the Retirement Villages Act and indeed meetings with a residents' committee under that Act can now be conducted remotely using for example a zoom meeting or a telephone conference call.

There are some occasions where you still have to have face to face meetings. There is a list in regulation 4 of the Acts Interpretation (Audio-visual Meetings) Regulations 2021. Meetings under the Retirement Villages Act are not on that list.

Also if there is a requirement in an Act to be physically present to witness something like signing a document or an affidavit, then these rules do not apply. A simple example is a requirement under the Wills Act for a will to be witnessed by two witnesses who are present at the same time as the will maker signs the will.

...Retirement Village annual meetings can now be held remotely...

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Rebecca Barr

Rebecca Barr

Alf Macolino

Alf Macolino

Helena Errey-White

Helena Errey-White