Comparison of housing choices for seniors

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What's in a name? Retirement villages, lifestyle villages and strata title

Some complexes use the term 'retirement', 'lifestyle', 'gardens', 'units' or 'apartments' but they can mean different things and don't actually tell you what sort of housing is provided and which laws apply.

The table below will help. If you are unsure, please check your contract/agreement.

Comparison of housing choices

Style/ Definitions Retirement village Residential park Strata title Renting Boarding and lodging Residential aged care
Type of structure/ Premises

Includes units and serviced apartments for 55s and over, retired and spouse/partner.

May use many names, including 'lifestyle village'.

Includes mixed-use parks and lifestyle villages for over 45s.

May use many names, including 'lifestyle village'.

May be villas, units or apartments. Includes strata schemes for over 55s. Includes private rentals and social housing (public and community housing) Includes licensed lodging houses and private arrangements. Includes hostels and nursing homes with high or low care.
Ownership style Can purchase a lease, rent or buy a strata or purple title unit. Can buy or rent the premises. Land is usually leased but there are some strata titled parks. Can purchase or lease property.


Tenants pay rent for exclusive possession of premises.


May have exclusive occupation of own room and share common areas


Requires an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment to determine eligibility.

Additional information Upfront, on-going and exit fees are usually payable. Rights and responsibilities depend on individual agreements. On-going site rent is payable and there may be exit fees. Structure must be relocatable. A number of individual ownership/ common property scenarios exist. There may be strata and special levies payable. A tenancy agreement gives either a fixed or periodic term and sets out the conditions of the tenancy.

Rent may include meals or just room.

Rights and responsibilities depend upon individual agreements.

May be charged care fees and accommodation bond.

May receive government subsidy.

Legislation Covered by the Retirement Villages Act 1992 and the Strata Titles Act 1985. Covered by the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006, the Strata Titles Act 1985 and the Residential Tenancies Act 1987. Covered by the Strata Titles Act 1985 and the Residential Tenancies Act 1987. Covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1987. Covered by common law on contracts. Covered by Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) if government funded.

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