When moving into a retirement village, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by contracts and fees. To help you out, here’s a quick rundown of the types of occupancy and ownership arrangements villages have to offer.

Leasehold arrangement

Under a leasehold, the village operator owns the unit, and you take out a lease (commonly for a term of at least 99 years). If your lease is over 50 years, you’re a “registered interest holder” – meaning you have more control over the property and likely higher expenses – and if it’s under 50 years, you’re a “non-registered interest holder”.

You’ll need to pay an entry payment depending on market conditions, similar to if you were purchasing the unit outright, as well as ongoing charges to cover the village’s running costs.

Loan or licence arrangement

This is similar to a leasehold, but usually offered by charitable or Not For Profit operators. You’ll be considered a “non-registered interest holder”.

Strata or community scheme

Under a strata or community scheme, you buy the unit outright: you own it, not the operator, and are automatically granted membership in the owners corporation or community association for the village. You’ll still need to pay ongoing charges, but the unit is legally yours, and you’re a “registered interest holder”.

Company title scheme

This is an uncommon arrangement where you actually buy shares in the village itself. These shares give you the right to occupy your unit as a “registered interest holder”, with similar selling rights as under strata title, with a Board of Directors that manages the site and a company constitution you must abide by.


We’ve covered rental units before – see here for the full article – but in case you need a quick reminder, renting a retirement unit works exactly the same as renting a normal house or apartment: you pay a bond and regular rent, and there are no fees or charges when you eventually leave the village.

Remember – before you sign that retirement village contract, it’s important to know what you’re getting into! If you’d prefer to own your unit outright, then look into strata or community schemes – or consider a land lease community instead.