Q. What is the difference between Retirement Villages and Lifestyle Villages?
A. The distinction between retirement villages and lifestyle villages is often not clear because the word ‘lifestyle’ is used very freely in relation to both kinds of development but there is a clear and important distinction to be made.
Eligibility: In buying into a retirement village, residents are generally over 55 years of age. They do not need to be retired from employment.
Contracts: Villages differ in the contracts they offer and the contracts differ in the tenure or legal title they provide to residents. Examples of tenure include leasehold or loan for life or stated term, license to occupy, strata title, purple title. What you actually purchase is different under each kind of title. Some villages offer rental accommodation as well as purchased accommodation.
Legislation: Retirement Villages come under the Retirement Village Act of 1992 and the Fair Trading (Retirement Village Code) Regulations. Both the Act and the Code are currently under review. It is anticipated the new Act will not be in place until 2014.
Accreditation: Some retirement villages are accredited via a scheme initiated by the Retirement Villages Association, an organization for the owners and developers of retirement villages. Accreditation does not indicate endorsement by any government or other regulatory body.
Residents’ Association: Residents as an all-village group or as individuals may belong to WARVRA (WA Retirement Villages Residents Association) an organization formed to look after the interests of residents of retirement villages.
Eligibility: There is no fixed criterion for entry to a lifestyle village but most restrict entry to 45 years or older.
Contracts: As a rule the contracts provide for the purchase of a demountable park home and the leasing of the land on which it stands or sometimes the leasing of both the home and the land. In some cases residents may provide their own mobile or demountable home and just lease the land.
Legislation: Lifestyle villages come under the Residential Parks (Long Stay Tenants) Act. The legislation governing park homes has recently been reviewed.
Accreditation: There is no accreditation system for lifestyle villages to date.
Residents’ Association: PHOA: The Park Home Owners Association – is an organization formed to look after the interests of the residents of lifestyle villages and other park home occupants.
The main differences between retirement villages and lifestyle villages are:
- The entry age – generally 45 years for lifestyle and 55 years for retirement villages.
- In lifestyle villages, the living ‘unit’ is a demountable park home.
Note: a number of villages with ‘Lifestyle’ in their name are actually retirement villages. You can always ask which Act they come under – see above.