Understanding your rights

The Act sets out the rights of retirement village residents and anyone considering moving into a retirement village :

  • before they move into a retirement village
  • while they live in a retirement villages, and
  • after they leave.

These rights make sure you:

  • understand your financial obligations and other obligations as residents of the retirement village, and
  • get what you’ve been promised, or are entitled to.

You’ll typically agree to pay a capital sum for the right to live in a unit in a registered retirement village. The agreement can take several forms, such as a license to occupy, freehold, leasehold, cross-lease or unit title.

A capital sum can also mean periodic payments if those payments are substantially more than rent for similar services or facilities.

If you’re considering moving into a retirement village you should seek independent legal advice and are strongly encouraged to seek financial advice to make sure you fully understand what you’re entering into.

See the Retirement Villages Act 2003(external link)

Occupation Right Agreement

When you move into a retirement village, you buy a right to occupy, or an Occupation Rights Agreement.

The agreement:

  • sets out the terms and conditions of the residency
  • is based on a capital investment, and
  • is a form of tenancy.

Before you sign an Occupation Rights Agreement, village operators must give you a copy of the retirement village's disclosure statement, Code of Residents' Rights, and Code of Practice.

Companies Office — Occupation Right Agreement(external link)

Code of Residents’ Rights

The Code of Residents' Rights outlines the basic rights the Act gives to residents of retirement villages.

Code of Residents' Rights(external link)

Other resources

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission has a range of resources to help you navigate life in a retirement village. Including information on:

  • how to set up a residents’ committee
  • what happens if a retirement village or unit is damaged
  • liquor licensing in a retirement village
  • broadband
  • complaints and disputes
  • COVID-19 guidelines
  • transferring to residential care
  • care pathways for retirement village residents
  • retirement village helpline.

See more on the Retirement Commission’s website(external link).

Retirement village operators’ obligations

Retirement village operators have legal obligations, that include:

  • registering their retirement village
  • following a code of practice
  • appointing a statutory supervisor.

See details about retirement village operators’ obligations.