Residents Rights

It is important that retirement village residents feel secure in their accommodation in a retirement village, villa or apartment.

The rights of retirement village residents are defined in the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008.

These documents describe the rights of people living in retirement villages and provide a set of guiding principles for how residents are to be treated, including:

  • The interests of the resident shall be a primary consideration in all action concerning them,
  • There should be respect for their existing capacities,
  • They should have a say in all matters affecting them.

Retirement Villages Act 2003

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 came into force on 1 February 2004. It comes under the portfolio of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

It is in the portfolio of the Minister, the Hon Megan Woods. Andrew Crisp has been Chief Executive of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since December 2018.

The Act is seen to be ‘self-regulating’. The Retirement Commissioner has required a review of various sections of the Act and the disputes process has been researched by her office.

Code of Practice 2008

The Code of Practice 2008 sets out further rights and obligations of retirement village operators and residents. It provides a set of minimum requirements that all retirement village operators must comply with.

 Provisions in the Code override any less-favourable terms in an Occupation Right Agreement and are enforceable by residents against operators.


Residents Rights Resources

Click on the links below to view the official documents:

Residents Committees

Residents committees can be an integral and beneficial part of retirement village life. Whether you are part of a small village or living within a village of several hundred residents, a committee can help in assisting other residents, foster social occasions and activities or raise village operational issues with village management.

The Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008 states;

“Residents have the right to form a residents’ committee and agree their own rules for running the committee.” (Clause 30.1)

To help residents in either the setup or running of a residents committee, the RVR (in conjunction with the Retirement Commission), has produced a handbook that is available for download.

Any questions, please feel free to contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.

Important Information

Online Services for senior citizens

There is a range of services available online, or you can:

  • call Freephone number 0800 552 002 to make enquiries about New Zealand superannuation or your entitlements as a senior citizen,
  • send an email to
  • send a letter to: Senior Services, Ministry of Social Development, PO Box 5054, Wellington 6145.

Office for Seniors

Within the Ministry of Social Development is the Office for Seniors, headed by Hon Ayesha Verrall, Minister for Seniors.

Click here Ministry of Social Development’s Senior Services to open a link to view details on the services this ministry can provide.

The website also lists:

  • your rights and entitlements as a senior citizen,
  • where you can get support.

Retirement Commissioner

For retirement villages information:

  • contact the Retirement Commissioner Governance Administrator Rebecca Jenner, on 09 356 1447 or,
  • email the Retirement Commission at

Care and Assistance

There are additional cost implications if you or your spouse need home support services, or are needs-assessed for residential care while you are living in a retirement village. See the flowchart explaining different types of care costs for different types of accommodation. It includes tips and links to further sources of information.

Moving from Retirement Village Unit to Rest Home Care

Buying into a retirement village and later transferring into a rest home can pose financial fishhooks which buyers should get full disclosure about, warns the watchdog on retirement villages.

“Buyers should get this information including terms of transfer for short and long-term rest home care before buying an independent unit in a retirement village”, Troy Churton, former national manager retirement villages, for the Commission for Financial Capability, said.

For the latest CFFC (Commission for Financial Capability) monitoring report on the Provision of Residential Care and Occupation Right Agreements (ORA) by Retirement Village Operators:

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