Are pets allowed in retirement villages? It is hands down the most common question we get asked. Unfortunately, there’s not a yes or no answer. 

While more and more retirement providers are allowing pets, this wasn’t always the case. As recently as 2018, over 80% of retirement villages didn’t allow pets, with many banning them outright.

In this blog, we’ll explore what’s involved in getting your pet into a retirement village. We will also cover things you need to be mindful of.  


The risks and rewards of pets in retirement villages

Firstly, it should be stated that retirement facilities want to support older people and their pets. After all, retiring and ageing can be stressful and pets help!

However, accepting pets must be done in a way that doesn’t negatively impact other residents.

Most retirement village contracts have a line relating to your right to a quiet, safe, and uninterrupted occupation. It becomes the operator’s legal responsibility to deliver these rights to you. If pets affect this, then the operator is failing to deliver under the terms of the contract.


Can my pet come with me?

Understandably, this means not all pets are appropriate for retirement villages.

A fat, lazy cat or even an ageing golden retriever may be okay, while a young, boisterous puppy may be questioned. It really does depend on the individual animal.

For instance, a village in Queensland allowed birds as pets. But one resident’s bird chirped away all day and a neighbour objected. When the matter was taken to the Consumer Tribunal, it was ruled the bird had to go. The operator was also fined for not delivering on their contract.

In other cases, you might be allowed to bring your pet with you. But when it passes away, you may not be allowed to replace it.

We recommend discussing pet policies with existing village residents as well as the resident’s committee before buying into a retirement community.


Who decides which pets are allowed in my retirement village?

The village manager usually applies pet guidelines. They are generally supported by representatives of the village residents’ committee.

If you have a pet, your first step is always to check the village contract and its pet policy.

Those that do have a clear-cut, no pets allowed policy are often older, with contracts that haven’t been updated for many years. It’s becoming increasingly rare for modern retirement villages not to allow pets in some capacity.