How do retirement villages work

To gain access to a retirement village you must have reached 55 years of age or have retired from full time employment. Once you have made a decision that this lifestyle will suit you, speak to your solicitor or lawyer about the fee and legal structures for such villages, as contracts are many and varied.

The size and style of retirement village accommodation varies enormously, from bed-sitter apartments to spacious brick and tile homes. Most retirement villages have common areas and a range of facilities available for the use and enjoyment of all residents. More recent ones cater fully to the semi retired and baby boomers, featuring sports facilities, cafes, and restaurants. They more closely resemble resorts and gated communities, both of which are emerging housing options.

Each State and Territory has specific legislation that regulates the operation of retirement villages. The legislation in each area is different and has its own definition of what is and what is not a retirement village. 

In some cases the legislation applies differently to different legal structures and contractual arrangements. Particular legal structures and contractual arrangements may also attract the application of other legislation, such as strata title, community title, companies and securities, manufactured home or tenancy legislation.

Units that are described as Independent Living Units or self-care units provide the lowest level of care, although a range of personal services may be available on request on a user pays basis under an arrangement known as flexicare. 

Units that are described as Assisted Living Units or serviced apartments provide the highest level of care, usually including the regular provision of a range of personal services. 

Confusion sometimes arises because residential care facilities, previously known and often still referred to as hostels, are sometimes described as Assisted Living Units. 

Residential aged care (Hostels and Nursing Homes) are regulated and partly funded by the Commonwealth Government and different legislation, admission criteria and funding arrangements apply.