Alternatives to buying a property
Home ownership may not suit everyone's budget or lifestyle so it may be worthwhile considering the alternatives:
Boarding and Lodging
If you are a boarder, you pay rent to stay at another person's property and meals are usually provided. Lodgers pay rent to stay at another person's property, but meals are not usually provided.
- The arrangement can work well if you get along with the owner and/or other housemates.
- Depending on your agreement with the owner, you may only have to provide a short period of notice that you intend to leave.
- Generally you can't control who is able to visit or reside at the property.
- Depending on your agreement, the owner may only have to give you a short period of notice to leave.
- There may be "house rules" about matters such as keeping pets, using common facilities and the amount of noise that is acceptable.
Information is available from the Boarders and Lodgers pages or take a look at Boarders and lodgers - A guide to your rights and responsibilities. Copies of the pamphlet can be obtained from our Call Centre on 1300 304 054.
Renters (ie tenants) can generally exclude anyone from accessing the property or land they rent. This includes the owner. However, owners may carry out inspections of the property so long as they comply with the law.
- Tenants have their rights and responsibilities set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and other laws.
- You may be able to afford to rent, but not to buy a house, in your preferred suburb.
- Generally, and you should check that this is the case, you don't need to worry about paying local authority (council) and water rates or doing repairs to the house that are the result of fair wear and tear (though you should check this is the case).
- Generally owners are able to ask tenants to leave by giving them the appropriate notice required by law.
- There are likely to be rules about how the property should be used, (eg whether pets may be kept on the property).
- You may be penalised if you leave the property before the lease expires.
Take a look at our publication Renting a Home in WA. Copies of the booklet can be obtained from our Call Centre on 1300 304 054.
Mobile homes for living (rather than holidaying) include buying or renting a caravan or park home. The site on which the caravan or park home is placed is generally leased.
Many parks villages offer residents direct access to facilities that may enhance their quality of life, such as maintained swimming pools and gardens.
Parks in favourable locations offer residents a chance to live in an area they may not have been able to afford to buy a traditional house in.
The legal rights and responsibilities of caravan park owners and residents are set out in the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006. However, if your tenancy agreement was made before the commencement of the Parks Act on 3 August 2007 and you have a written fixed-term tenancy agreement, the Parks Act does not apply to your agreement until it expires or you negotiate a new agreement. Until this happens, your agreement is covered under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
The cost of relocating a mobile home can sometimes be high.
There are often rules that regulate your behaviour on the land site (eg making noise, having visitors and pets and the use of common facilities).
If you do not own the land, the property owner can generally ask you to leave by giving you the appropriate notice required by law.
Retirement villages and over 55 complexes
There are a number of options for people in the over-55 age group who may be looking for a change of lifestyle.
- Many villages offer residents direct access to facilities that may enhance their quality of life, such as maintained swimming pools, gymnasiums and gardens.
- Some villages provide access to facilities that offer residents greater peace of mind, including security and health care.
- Many villages provide opportunities for similar aged residents to meet and socialise.
- Depending on the village, residents have their legal rights and responsibilities set out in the Retirement Villages Act 1992, the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006, the Fair Trading (Retirement Villages Code) Regulations 2009 and other law.
- The units may be smaller than a traditional family home and may therefore be easier to clean and maintain.
- If you own or occupy a unit in a village, restrictions and/or fees may apply when selling your unit.
- Lifestyle villages require residents to pay ongoing fees and sometimes these must still be paid even if you leave and your unit is not immediately re-sold, re-leased or occupied.
- The design of lifestyle villages generally means residents live closer together which may sometimes create disagreements.
More information on the over-55’s lifestyle can be found at the Seniors’ Housing Centre or take a look at our publication Your Home: a guide to housing options for people over 55
Housing Options Kit
Shelter WA, with support from Consumer Protection, has designed a Housing Options Kit which provides information about the range of affordable housing options available in Western Australia.
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