Retirement Villages

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Retirement villages are complexes of residential units on common land.

They do not receive government funding. Retirement villages are regulated by the Retirement Villages Act 1987. The Act defines a ‘retirement village scheme’ as one that is established (predominantly), for ‘retired persons and their spouses or domestic partners’. A ‘retired person’ is defined as being aged over 55 years and no longer in full time employment.

In South Australia the Office for the Ageing (OFTA) has responsibility for the administration of the Act.

It is important that prospective retirement village residents, existing residents, residents’ committees, owners &/or administering authorities understand their rights and responsibilities under the Act and its Regulations.

The information we provide is aimed at helping prospective residents understand their options and make informed decisions about retirement villages or other housing options.

New Retirement Village legislation on the way

The South Australia Retirement Villages Act 2016 has now passed the Legislative Council (assented 10 Nov 2016) and will come into operation at a day to be fixed by proclamation once the Regulations are approved by the Parliament. You can access the new Act by clicking here.

The objects of this Act are:

  • to provide a regulatory framework for the operation of retirement villages in South Australia under which a balance is achieved between the rights and responsibilities of—
    • residents of retirement villages; and
    • operators of retirement villages;
    • to encourage best practice management standards among the operators of  retirement villages;
    • to ensure that there is proper disclosure of information to prospective residents of retirement villages;
    • to regulate the making, content, operation and termination of residence  contracts;
    • to ensure that residents are properly consulted about matters affecting their residence in the retirement village;
    • to provide for dispute resolution processes.

The Act does not prescribe limits to premiums / deferment management fees or refunds.

It will continue to be essential to understand the contract you are signing and to have any verbal promises written down and signed.


Download the Retirement Villages Act 2016.

Download the Regulations:

Download the information sheet Retirement Villages Act 2016 – introduction and key changes

Want information on retirement villages and other housing options?

If you are considering moving, downsizing or are searching for housing for yourself or someone else, use our information resources, contact us and / or attend our Retirement Housing Seminar.

Our Retirement Housing seminars are supported by The Senior Newspaper.

Catalyst Foundation (formerly Seniors Information Service)

Tel.: 8168 8776, 1800 63 63 68 (SA Country)

149 Currie Street, Adelaide SA 5000


See our fact sheets:

Retirement Village housing
Financial and contractual arrangements in retirement villages
Occupancy rights and other legal structures in retirement housing
Retirement housing types_Definitions

This information is a guide only and is not intended as legal advice. It is recommended that you seek advice from family, friends, a legal or financial practitioner, prior to making a decision about moving into a retirement village.

To search for Retirement Villages on our online Housing Directory follow this link.

It contains a comprehensive listing of SA retirement villages and senior-specific low cost rental accommodation, including current vacancies.

If you experience any difficulty contact us for assistance with searching and retrieving information for the directory.

What is not a retirement village?

Retirement villages are not aged care facilities (formerly known as nursing homes and hostels). These are facilities administered and operated under the Aged Care Act and are funded by the Australian Government. An aged care assessment is required to gain entry to these facilities.

For information on aged care facilities click here.

Retirement villages are not Supported Residential Facilities (SRFs) (formerly known as rest homes). However some retirement villages offer serviced apartments that are also licensed as Supported Residential Facilities.

Supported Residential Facilities are regulated by the South Australian Supported Residential Facilities Act 1992. They are privately operated and do not receive government funding.

For information on ‘pension only’ SRFs (ie. for those who cannot afford serviced apartments) click here.

Retirement villages are not residential parks. These are regulated by the Residential Parks Act 2007. For information on residential parks click here.

To go back to general information on housing options click here.

Useful resources and contacts:

Office for the Ageing (OFTA) administers the South Australia Retirement Villages Act and provides information and advice to residents, residents committees, administering authorities and the public on matters referring to retirement villages; mediation and conciliation of contractual disputes and investigation of breaches of the Act. It publishes a guide for Retirement Villages residents and prospective residents.

Retirement Village Act 1987 and Retirement Villages Regulations 2006 

The South Australian Civil Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) (taking the roles formally performed by the Residential Tenancies Tribunal) has the power to resolve disputes between retirement villages and residents, including breaches of the residence contract or breaches of the Act.

South Australian Retirement Villages Residents Association (SARVRA) is a membership organisation whose goals are to provide information and advice to, and advance the interests of, retirement village residents. SARVRA also offers information to persons considering moving to a retirement village.

Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) assists current retirement village residents understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to their occupancy, and provides advice, support, or representation to a resident with matters relating to the resident’s contract, the Retirement Village legislation.

Click here to return to more general housing information on this website.

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