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Retirement Villages - Legislation

Each Australian State and Territory and New Zealand has enacted specific legislation that regulates the operation of retirement villages. The main purpose of the legislation is to protect the interests of residents and prospective residents. This is generally achieved by:

  • imposing a heavy disclosure burden on operators
  • prescribing various matters that either must or must not be included in the legal documentation
  • regulating some (but by no means all) financial matters
  • establishing mechanisms for resolving disputes.

The legislation in each jurisdiction is different and has its own definition of what is and what is not a retirement village. This is important because a village that falls outside the definition will generally not be regulated by the legislation. The definitions generally exclude hostels and nursing homes and may exclude other facilities that are generally thought of as retirement villages, such as over 50’s manufactured home villages and rental villages for seniors. Even where the legislation does apply, it may apply differently to different legal structures and contractual arrangements.

Particular legal structures and contractual arrangements may also attract the application of other legislation, such as strata title, community title, companies and securities, manufactured home or tenancy legislation.

Other legislation may also be relevant. For example, most jurisdictions have “fair trading” legislation that regulates general trading matters, including advertising and marketing. Some jurisdictions also have:

  • specific residential dispute resolution legislation that applies to retirement village disputes
  • contract review legislation that allows unfair and unconscionable contracts to be modified or set aside.

The legislation and documentation can be quite complicated, so you should consider obtaining legal and financial advice from qualified professionals in appropriate circumstances.

The following links will take you to some of the relevant legislation on various online legal resource websites, but please note that you should satisfy yourself that it is current and up-to-date:

Australian Capital Territory:

Retirement Villages Act 2012 and Regulations

New South Wales:

Retirement Villages Act 1999 and Regulations

Northern Territory:

Retirement Villages Act 1995 and Regulations


Retirement Villages Act 1999 and Regulations

South Australia:

Retirement Villages Act 1987 and Regulations


Retirement Villages Act 2004 and Regulations


Retirement Villages Act 1986 and Regulations 1 & 2

Western Australia:

Retirement Villages Act 1992 and Regulations

New Zealand:

Retirement Villages Act 2003 and Regulations

More Information?

Please see the following pages of this Retirement Villages Guide for further information:

  1. An Overview

  2. Top Ten Tips

  3. Services and Levels of Care

  4. Financial Considerations & Departure Fees

  5. Departure Fee Calculator

  6. Rental Accommodation

  7. Pets

  8. Legal Structures

  9. Legislation

  10. Publications

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