What is a retirement village?

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A retirement village provides accommodation and sometimes other amenities and services to a person, and their partner, who is over 55 years of age and/or is retired from full-time employment.

There can be confusion about the difference between village complexes classified as retirement villages, residential parks and over 55 strata complexes. In terms of appearance and services, they 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 are those complexes covered by the Retirement Villages Act 1992. If you are not sure if a complex you are considering comes under the Act, ask the village operator or check with Landgate or Consumer Protection.

Retirement villages may not necessarily use the words 'retirement' or 'village' in their name. For example, a complex may be called 'Bottlebrush Gardens' or 'Grevillea Lifestyle Estate', but still be classified as a retirement village.

Usually, entry into a retirement village involves one of the following:

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

Before entering a village, you will be asked to sign a residence contract and you will be required to pay a one-off or up-front payment, which may include the cost of buying the unit.  You will also be required to pay ongoing village operating costs. The entry payment is required to be held in a trust account until you take up residency in the village.  

You may also be asked to sign a separate service agreement (or these provisions may be included in the residence contract), which details the types of services you will receive (if any) and the amount of ongoing fees.

You can read about the most recent updates on the legislative review and the implementation of reforms of the Act 

Seniors housing guide

This publication provides detailed information about housing options for those over 55.

Seniors housing guide

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