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what's new

21 March 2014: The latest edition of the Villager is now available »

essential resources

Retirement Villages.  Read the Thinking of living in a retirement village? brochure »

order a copy

You can order a free hard copy by completing our online form »

Tips on choosing a retirement village »

An operator's guide to retirement villages » 

further information

for implementation of the Retirement Villages Act call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 83 62 62

for registration requirements call the Register of Retirement Villageson 0800 268 269

for information about the disputes process call the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income on 04 499 7396

on choosing a retirement village visit the Sorted website www.sorted.org.nz

for accommodation supplements call Work and Income New Zealand on 0800 599 009

The Ministry of Social Development offers a number of services for older people. For more information visit MSD's website or phone 0800 552 002.

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Retirement villages

On this page:

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.

On this 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. If you have any questions, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and other relevant agency contact details are provided on this page.

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Code of Practice 2008

The Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008 is issued by the Minister for Building and Construction. 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.

Variations to the Code of Practice issued October 2013

The Code of Practice 2008 has been updated to include three variations approved by the Minister for Building and Construction.

The Variations have been issued following the Canterbury earthquake experience where five retirement villages sustained damage. The earthquake experience caused some retirement village stakeholders to question the adequacy of aspects of the Code of Practice. The issues relate primarily to uncertainties in the no-fault termination process for occupation right agreements, and the adequacy of the payout received by residents in a no-fault exit situation when their unit will not be rebuilt.

The new variations to the Code of Practice have made it clearer and give greater certainty to both retirement village residents and operators.

The changes take into account input from the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, the Retirement Villages Association, the Association of Residents and Retirement Villages (Auckland), as well as retirement village operators and residents.

The revised code with variations came into effect on 14 October 2013. Retirement village operators and residents should now be using the revised code.

Full revised Code of Practice 2008 »

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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.

MBIE (formerly the Department of Building) is responsible for the Retirement Villages Act 2003, since 1 July 2005. MBIE's responsibilities include the promotion of education and publication of information about retirement villages. These functions were previously undertaken by the Retirement Commissioner. MBIE agreed with the Commissioner to undertake these functions in August 2007.

Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement IncomeExternal link
Role is to monitor the effects of the legislation and Code of Practice and the establishment and oversight of the disputes panel system.

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

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