Retirement in Jervis Bay

Retirement is a new stage of life, and some even say ‘life begins at retirement’. You may be looking forward to putting your feet up or pottering around the garden, or want to fill your time with volunteering or social group activities.

Whatever you want to do, where you choose to spend your retirement is just as important as how you spend your retirement, and more people are opting to live in a retirement village.

According to the Property Council of Australia, in 2014, there were more than 2300 retirement villages in Australia and around 184,000 seniors living in retirement villages. However that figure is expected to double with some predicting as many as 382,000 people will be living in retirement villages by 2025.

Retirement villages in Jervis Bay and the Bay & Basin region

Retirement Villages are housing developments offering a range of accommodation options, services and facilities. These vary from swimming pools and golf courses to social events and 24-hour emergency assistance. You may also be attracted to the opportunity to downsize into a like-minded community with additional benefits while maintaining your independent living lifestyle.

Although there are other costs associated with retirement villages, properties are often cheaper than similar sized homes in the same area. Some villages also have rental properties, meaning you can still enjoy the benefits of retirement village living without having to own the home.

A retirement village is essentially a managed community for seniors, although the term is something of a misnomer because you don’t necessarily have to be retired at all. Entry is generally restricted to people who are over 55 years of age or have retired from full-time employment, and their spouses.

Each Australian State and Territory has enacted specific retirement villages legislation that defines what is and what is not a retirement village for the purposes of the legislation and regulates many aspects of the relationship between retirement village operators and their residents and prospective residents.

Manufactured home villages for those over 50 and rental villages for those over 50 are also managed communities for seniors, even though they generally don’t fall within the technical definition of a retirement village under the relevant retirement village legislation and are regulated by specific manufactured home and tenancy legislation.

Retirement villages, manufactured home villages and rental villages may also be called, described or referred to as over 55’s villages, over 50’s villages, lifestyle villages, lifestyle resorts, lifestyle communities, lifestyle estates, retirement resorts, retirement communities, retirement estates or retirement homes.

When we refer to retirement villages on this website, we generally mean retirement villages for the over 55s, manufactured home villages for the over 50s and rental villages for the over 50s, whatever they may be called and however they may be described or referred to.

What Are The Main Benefits Of Retirement Village Living?

The first and most obvious benefit of retirement village living is community. Being part of a community of like minded 55+ or 50+ people and enjoying the social contact, interaction, companionship and physical and emotional security that it provides is priceless.

The second benefit of retirement village living is lifestyle and convenience. Most retirement villages offer a range of shared common areas and facilities and relatively low maintenance homes and gardens that you can “lock and leave” if you want to travel. Many are geographically situated in desirable locations and are close to appropriate amenities and services.

The third benefit of retirement village living is flexible services. Most retirement villages offer independent living units (ILUs), which are sometimes called self care units or apartments, and provide a range of general services for the benefit of all residents. Many also offer additional services, sometimes including personal care, on an “as required” and “pay as you go” basis. So as your needs change, the services you receive can be adjusted accordingly. Some retirement villages also offer serviced apartments, which are sometimes called assisted living units or apartments. These apartments are usually offered with a standard package of services, such as housekeeping, meals and laundry and linen. If you require more services than the village offers, you can also arrange additional home care services privately.

The fourth benefit of retirement village living is purely economic. Facilities and services can be provided to a community of seniors more efficiently than they can be provided to a dispersed group of individuals. It is of course important to ensure that the benefit of this efficiency is equitably shared between the operator (as profit) and the residents (through lower costs and charges).

Are There Any Negatives To Retirement Village Living?

The main difficulty with retirement villages is their complexity, which is largely the result of:

  • the range of different and sometimes unfamiliar legal structures that are used
  • extensive legal documentation that can vary significantly from village to village, even where the same legal structure is used
  • financial arrangements that are complicated and unusual and can vary significantly from village to village
  • legislation that is different in each State and Territory.

The financial arrangements include ongoing recurrent charges and also usually include a unique fee, called a departure fee, exit fee, deferred management fee or DMF, which is paid when the resident permanently vacates the premises. The formula used to calculate this fee can vary from village to village, making it difficult to shop around and compare homes in different retirement villages because there is much more to consider than just the respective entry prices.

Confusion about the financial arrangements and what happens when the home is permanently vacated have historically been the cause of most of the problems and disputes associated with retirement villages. In most States, the retirement village legislation has increased disclosure requirements and clarified the resale process, but it is still very important to do proper due diligence and understand the legal and financial arrangements before you make a commitment.

Getting help can be difficult because there are relatively few lawyers, financial advisers and real estate agents with comprehensive retirement village experience.

Finding rental accommodation in the main metropolitan centres like Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Darwin can also be a challenge.

Search our Retirement Village Directory

Retirement Villages and Homes – Top 10 Tips

There is a lot to do and think about before you move to a retirement village. The following list should help you get started.

Don’t leave it too late

Moving to a retirement village is essentially a lifestyle decision so it doesn’t necessarily make sense to put it off until your health starts to fail, your mobility starts to deteriorate, or your spouse moves into residential aged care or dies. Depending on the village, there could be a waiting list to get in or for particular home styles, configurations or locations.

Shop around

It’s a good idea to look at several retirement villages before you make a final decision. You will then have at least some basis for comparison, which is usually the best way to identify relative value for money. 

Do you have a pet?

If you have a furry friend who simply must come with you, then this should be one of your first considerations because not all retirement villages allow pets and those that do usually require prior approval. The listings in our retirement village directory indicate whether the village is pet friendly and may include information about the village pet policy, but you should confirm that your particular pet will be welcome.

Do lots of research

For each village, go over the unit, the village and the surrounding area in detail to satisfy yourself that they are appropriate for your requirements. Talk to village management and current residents, particularly members of any Residents’ Committee, and carefully observe daily life in the village.

Think ahead

Satisfy yourself that the village will be able to efficiently meet your needs in the future if you require additional assistance as you age. Consider whether other services you may need are available in the area.

Read the disclosure documentation and marketing material carefully

In most States the relevant legislation imposes a fairly high disclosure requirement on the village operator, so you can expect to receive a range of disclosure documents, as well as marketing material. Read it and don’t rely on anything that’s not in writing. The documentation should set out a lot of important information that you need to know and which will help you make comparisons between different villages. In particular it should outline the legal structure, initial entry price, ongoing charges, how much stamp duty will be payable on the contract and what happens when you leave the village, including whether a departure fee is payable.

Understand the departure fee

If there is a departure fee, understand how the formula works and estimate how much it could be in a range of scenarios. Satisfy yourself that the structure is appropriate for your intended or likely period of occupation. Remember that in most cases capital gain foregone or handed back is effectively part of the departure fee.

Remember it’s a job lot

Don’t make decisions based solely on the legal structure or the initial entry price or the ongoing charges or the departure fee structure. Retirement villages offer a range of benefits and involve a number of costs and risks, all of which should be taken into consideration.

Find a lawyer with retirement village experience

Retirement villages are a specialized area of law and the legal documentation that you will be required to sign will be quite lengthy and complicated. So it makes good sense to find a lawyer who has suitable experience and doesn’t have to muddle through or reinvent the wheel. You should endeavour to read the legal documentation and then discuss it with your lawyer in detail to ensure that you understand it and that it includes all information on which you have relied. 

Don’t forget the big picture.

Always remember that as well as a home, you need money to live on. Put a financial plan in place that will ensure that you can have your cake and eat it too. If you don’t have a will or it no longer reflects your wishes, make one or have it updated.