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Retirement villages 

Moving into a retirement village is an important financial decision and lifestyle choice. Benefits can include a home that is easily maintained, in a private and secure environment with people of a similar age.

Many villages offer social activities and lifestyle amenities. Prospective residents should explore different villages and learn about the costs involved. They should consider obtaining legal advice before they sign a contract.

Retirement village residents are not automatically entitled to aged care services, even if these are on site.

This section contains information about moving into, living in and leaving a retirement village. Retirement village operators should also refer to important registration requirements below.  

What is a retirement village? 

A retirement village is a residential complex mainly occupied by retirees aged over 55 years. Residents sign a contract with the operator of the village for services and/or accommodation.

Retirement villages are of various types and sizes, with different facilities, costs and legal arrangements. Villages may offer long or shorter term leases, strata ownership, or loan-licence arrangements (which gives the resident the 'licence' to occupy the unit after they pay an ingoing contribution to the village).

There are usually fees to enter, live in and leave a village and rules to follow while you live there. Some villages are run by commercial operators. Others are run by community organisations such as churches and charities. Carefully consider which is the right type of village for you before signing a contract.

Some villages offer serviced apartments, living assistance or aged care services on site, such as nursing homes or hostels. However, a retirement village is not aged care. The eligibility to transfer into aged care is based on an assessment under Commonwealth law. There is no automatic right to transfer simply because you are a resident of the retirement village.

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Retirement village laws 

NSW Fair Trading administers the laws that set out the rights and obligations of retirement villages residents and village operators. The laws are the:

These laws:

  • set out key rights and obligations for residents and operators
  • ensure prospective residents are given important information before they sign a contract
  • require village contracts to be in a standard form
  • provide a system for resolving disputes.

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Retirement Villages Regulation 2017 

What's changed?  

The Retirement Villages Regulation 2017 (the Regulation) replaces the Retirement Villages Regulation 2009 (which automatically repealed on 1 September 2017 under the Subordinate Legislation Act 1989.)

The key changes are as follows:

  • requiring copies of a village's insurance policy documents be available to residents
  • a new 'average resident comparison figure' in the Disclosure Statement to facilitate more effective comparison between villages
  • reducing the maximum amount payable for an operator’s legal and other expenses to $50
  • adding new matters for which village rules can be created, including smoking in communal areas
  • requiring clearer information in annual budgets around head office expenses
  • lowering the maximum amount allocated for contingencies to $1
  • prohibiting additional matters that cannot be financed by recurrent charges
  • simplifying the process for allowing residents to hold office on a residents committee for longer than three years
  • allowing service of documents by electronic means.

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Improved retirement village living in NSW 

Retirement village laws in NSW protect more than 55,000 residents across 640 registered retirement villages.

On 30 July 2017, the NSW Government announced a four-point plan for retirement villages in NSW which includes:

  1. revising the Retirement Villages Regulation 2009, including changes that will require greater transparency around fees and charges in contracts
  2. introducing an online calculator helping prospective residents, and their families, better understand the estimated costs of living in a retirement village
  3. undertaking compliance and education operations targeting NSW retirement villages
  4. launching an inquiry into the NSW retirement village sector.

Read the media release about the four-point plan from the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation.

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Where to get more information 

Residents can find more information on our website about:

If you have any questions about the rights of prospective residents, residents or operators under the Act contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

If you are thinking about moving into a retirement village, use the NSW Fair Trading Retirement Village Calculator to help you understand the financial costs when you move in, live in and leave a village. Visit the Retirement Village Calculator for more information.

Listen to information about your home and moving into a retirement village

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Register of retirement villages 

All retirement villages in NSW must register that the land is being used as a retirement village. Failing to do so may result in penalties. New villages must be registered before the operator enters into any village contracts with residents.

Village operators must complete Request form 11RN (Request to enter notification pursuant to Section 24A Retirement Villages Act 1999) available from the Land title dealing forms page of the Land and Property Information (LPI) website. On the form, the operator needs to identify the land (or the relevant part of the land) being used as a retirement village and the name of the retirement village. Registration is a once-only process. Upon registration, the relevant details become part of the public register of retirement villages available on the Accommodation registers page.

The register will enable retirement villages to readily receive important information about changes to the laws or other relevant matters from Fair Trading.

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Register your building with nbn 

To help prepare for the nbn™ network, a register has been set up to identify buildings where monitored fire alarm indicator panel or lift emergency phone services are installed. Registration will assist the migration of these services from the copper network.

Retirement village operators should visit the nbn website to register their building as soon as possible.

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