Why retirement living is under the spotlight at the moment

You’ve probably heard and read a lot of about retirement villages in the news lately, especially here on Starts at
Aged Care

You’ve probably heard and read a lot of about retirement villages in the news lately, especially here on Starts at 60.

But why is retirement living under the spotlight at the moment?

Well, there’s been a lot of talk at the moment about the way retirement villages operate – and it all comes down to an inquiry being heard by the Victorian Government.

The inquiry is looking into the operation and regulation of retirement and residential villages, caravan parks and independent living units.

So, why is there an enquiry?

Well, the Victorian Government launched the inquiry after it received a complaints about excessive entry and exit fees, management standards, confusing contracts and dispute resolution procedures.

There have been a number of submissions made to the inquiry, including those by the  Council on the Ageing Victoria, Housing for the Aged Action Group and Residents of Retirement Villages.

They’ve called for the establishment of a Retirement Housing Ombudsman and training and qualification requirements for retirement housing employees.

So, what will come out of the inquiry?

According to Gerard Brody, the CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre, the inquiry will expose “unfair” business practices in the retirement housing sector.

“Too many vulnerable elderly Victorians are locked into unfair arrangements, financially exploited with little recourse to fair dispute resolution,”  he was quoted as saying by Talking Aged Care.

“We strongly believe that a dedicated Retirement Housing Ombudsman is needed to adequately serve this sector.”

Read more: The questions you should ask before moving into a retirement village

But it’s not just the inquiry bringing retirement living under the spotlight.

Late last month, the ABC reported on a push from a 96-year-old ‘activist’ who is pushing for simpler retirement village contracts.

Keith Parsons said he was spurred into action after some issues with the retirement village he lived.

He’s written to politicians and bureaucrats hundreds of times about why he believes the system is unfair, particularly surrounding fees such as exit fees.


You might be wondering what the retirement villages have to say about this?

It turns out the retirement living sector is responding to some of the issues that have been reported.

Read more: Busting the ‘myths’ of retirement village living

The Property Council of Australia has teamed up with Russell Kennedy Lawyers to create a National Guide to Creating Simple and Effective Retirement Village Contracts.

The guidelines have been created to assist retirement village operators with suggestions on structure and language for new contracts.

“Retirement village contracts are sometimes criticised for being too complex – too long, confusing, or for containing ‘hidden traps’,” the National Guide states.

“As a result, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the retirement living sector is a vital and growing part of our urban fabric, providing service integrated housing to many older Australians.

“To reduce the confusion around contracts, village operators drawn from the Retirement Living Council (RLC) worked together with the RLC’s legal partner, Russell Kennedy Lawyers, to develop key elements of a good residence contract.”

With all this in mind, it’s important to make sure you’ve got all the knowledge you need to make a decision about your retirement living.

Not only does seeking legal advice help, it’s also good to have read of some of the articles here on Starts at 60 and across the internet to give yourself a good understanding of retirement living.

What do you think about all this? 

  1. Margie  

    I’m thinking of going into a village, but finding it very hard to find a place I can rent in the area I would like

  2. Hubby and I attended an information talk on retirement living and the new pension rules two weeks ago. There was literature along with supportive figures in handouts along with a great book called ” Retirement Living Handbook” by Rachel Lane & Noel Whittaker,, which are worth the time to read.
    It is worth mentioning here that in a hypothetical situation where residents who have” brought in” only have control over the dwelling and are “leasing the land” allowing them to claim rent assistance. The land being owned by a consortium, that say goes into receivership and comes for sale of the land, which maybe worth a considerable amount more than original purchasing price is sold on to wind up. The tenants then have to relocate their dwelling to another location
    Same applies if CSG mining wants the land or Main Roads or it becomes “Prime Realestate” and sold to multinationals.

  3. Cities in Australia have high cost retirement villages, where rent is unaffordable for pensioners. Others one has to pay very high cost to buy the rights to live there, never owning it and on top of that are high corporate fees.
    In smaller towns, especially rural communities there are more affordable options. I have been fortunate to have secured such a place. My bed sit is small, but I can afford to live there and Imenjoy living in this community. My children come and visit and I visit them in the cities where they live. It is worth consideration to downsize and relocate there are new adventures to be had, new friendships to make and one can afford to live comfortably with only tjemaged pension as income, as this is all many of us have.

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