What are rental villages?
Rental villages mainly provide accommodation to older people, say aged 60+, and well into their 80’s.
There are two types of rental village in Australia.
The first is the traditional retirement village where the operator provides a number of village units available for rent.
- Almost all are owned by Not For Profit organisations and they provide the rental units as part of their mission to provide ‘affordable housing’ for the less well off.
- These rental unit numbers are limited are not advertised in most cases. You need to ask if any units are available for rent.
The second is the single purpose rental village which is a gated community, usually with around 50 single bedrooms or studio units and a community dining room.
- Bed, furniture, fridge and low-level cooking facilities are included.
- You can rent a unit on a weekly basis and usually at least one meal a day is included as an option.
There are approximately 300 of these rental villages across Australia as a result of a short popularity amongst property developers around 1995 to 2005. Virtually none have been built since because of the cost and potential return.
Nearly all rental villages are in regional locations.
They provide a safe environment with simple support services such as cleaning and linen. A village manager also provides support in keeping an eye on your welfare. The village manager, however, has no legal responsibility to deliver services beyond accommodation.
Some people move into rental villages as a secure, long-term housing solution understanding that the cost will consume most of their pension.
Others move into a rental village as a transition from a hospital because they cannot return to their normal lodgings on their own.
The majority of rental villages are owned by local investment syndicates who pay for a manager to operate the village.
Two publicly listed companies are steadily acquiring rental villages from investor syndicates and standardising operations.They are Ingenia with their 'Gardens' brand and Eureka. In 2016 they account for 60 of the 300 villages.
Do rental villages support ageing
Rental villages are ‘ageing friendly’ in that most are designed with no trip hazards and easy movement within the village. They also provide meals and simple support services like cleaning, but not much more.
Some will assist in the organisation of home care services to be delivered and structure their meals to be nutritious. They will also organise activities. But these are up to the individual village or operator, so you will need to check each village you visit. The operator has no legal responsibility to provide ageing services.
The finances and contract
Each operator has a different rental deal so you need to ask.
The basic concept is that your one bed or studio unit is provided on a weekly basis, with cleaning and fresh linen. Electricity is provided but you have to supply your own phone. One meal is available in the community dining room which may be part of the rent or charged separately.
As a benchmark, consider the 70% - 80% of the pension as the weekly rental fee.There is no contract - most are a week to week rental agreement.