Occupation Right Agreement - Explained

An Occupation Right Agreement (ORA) is a legal document that gives a person the right to occupy a residential unit in a retirement village. It sets out the relevant terms and conditions, in compliance with the provisions of the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and the Retirement Villages (General) Regulations 2006. The agreement also contains the village Code of Residents' Rights and the Village Rules.

What issues does the agreement have to deal with?

The ORA covers:

  • the management of the village
  • the nature of the resident's right to occupy the unit or apartment
  • the charges relating to the village and to the use of its services and facilities
  • the operator's obligation to run the village properly
  • the resident's rights to be given key financial documents and other relevant information
  • safety, personal security, fire protection and emergency management
  • the transfer of residents within the village
  • meetings of residents with the operator
  • maintenance and upgrading
  • termination of the agreement by a resident or the operator
  • a complaints facility and a disputes procedure
  • the consultation process about any proposed changes to the services or benefits provided or to charges that could affect residents' ability to pay for them
  • the requirement that residents have their rights respected, and to be treated with courtesy.
  • the Code of Residents Rights and Rules of the village
  • Where the village or unit hasn't been built

If the village, apartment or unit is not yet completed when the ORA is signed, it must state the proposed completion date.

Cancellation for delay

The buyer can cancel the ORA if the unit is not finished to the point of practical completion within six months of the proposed completion date. They can do this any time after the six-month period has expired. They must then be refunded their deposit with interest and all progress payments made for the Occupational Right Agreement.

Who is a "resident"?

A resident is:

  • anyone who enters into an ORA with a retirement village operator
  • anyone who is entitled under an agreement to live in an apartment or unit in the village (even if the agreement wasn't made with that person)
  • a spouse or partner who is living in a unit with someone who's entitled under an agreement to live there, or who is living in it after that person has died or left the village (as long as the agreement or the operator allows it)

All these people have the rights given to residents by the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and the Code of Practice 2008. For example, they have all the rights set out in the Code of Residents' Rights, and they can use the village's complaints procedure. The information above is a summary only. Please refer to the Occupation Right Agreement for full details.