Review of the Retirement Villages Act 2003: options for change

Age Concern New Zealand and our Member Organisations welcomed the opportunity to submit comments on the Review of the Retirement Villages Act 2003: options for change.

Age Concern New Zealand supports updating the legislation to protect the interests of current and future residents and to enable retirement villages to operate under a legal framework readily understandable to residents and operators.

We acknowledge the importance of retirement villages as a housing option for older New Zealanders, with just over 50,000 now living in retirement villages.

Our key recommendations:

Age Concern New Zealand and Member Organisations strongly recommend that the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development prioritises the following areas in any final decisions: 

  1. Plain language and accessible formatting should be used in all documentation, including disclosure statements, occupation right agreements, and code of resident’s rights.
  2. Ensure all key retirement village documents are available in multiple languages
  3. Clarify the differences between a retirement village and aged residential care, including the financial and other implications of transferring from an independent unit into residential care.
  4. Ensure culturally responsive services and models of care are provided.
  5. Require all retirement villages to stop weekly and other fixed fees when a unit is vacated.
  6. Require the timely repayment of the capital sum within three to six months when a unit is vacated. 
  7. Ensure that changes in the Act are applied to all existing occupation rights agreements within a specified timeframe.
  8. Enable a percentage of affordable rental units to be available for older adults who are unable to pay a capital sum.
  9. Ensure that retirement villages are required to meet the Healthy Homes standards.
  10. Establish a new simplified independent disputes scheme.