Retirement villages hit back at criticism over occupation right agreements

The body representing retirement villages has hit back at criticism over occupation right agreements.

Consumer NZ has described terms and conditions as unfair but villages say residents know what they're signing up for.

Calling a quiet retirement village home is the life goal for many. Mike and Sue Grainger made the big move just six weeks ago.

"It didn't take us long to work out this was the ideal place to live in," Mike said.

To get here they had to sign an occupation right agreement, like every village resident.

"There is a lot of paperwork to do and think about and you do have to involve your lawyer to make sure that you're happy with what you're doing," Sue said.

"Every resident is required by law to have independent legal advice before they move to the village," said Retirement Villages Association executive director John Collyns.

It's the T's and C's of that paperwork that Consumer NZ this week labelled as unfair, especially for those wanting to leave.

"One of the key elements we are looking at improving is the length of time a retirement village is able to keep money owed to a resident that exits that facility," Consumer NZ CEO Jon Duffy said.

The Retirement Villages Association said a time limit is too much of a financial liability.

"If we have any amount of time in law to pay the money back there's a high level of financial risk," Collyns said.

It claims it is putting pressure on retirement villages if a unit remains unlicensed or un-contracted for too long.

"Nine months is long enough to relicense the unit, after nine months we'll expect you to pay an interest rate on the capital rate outstanding," Collyns said.

Advocates for law changes used an example of an anonymous former resident who left her agreement a year ago. She is still paying weekly operating costs until someone else moves in.

"We've now passed a remit which basically says every member should stop charging weekly fees when the unit is vacated so that issue won't be a thing in the future," Collyns said.

For the Graingers, their future is in a retirement village.

"I can't see us moving out of here," Sue said.

A final home for retirees to enjoy their golden years.