About the Act

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 (the Act) sets out obligations for retirement village operators and the rights of residents and anyone considering moving into a retirement village. 

See the Retirement Villages Act 2003(external link) 

Public consultation opens for the review of the Retirement Villages Act 2003

Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga - Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is seeking feedback from the retirement villages sector and the public on proposed changes to the Retirement Villages Act 2003, associated regulations, and codes.

We have produced The Retirement Villages Act 2003: options for change discussion paper outlining proposals related to the three main stages of retirement living – moving in, living in, and moving out.

The discussion paper also seeks information and feedback on other matters such as those related to the definition of retirement village, insurance, the operation of the Retirement Villages Register, and the Code of Practice.

Consultation closes on Monday 20 November 2023.

Key Proposals

The consultation invites feedback on a number of proposed changes, including:

  • replacing the disclosure statement with new plain language documents,
  • introducing a partially standardised occupation right agreement,
  • requiring operators to meet the direct costs of maintaining and repairing operator-owned chattels and fixtures,
  • replacing the current dispute resolution scheme with a new scheme that aligns with the best practice principles for dispute resolution,
  • requiring disclosure documents to include more comprehensive information on transferring within a village to aged residential care,
  • stopping fees after a unit is vacated, and
  • introducing a mandatory timeframe for repaying a resident’s capital when they move out, and/or requiring an operator to pay interest if the repayment is not made after a certain time.

Discussion Paper: The Retirement Villages Act 2003: options for change

The discussion paper is the next stage in a review of the Act which was announced in December 2022.

Read The Retirement Villages Act 2003: options for change discussion paper.

Read The Retirement Villages Act 2003: options for change summary paper.

These documents can also be found on our consultation website. 

Cost Benefit Analysis

An independent cost benefit analysis was completed to understand the potential impacts of proposals related to the dispute resolution scheme and financial exit matters.

Read the cost benefit analysis report.

Read the cost benefit analysis report (large text version).

Make a submission

There are different ways to provide feedback on the review.

  • Email: RVAreview@hud.govt.nz
  • Post: Retirement Villages Act Review, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, PO Box 82, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
  • Online submission: use our online survey which is available on the consultation webpage.
  • Downloadable survey: if you do not wish to use our online survey tool, these downloadable documents have the same information and questions as the online survey. You can complete this survey electronically by clicking into the text fields and typing your answers, saving the document and emailing it to us. Or you can print it off, handwrite your answers, and either post the survey to us, or scan it and email it to us. 

Download the survey here

Download a more compact version of the survey, better suited to printing, here (If you wish to provide a longer written response to a question, please do this on a separate piece of paper, and send it back to us along with this form)

Go to the consultation website for more information about online submissions.

Protecting residents' rights

The Act provides rights for residents:  

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

These rights ensure they: 

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

Residents 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. 

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


Operators’ obligations 

Registering a retirement village 

A retirement village must be registered on the Retirement Villages Register. To register, an operator must complete an application for registration, provide any requested supporting documents and pay a registration fee. To stay registered, village operates must file an annual return.  

Registering a retirement village | Companies Office(external link) 

Code of Practice 2008 

The Code of Practice 2008 sets out the minimum requirements for retirement village operators to meet their legal obligations, including: 

  • staffing of retirement villages 
  • safety and personal security of residents 
  • transfer of residents within a retirement village, e.g. from independent units to serviced care or care facilities 
  • the complaints process  
  • maintenance and upgrades 
  • termination of an occupation right agreement by the operator or resident 
  • communication with residents.  

Provisions in the Code of Practice override any less-favourable terms in an occupation right agreement. Village operators must give a copy of the Code of Practice to any resident or prospective resident who asks for one.  

Code of Practice 2008 

Statutory supervisor 

Retirement village operators must appoint a statutory supervisor, unless the Registrar of Retirement Villages grants them an exemption. 

The statutory supervisor helps protect the interests of retirement village residents. 

Companies Office — Appointing a statutory supervisor(external link) 

 Retirement Commissioner 

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission, led by current Mana Ahungarua Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson, monitors: 

  • the effects of the legislation and Code of Practice, and 
  • the establishment and oversight of the disputes panel system. 

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission is also responsible for promoting education, information and publications about retirement villages. 

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission(external link)