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What is a Retirement Village?

Retirement villages are an increasingly popular choice for older New Zealanders who want to live independently among a like-minded community of people. But what exactly is a retirement village, and what should you expect if you decide to move into one?

Under Section 6 of the Retirement Villages Act 2003, a retirement village is defined as any place that:

  • has multiple units.
  • provides accommodation and services or facilities.
  • is mainly for people in their retirement, including their spouses or partners. Entry ages differ between villages.
  • requires residents to pay a capital sum in return for their right to live in the place.

Regardless of what a retirement village is called, if it meets this definition, the operator is required by law to ensure the village is registered on the Retirement Villages Register. This is designed to protect residents by ensuring that the village complies with the relevant laws and regulations.

One of the key features of a retirement village is that residents pay a capital sum to live there. This could be a lump sum or periodic payments, but it must be substantially more than what would be paid to cover rent and services or facilities for the relevant period. In return for this capital sum, residents are entitled to live in one of the units within the village and to access the services and facilities provided; these services and facilities will differ from village to village.

While it’s important to note that there is a distinct difference between a retirement village and a rest home, many villages in New Zealand offer care facilities on-site, and other options such as a care apartment (or care suite).

If you're considering moving into a retirement village, it's important to do your research and make sure you understand exactly what you're getting into. Take the time to visit different villages and talk to current residents to get a sense of what life is really like there. You should also carefully review the terms and conditions of any contract before signing, to ensure that you understand your rights and obligations.

Updated: 29 Mar 2023
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