Consumer protection

Retirement villages are regulated by the Retirement Villages Act 2003, a Code of Practice and a Code of Residents’ Rights. The legislation is focused on providing comprehensive consumer protection for the residents and intending residents of retirement villages.

Retirement villages, as defined in the Act, must be registered under the Retirement Villages Act 2003 with the Registrar of Retirement Villages, which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Once a village is registered, a memorial is place on the village’s title which protects the residents’ rights to live in their units and enjoy the village’s amenities over any creditor’s rights to the village.

Registered villages are also generally required to have a Statutory Supervisor. The Statutory Supervisor is independent from the village manager and must monitor the financial position of the village. The Statutory Supervisor must also report annually to the residents. It is possible for villages to be granted an exemption from appointing a Statutory Supervisor.

Villages must provide intending residents with a Disclosure Statement. This is the document that provides the information about the ownership, management and supervision of the village. It includes information about the occupancy tenure, the state of the village, the services and facilities offered and the arrangements for maintenance and refurbishment. The costs of entering, living in, and what you can expect to get back after you leave should be explained in the Disclosure Statement.

Villages may provide a number of recreational, service and social facilities. Each village is unique and a full list of community facilities should also be provided in the village’s Disclosure Statement.

Once you’ve chosen your village, you must sign an Occupation Right Agreement (ORA). This is the legally binding agreement between the resident and the village operator. The ORA sets out the terms and conditions of your right to live in the village. It will vary from village to village so it’s important that you understand the differences.

The Act requires you to take legal advice and the solicitor giving that advice must confirm they have done so.

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