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Retirement village contracts 

Information for retirement village operators

A written contract must be in place between a village operator and each resident before they move into the village, unless they are:

  • moving in with an existing resident or
  • signing a residential tenancy agreement under the residential tenancy laws.

The village contract may be a residence contract or a service contract, or may combine both. Operators can ask residents to pay a maximum of $50 towards the cost of preparing a contract.

Prospective residents must be given a copy of their proposed contract at least 14 days before signing it. Residents should also be encouraged to obtain independent legal and financial advice.

If the resident changes their mind after entering into a village contract, they are generally able to end the contract during the cooling-off period or settling-in period.

Standard village contract

Retirement village contracts entered into on or after 1 October 2013 must be in the standard form.

The standard form of contract is prescribed in schedule 2 of the Retirement Village Regulation 2017.

The standard contract sets out residents’ and operators’ rights and obligations in a clear, standardised format. It covers matters such as what residence rights are involved, entry costs, the settling-in period, recurrent charges, services and facilities, alterations and additions, repairs and maintenance, sharing of capital gains, and departure fees.

Operators can include additional terms at the back of the contract. The additional terms cannot be inconsistent with the standard terms or the retirement village laws or any other law.

The following documents must be annexed to the contract:

  • a copy of the disclosure statement that was given to the resident
  • the condition report (if one is required to be prepared)
  • a list of the village services and facilities, and
  • the village rules (if any).

Exceptions

A standard contract form does not have to be used for:

  • a separate contract that is just for a garage or storage space
  • a sale of land contract where a resident buys a strata or community scheme unit, or an agreement to buy company title shares – however, these residents must sign a service contract in the standard form.

Are there different kinds of standard contract?

There is one standard contract form prescribed in the Retirement Villages Regulation 2017. The standard form is designed to be generic so that it can be adapted and used for all types of village arrangements.

However, some of the contract terms will need to be different depending on whether the contract is for a licence, leasehold, strata or other type of arrangement. For some items, the standard contract form includes alternative terms and indicates where the operator can cross out or delete the option that does not apply.

The standard contract form prescribed in the Regulation does not include formatting or a table of contents. Operators are able to add these when adapting the standard contract for their village. The template forms below include these features. Operators can also add their village logo and design if they wish.

Section 80 of the Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW) contains information about the requirements for completing prescribed forms. If in any doubt, ask a legal expert to prepare or check the draft contract before it is given to a resident. A term of the contract that is inconsistent with the prescribed form may not be able to be enforced.

Standard contract template forms

To assist operators, NSW Fair Trading has prepared the following template forms which operators can use to prepare their village contracts.

In these forms, the alternative terms have been crossed out and deleted to adapt the contract for 5 common types of village arrangements in NSW. If a village does not fit one of these models, use the general standard form and make the necessary adaptations.

Non-registered interest holders

These forms should be used where the resident will be a non-registered interest holder. This includes loan/licence arrangements and leases where the resident does not have an entitlement to capital gains and/or the term is less than 50 years.

Non-registered interest holders generally

Non-registered interest holder with an assignable lease

Registered interest holders

The following forms should be used where the resident will be a registered interest holder.

Registered interest holder with assignable registered long-term lease

Registered interest holder with non-assignable registered long-term lease

Strata schemes, community schemes and company title villages

General standard form for all interest holders

This is the standard prescribed form from the Regulation which can be adapted for any type of village by crossing out or deleting the alternative terms where appropriate.

Disclaimer

This is not legal advice. Although every care has been taken in preparing the template forms, Fair Trading cannot guarantee that documents produced using them will fully comply with the law.

Fair Trading recommends that operators have their documents prepared or checked by a qualified legal expert.

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