The retirement village lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular and this guide provides essential information for anyone interested in village accommodation and its benefits. More than 20,000 people have discovered the benefits of retirement village life, and this number is growing rapidly.
The Retirement Villages Association (RVA) is a voluntary association of developers, operators, and managers of retirement villages, and is committed to providing the best possible quality of life for village residents. Based in Wellington, we represent, protect and promote the interests of our members and our associated suppliers.
The RVA represents 270 retirement villages nationwide. The sector is extremely diverse in terms of village types and accommodation available. Residents are able to choose from single level, stand-alone villas or duplexes, independent living apartments within a multi-story building, or serviced apartments where meals and laundry are provided by the operator. Most villages have a leisure centre, a library and a café; others have internal swimming pools, gymnasiums and other recreational facilities as well. About 50% of our members have rest homes and/or a hospital on-site.
Retirement villages operate under the Retirement Villages Act 2003. In addition to the Act, there are two sets of regulations and a legislated Code of Practice. This Code will come into effect on 2 October 2009.
The RVA audits its members’ compliance with the Code of Practice every three years. The audit is undertaken by the independent quality assurance agency Quality Health. When they pass their audit, RVA members are provided with an accreditation certificate. Prospective residents should ask to see the certificate if it’s not displayed publically. It is important to note that the Code of Practice represents the baseline and many operators function above this level.
The RVA has also created a Disciplinary Authority which will hear complaints about members’ failure to comply with the Code of Practice or behave in a way which brings the industry into disrepute. The Authority will have a range of sanctions available to it, including the power to fine and impose costs. We believe this step is an important one to demonstrate the industry’s professionalism and credibility.
The Retirement Villages Act provides comprehensive protection for village residents and includes:
- A clear definition of what a retirement village is;
- Strict rules on full disclosure of relevant information;
- A Code of Residents’ Rights;
- A Code of Practice setting out minimum operating standards (see the note above);
- Independent Statutory Supervisors to oversee the financial management of the village, acting in the residents’ interest;
- Clear rules on operators’ responsibilities to consult with residents;
- A village level complaints processes that operators must provide;
- An independent Disputes Panel process;
- A mandatory 15 day ‘cooling off’ period for prospective residents;
- A requirement that residents must take independent legal advice before entering into a contract with an operator.
Before choosing a village lifestyle, we strongly recommend that you:
- Have a good look around a variety of retirement villages as there is plenty of choice and not all villages are the same.
- Have a clear idea about what you want.
- Talk to people who live in villages; they can tell you how it is.
- Talk to your family and friends.
- Check that the village is an RVA member.
- Compare villages not just on price, services and facilities, but how they feel to you.
- Take independent legal advice – this is now mandatory under the Act.
Retirement Villages of New Zealand (Inc)
For more information about the RVA and the benefits of choosing a RVA member village, please log on to our website www.retirementvillages.org.nz or contact the Executive Director, John Collyns on firstname.lastname@example.org