A retirement village is a complex of residential premises predominantly or exclusively occupied by retired persons who have entered into ‘village contracts’ with the operator of the village. They are subject to their own legislation, the Retirement Villages Act 1999(NSW) (the RV Act 1999).
Retirement village residents may be owners or renters, depending on how the village is set up and how the village operator contracts with residents. Some villages are strata schemes; some are company title schemes; some use long-term leases (99 years or 199 years); some use loan and licence agreements (that is, in return for lending a sum of money to the village operator, the resident is given a licence to occupy premises in the village); some use tenancy agreements called ‘residence contracts’.
Retirement village residence contracts are excluded from the RT Act 2010 (section 8(1)(b)), except where the agreement is in the standard form prescribed by the RT Act 2010 and contains a term that specifies that the RV Act 1999 does not apply.
Note also that the RV Act 1999 does not apply to public housing or Aboriginal Housing Office housing, boarding houses and lodging houses, residential parks, aged care facilities and nursing homes (section 5(3)).
Whichever retirement village arrangement applies to you, the RV Act 1999 requires that you and the village operator enter into a village contract, which sets out the obligations of the parties in relation to charges and services. The RV Act 1999 also provides for village rules, disclosure of information by village operators, other rights and obligations in relation to village management, the termination of agreements and dispute resolution through the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.
The Seniors Rights Service provides free, confidential advice to residents of retirement villages.