This is an information guide to some commonly asked questions about retirement villages in and surrounding Melbourne and regional Victoria. For more information, please download our full 'Retirement Villages in Victoria' eBook here.

Can I have a pet/s at a retirement village?

Many retirement villages welcome pets as long as they are not being a nuisance to any of your fellow residents or damaging shared amenities. It is at the discretion of the retirement village as to whether they allow pets. If this is a consideration for you, make sure to ask about the retirement village’s rules on keeping pets.

Can I have guests stay with me at a retirement village?

Visitors and short stay guests and family are welcome in a retirement village. There will be provisions in the terms of your contract with the retirement village around the length of time that a guest can stay with you.

There may also be a condition that states that a guest can’t stay in your accommodation if you’re not there to host them, for example if you are planning to go away for a holiday and your accommodation would otherwise be vacant. Consult the retirement village you are considering for more information on their guidelines on guests and visitors.

Are care and support services available in a retirement village?

A retirement village offers a safe, secure and social lifestyle for people eager to enjoy independent living. A retirement village generally provides minimal levels of daily personal care and support services or flexible options for ‘fee for service’ if required. The level of care and support services available will vary from retirement village to retirement village. Most retirement villages offer 24 hour emergency support services.

What are the costs involved in moving into a retirement village?

You will need to budget funds to cover entry costs, ongoing service and maintenance costs, , and departure costs. Some retirement villages may ask for payment of a fee to add you to their waiting list of available accommodation. This payment may or may not be refundable. Make sure to ask what the conditions are and make sure you keep a copy of the receipt.

You will also need to consider the usual costs of selling a property and moving to a new property, including legal fees, furniture removal costs, connection fees for utility services and the costs associated with the sale of your existing home. Stamp duty and title registration fees are only applicable when the retirement village is offering freehold titles.

It is advisable to include trusted family members and friends in making the lifestyle decision to move into a retirement village.

A legal counsel along with a financial planner experienced in retirement living options will be able to help you navigate the legal structures and financial outcomes of the retirement village accommodation you are considering buying into.

As a resident, do I have a say in how the retirement village is managed?

Yes. Part 6 of the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (Vic) makes provision for residents to attend Annual Meetings, form resident committees to represent the interests of residents, and hold voting rights when decisions impacting the majority of residents need to made. If there is an owners’ corporation, the owners’ corporation has the same powers as a Resident Committee. The contract provisions will determine the voting rights ratio of owners and the Resident Committee.

What happens if I need to move into an aged care facility due to health and/or mobility concerns

Access to an aged care facility depends on the results of an aged care assessment, in accordance with the Commonwealth Aged Care Act 1997. For more information, visit myagedcare.gov.au. If you need to trigger the exit process in order to move into an aged care facility and an accommodation bond is required by the aged care facility you need to:

  • Commence the exit process based on the terms of your retirement village contract. This may include giving the village manager sufficient written notice of your intention to leave the retirement village.
  • Let the retirement village operator or village manager know the total amount of the accommodation bond and the date that payment is due (usually 6 months from the date you move in).
  • If your village unit / villa is not sold before the due date of the bond (being 6 months after you enter the aged care facility) then the retirement village operator will be required to pay a certain amount of your village exit entitlements up to a maximum amount of the accommodation bond you are required to pay. This amount will then be deducted from the total exit entitlement once your unit /villa is sold.

In preparation of the sale of your unit / villa, you or your family members may need to refurbish if the terms of the contract are that refurbishment is the resident’s responsibility.

What happens to my retirement village accommodation in the event of my death?

Most retirement village contract terms will have a provision stating that tenure ends automatically in the event of death of a remaining resident.

In this case the villa / unit forms part of the deceased resident’s estate. The beneficiary of the estate would then be responsible for working with the retirement village operator to terminate occupancy, prepare the property for resale and finalise exit entitlements.

Who holds the responsibility to refurbish my accommodation once I end my occupancy or leave a retirement village?

The terms of your contract with the retirement village will state who is responsible for refurbishing the unit / villa once your tenure ends.

Many contracts state that refurbishment is a responsibility of the resident. Some contracts will state that refurbishment is the responsibility of the retirement village operator.

Make sure this is a question you cover off and can plan to budget for before entering into a contractual arrangement.

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