Moving into a retirement village is an independent living lifestyle choice for retirees looking to downsize and enjoy a sense of community and security.

We can help you

Compare retirement living options

Our experienced team can help you compare retirement living options including the different contract options. We can provide practical information and guidance on what to expect when moving into or leaving a retirement village and help you to navigate the various options available.

Understand different village and contract types

There are generally four different village and contract types: 

  • Independent Living Units/Villas
  • Serviced Apartments
  • Rental Units/Villages
  • Land Lease Communities

Each of these models operate under specific legislation and can have different contract types and services provided, including differences in entry fees, ongoing charges and exit fees.

Get the best expert legal advice and guidance

As you navigate the different retirement living contract types, we can help you with:

  • Navigating the various options (and types of contracts) available
  • Practical information and guidance on what to expect when moving into or leaving a retirement village
  • Advice on moving into a retirement village, retirement village contracts, associated disclosure documents, fees, charges and ongoing costs and conveyancing on the purchase
  • Advice on leaving a retirement village, departure entitlements, refurbishment costs and exit fees
  • Understanding the contractual and legal obligations of both the resident and the village operator
  • Retirement village disputes
  • Retirement village questions of law

What you can expect

Peace of mind

Ourexperienced and caring retirement living lawyers guide you through your entire retirement village journey. We explain the legal documentation, provide practical advice and support, and take care of the paperwork and all legal aspects for your peace of mind.

No surprises pricing

Our commitment is to agree a price and a scope with you. Our price does not change based on the time we spend working on your matter. It is important to us that you feel able to meet with us, call us and ask questions without worrying about being charged for every phone call, email or meeting.

Frequently asked questions

What is a retirement village?

We want to clarify that retirement living is NOT aged care. Importantly, retirement living is not government funded, unlike aged care, and the decision to move into a retirement village is due to lifestyle factors rather than needing care. In most retirement villages, you must be capable of living independently, although you may (if eligible*) be able to access in-home aged care services that allow you to, for all practical purposes, continue to live independently in the village, in the same way as you may be able to access these services if you stayed in your own home.

*The owner/operator cannot guarantee your access to aged care. Eligibility is subject to an aged care assessment in accordance with the Aged Care Act 1997.

What are the benefits of moving into a retirement village?

Moving into a retirement community may delay the need for aged care. A pilot study found that village residents were 2 years older before they received in-home aged care services. They were an extra 4 to 5 years older before they went into an aged care facility. Why? Primarily it’s the social contact, feeling of community and activities.(2)

2) IRT: An Investigation of the IRT Retirement Community Landscape: A Pilot Study, 2014

What are the different contract types?

Independent Living Unit/Villa

This is the most common type of retirement living. Residents must be capable of living independently. It’s not very different from staying in your own home, except that you are living in a community for retirees or over 55s. No personal services are provided, as they are in a serviced apartment, although they may be available as optional services on a user-pays basis.


Serviced Apartment

Retirement living accommodation, where personal services are provided to assist you with daily living, such as cleaning, laundry and meals. You may be able to access these services as optional services at other types of retirement living accommodation. This type of accommodation is also known as Assisted Living and is generally smaller in size than other accommodation types.


Serviced Apartment living is not to be confused with residential aged care where care services are provided.


Rental Unit/Village

Rather than the traditional financial model of paying an entry price (and a deferred payment commonly being charged upon departure), a rental model may be available as an alternative within a traditional retirement village, or the entire community may be a rental model, where you pay an ongoing rental for your right to occupy your unit.


In a rental village (as opposed to a rental unit/s within an otherwise traditional retirement village where at least one resident has paid an entry price), you would sign a residential tenancy agreement and won’t be governed by retirement villages legislation. They’re not legally restricted to retirees or over 55s, however they may be designed and marketed towards this consumer group.


On the other hand, for a rental unit within a traditional retirement village where at least one resident has paid an entry price, you may sign a lease agreement governed by retirement villages legislation.


Land Lease Community

A community in which you lease the land/site from the community owner but own the building it sits on or lease the building from the building owner.


The entry price is the price for the house, and departure fees may apply if you sell the house to a new owner.


Land lease communities are also referred to as manufactured home parks. They may also be known as residential parks or lifestyle communities. They operate under different legislation than retirement villages legislation. They’re not legally restricted to retirees or over 55s, however they may be designed and marketed towards this consumer group.

How much are entry fees, ongoing charges and exit fees?

The typical retirement village financial model is to pay an upfront lump sum payment/purchase price for your right to reside in the village, ongoing fees for services provided by the operator while you live there, and exit fees including a deferred management fee (DMF) deducted when you leave.  You may or may not be entitled to capital gain if your retirement village property sells for more than what you paid.

Several operators are now providing choice to consumers, so there are other financial models on offer, including an upfront management fee (UMF) contract, a refundable contract (where you get back what you pay) and a ‘rental’ or pay as you go contract.

The DMF is the main source of income for operators and in order for a retirement village business to be viable it must cover such things as corporate overheads, non-recoverable sales and marketing costs, long-term maintenance and capital improvements. The village operations generally work on a cost recovery basis, so ongoing service/maintenance fees payable by residents reflect the costs incurred.  If a DMF is not charged, the income will come from the UMF, refundable contribution or rental payment (as appropriate).

How do I compare retirement villages?

Our experienced lawyers can help you compare retirement villages including different contract options. You may also compare villages by asking for the village Factsheet (applicable to Victorian retirement villages) which must be provided to you within seven days of a request and includes information about the village including contract types and fees. The Factsheet is a standard form document which you can compare against other Factsheets, or we can assist you with this, as the document is long and you may find it complex.

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Need assistance with retirement living?  Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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