Thinking of moving into a Retirement Village?

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A retirement village is a residential complex, for retirees. Residents live in these premises by entering into a retirement village contract with the operator of the village.

Locating a retirement village

The New South Wales Fair Trading public register of retirement villages is a helpful resource to assist in finding and contacting a retirement village in New South Wales. Please see the link below for further information:


Before entering into a retirement village contract, it is important to inspect the premises and obtain the relevant documents to determine whether the village is a suitable place to live.

Relevant documents

Under section 18 of the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (NSW) (“the Act”) an operator must provide a prospective resident with:

  • A general inquiry document within 14 days of enquiring about becoming a resident
  • A disclosure statement at least 14 days before signing the contract
  • A copy of the proposed village contract at least 14 days before signing the contract

Section 20 of the Act provides a list of further documents that the operator must provide at the village or the operator’s place of business for inspection by the prospective resident. For example, a site plan of the village.

Standard form contract

Most village contracts are presented in standard form in accordance with schedule 2 of the Retirement Villages Regulation 2009. Some exceptions include a contract whereby a resident obtains a right to use a garage, parking space or storage in the village which are not contained in a residence or service contract.

Apart from the exceptions, a standard form contract must attach:

  • A disclosure statement
  • The condition report (if applicable)
  • Village services and facilities that are available
  • Village rules (if any)

Schedule 3 of the Retirement Villages Regulation 2009 also lists matters that cannot be included in a village contract.  For example, a village contract must not restrict the period of time the resident may be absent from the village.

Cooling off period

Under section 32 of the Act, a village contract allows for a 7 day cooling off period, and in this time a resident/prospective resident may rescind the contract. However, this cooling off period is waived if a resident commences to live in the residential premises.

Settling-in period

A village contract also entitles the resident to a 90 day settling-in period. Within this time, a resident is entitled to terminate the village contract; however expenses such as fair market rent for the period that the former resident occupied the premises will be incurred.

Some types of retirement village arrangements

  • Strata or community schemes
  • Company titles schemes
  • Leasehold
  • Loan and licence

How we can help

A retirement village contract, like any sale of land contract, should not be entered into with haste and legal advice is always recommended before entering into such an agreement.   A retirement village contract is a significant financial investment.

We have helped many clients understand their rights, obligations and financial commitments under a retirement village contract and the Act, both on entering and exiting a retirement village.

If you would like further information, please contact

Peter McLachlan, Partner

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