Retirement villages and caravan parks

There can be confusion about the difference between retirement villages and residential / caravan parks. In terms of appearance and services, the two may be very similar. The main differences relate to the type of ownership and occupancy arrangements, the permanency of tenure and the protections provided to residents. 

Retirement villages

A retirement village provides accommodation, amenities and services to a people aged over 55.

Usually, entry into a retirement village involves:

  • signing a residential tenancy agreement, or some other lease or licence;
  • buying shares in the ownership of the village;
  • "buying" a unit, subject to the administering body having the right or option to repurchase the unit; or
  • "buying" the unit, where there are restrictions about the sale of the unit.

Retirement villages may not necessarily use the words 'retirement' or 'village' in their name. For example, a village may be called 'Bottlebrush Gardens'.   If you are not sure if a complex you are considering comes under the Retirement Villages Act 1992, ask the village operator or check with Landgate or Consumer Protection.

More information:

The retirement villages section contains more detailed information about finding, living in and leaving a retirement village. 

Caravan parks (Residential parks)

In Western Australia, a residential park (a park) is a place which provides land ‘sites’ for rent, usually to house a relocatable home such as a caravan or park home.

There are two types of tenants:

  • ‘long-stay’ sites which can be occupied for more than three months and
  • ‘short-stay’ sites for stays of less than three months.

Tenants who are staying longer than three months on a park should be located on a ‘longstay’ site instead of a ‘short-stay’ site.

Mixed parks have both long and short stay sites.  Other parks may contain long-stay sites only and may be called ‘lifestyle villages’.

Sometimes, lifestyle villages can also be retirement villages – if this is the case, they will be covered by the Retirement Villages Act 1992, and not by residential park laws.

More information:

The residential parks section contains more detailed information about finding, living in and leaving a residential park. 

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