Rights and obligations of retirement village residents and operators

Retirement villages in New Zealand operate under the Retirement Villages Act 2003 (the Act). The Act is intended to strengthen consumer protection for residents and intending residents by providing a regime to control and monitor retirement village operators.

The Act also provides rights for people who live in, or are considering entering, registered villages.

Within the Retirement villages section on our website, you will find links to the Act and other supporting regulations. Please take the time to view this material and to inform yourself about your rights and obligations. 

Code of Practice 2008

The Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008 is issued by the Minister for Building and Housing. It sets out the minimum requirements that operators must meet, or ensure are met, to fulfil their legal obligations under the Act. These include the minimum requirements for the occupation right agreement (contract) signed between the operator and the intending resident. The Code of Practice took effect on 2 October 2009.

Read more about the Code of Practice 2008.

General comments on retirement villages

In summary, a retirement village contains two or more residential units to provide residential accommodation and/or services or facilities predominantly for people who are retired – and those people agree to pay a capital sum to live there. Note that a ‘capital sum’ can also mean periodical payments, if the payments are substantially more than would be paid to cover rent for such services or facilities.

Residents ‘purchase’ a right to occupy, or an occupation right agreement. The purchase is based on a capital investment and is a form of tenancy.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is responsible for the Retirement Villages Act 2003, since 1 July 2005.

Commission for Financial Capability monitors the effects of the legislation and Code of Practice and the establishment and oversight of the disputes panel system. From 1 April 2015, the Commission is responsible for the promotion of education and publication of information about retirement villages

The Registrar for Retirement Villages is located in the Companies Office in MBIE and the Registrar of Retirement Villages is responsible for registration-related matters.

[icon] FAQ. Any questions?

If you have any questions about retirement villages please contact the Commission for Financial Capability.