Retirement Villages – what you need to know

92454_024We’re often approached by clients who
are thinking about moving into a retirement
village or who have parents who are
considering making such a move.

Stephens Lawyer’s Senior Associate Claire
Maddocksshares her knowledge on the subject
and the issues you need to be aware of.

When reviewing client’s Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney or Family Trusts Claire’s frequently told, “I’d never live in a retirement home/village”. However, as people are living longer, they are not always able to manage the upkeep on the family home or find their home far too big for their needs, it can make sense to consider moving to a smaller, lower maintenance property or a retirement village.

Traditional ‘retirement homes’ are fast being replaced by retirement villages offering a variety of levels of care on site. You will have seen advertisements for ‘lifestyle’ villages run by retirement village operators such as Ryman Healthcare, Summerset, Metlifecare, and others.

Depending on which village you are looking at, facilities and care levels will differ. Options for accommodation include serviced apartments with shared communal spaces i.e. swimming pool/garden, independent townhouses or apartments, rest home care or hospital care.

If you are considering moving to a village, take the time to visit several different villages to see what they offer and what will suit your needs best.

Rather than receiving a ‘title’ to your chosen residence at a village, you enter into an Occupation Right Agreement which sets out the terms of your purchase, village rules that apply, contributions for services at the village and what happens if you need to move from say an independent apartment to rest home care.

Buying into a retirement village is a lifestyle choice as opposed to an investment. There are significant costs involved at the time of purchase and, when you leave your chosen residence at the village, your residence reverts to the village operator.

You need to be aware of those costs and balance them against the lifestyle associated with living in a retirement village. While living in a retirement village doesn’t suit everyone, many regard the trade-off as being worthwhile.

We recommend that you discuss any proposed purchase at a retirement village with us to ensure it meets your requirements and you fully understand what you are buying, and whether it best suits your circumstances.

For further information, see ‘Planning for living in a retirement village – a check list:


Claire Maddocks, Stephens Lawyers

DDI: 04 915 9586