What are the differences between a lifestyle village and a retirement village?


The key difference between a lifestyle village and a retirement village, at a lifestyle village you manage your life and your activities yourselves. You choose how the village is run with the other residents, creating your own micro community. In most retirement villages the owners/operators manage and choose your activities.

Lifestyle and retirement villages are generally for over 55s who are seeking out a more fulfilling life with likeminded people, social activities and security – knowing your neighbor is an important part of feeling secure no matter where you are. Over 55s accommodation tends to have resort style amenities, such as swimming pools, a Clubhouse which is the hub of the village where residents can meet, read a book and socialize. Security is a big priority for over the 55s villages. Ensuring the residents feel safe is important for residents and the overall management of the village. Retirement villages tend to have more care facilities available, whilst at a lifestyle village residents tend to be more able and independent being an average of 9 years younger.

It is important to understand that the key differences lie in a couple of things, the legislation and the management. Let’s address the management of a lifestyle village first up! In a lifestyle village the residents form a social committee, a brewing committee, a garden committee etc. and it is managed amongst the residents. The owners/managers provide and look after the infrastructure and you are charged a weekly rent to cover this cost, it is the responsibility of the residents to drive and pursue the various community activities in their village.

At a retirement village the residents are managed and things are more often done for them. Local golf days are arranged by the management, card games, and other such activities are scheduled in and residents are invited to participate. At a lifestyle village the residents have access to a bus which they can drive themselves to an event, the theatre or a golf tournament for example.

The legislation as mentioned earlier is also where the major difference lies and what this means to you. The legislation is different by state so it is helpful to seek legal and financial advice before deciding which option you will choose. Here at the Margaret River Lifestyle Village we have a legal contact you can speak to who has offered his service to our clients. David Markovich of Lane Buck & Higgins are familiar with our lease and are located in the region should you want to arrange a face to face meeting with them. Their contact details are:

Ph: (08) 9757 2744 | E: david@lbh.net.au

The legislation in Western Australia places lifestyle villages under the Residential Parks Act 1998 and retirement villages fall under the Retirement Villages Act 1999. What this means is Lifestyle Villages are more broadly governed by the same legislation that applies to mobile home and caravan park residents – legislation that is more closely aligned with a tenancy agreement and retirement villages are generally governed by legislation that is more closely aligned with strata title property ownership.

So if you are considering moving into an over 55s village, be it lifestyle or retirement, we are happy to explain the lease or point you in the direction of someone who would be able to help you.

At Margaret River Lifestyle Village we are transparent with what is included in the contract and what the legislation means for our residents. We have a frequently asked questions section on our website which includes questions and answers to many of the points raised in the contracts and from the legislation. Each fortnight, we host an Information Evening at the village where we can show you around the village, the Clubhouse and the display homes as well as answer any questions you might have about our village or the industry.

The important thing to understand with a lifestyle village, you own your own home, but you lease the land it sits on. Your lease gives you the right to occupy your home on the land. It covers the costs of running the village including on-site community management, maintenance of common gardens and the streetscape (including your front garden), maintenance and running costs of the Clubhouse and other communal facilities. You are entitled to Federal Government Rent Assistance if you collect an Age Pension, so make sure you contact your local Centrelink for more information on how and what you can claim.

You pay no stamp duty for your home in a lifestyle village. There are no strata or body corporate fees as village maintenance is covered in the weekly rents. We have another post that outlines the costs of living in a village compared to living in a suburb.

When you leave the village you pay a surrender fee. This is to help keep the home purchase price at an affordable level so the lifestyle village can recover part of the costs for developing, running and maintaining the community when you sell your home. This payment is a scaled percentage, depending on how long you have been in the community. Your Surrender Fee will be capped at a maximum of 16% after four years, and payment isn’t due until you sell your home in the village.

So if you are considering your next move, make sure you do your research, speak to your friends, and contact us at the Lifestyle Village for any further information. We are happy to point you in the right direction for any extra assistance you may require.

As our village manager, Adan Nicholson always says, “we (the owner/developers) are responsible for providing a home which meets or exceeds your  expectations; a Clubhouse which meets or exceeds your expectations and to manage the village in a way that meets or exceeds your expectations.”

You might find this article or this website a useful source as part of your research: http://www.go55s.com.au/lifestyle/lifestyle-community-different-retirement-village/

The following link is a document from the Department of Consumer Protection:


This LINK is to the Donaldson Sisters website, they provide a great amount of information on the aged living industry: https://www.agedcare101.com.au/the-donaldson-sisters/


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