New website shines spotlight on retirement village fees

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A Victorian lawyer hopes to encourage greater transparency in retirement village contracts and fees through a recently-launched comparison website.

Founder and Managing Director of, Jessica Kinnear, blames confusing documentation for creating some of the misunderstandings about the retirement village sector.

“The retirement living industry in Australia is currently going through a challenging time, with much of the negative public perception stemming from insufficient transparency, misconceptions and complexity, particularly around fees,” said Ms Kinnear.

“We recognised that the large number of older Australians who were considering moving into a retirement village didn’t know where to start the process or how to adequately compare retirement living accommodation.

“Essentially people had no way to easily compare what is a complex product and this has led to a lot of confusion and complaints about the industry.” details the different types of agreements available from operators, which can vary from state to state, as each jurisdiction has its own regulations for the sector.

Jessica Kinnear

Ms Kinnear told YourLifeChoices that the website is independent, but village operators do pay a fee when an enquiry is made on a listed property.

At the time of writing, there were just 118 village units listed – mostly in NSW and Queensland – but Ms Kinnear said that, in coming weeks, she expects hundreds more to be added.

Among the operators represented on the site are large operators such as Lendlease, Aveo and RetireAustralia, as well as small to medium-sized villages run by Lifestyle Communities, Regis, Japara, Greengate, and The Village Retirement Group.

According to, visitors to the free site will be able to:

  •  compare retirement living fees (from entry fees, ongoing fees and departure fees), as well as lifestyle features such as village facilities and access to services
  • enquire directly to the village operator for more information or to request a property inspection or village tour
  • calculate a departure entitlement, which gives users an estimate of what they could expect to receive when they leave a village.

Before launching the site, Ms Kinnear was an in-house lawyer at Lendlease. Prior to that she was employed by law firm Russell Kennedy to offer legal advice to retirement village operators and prospective purchasers of units, although not at the same time.

Would you be more inclined to buy into a retirement village if you could compare several of them? Have you had problems understanding village contracts?

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Written by Olga Galacho


Total Comments: 27
  1. 0

    I still like the idea of being permanently booked on a cruise ship with lower costs and better food… as it stands I may well be residing on a boat in my eventual full retirement….

    • 0

      I’m looking for one, like the 50′ yacht I owned, that doesn’t get rammed and sunk by the idiot who runs the marina, who then denied the whole thing. Quite a few people ‘in the know’ said differently.

    • 0

      Only cheap ship you could afford likely to be a leaky wooden boat in Asia Trebor. Cruise ships are pretty expensive…and who wants to permanently be on a ship.

  2. 0

    Paying rent with a huge deposit and then on exit paying again for something u will never own is plundering retirees nest eggs for huge profits..why can’t retirement villages offer owner status to retirees and exact a weekly toll for amenities..that way home ownership allows appreciation for the next phase of a retiree’s life. THE CAMP LIFE OF A RETIREMENT VILLAGE MAKES FOR A TEMPORARY NIRVANA UNTIL THE TRUE COST IS REALISED

  3. 0


  4. 0

    They’re for profit. Therefore you will be ripped off.

  5. 0

    I respect the comments that are posted. However unless you actually live in a retirement village there is a lot of misinformation that can influence a persons decision. I live in a retirement village and have been for nearly 10 years (best move we had ever made). My advice to people who ask my advice is, that it is a lifestyle that is not for everyone, with respect about valued appreciation of accommodation? Fact, you will not be around to worry about it and family should be grateful for any return as long as you had quality of life. And again there are village operators that are only after one thing, your money and that why you need to seek professional advice to be able to find an operator that you feel is right for you.

  6. 0

    As usual, Tasmania has been left off the map altogether. Pretty useless site so far, but maybe a beginning and something useful comes out in a few years

  7. 0

    Had a good laugh when I saw photo of the “retired”couple contemplating a retirement village at top of this article.
    Nobody in retirement villages look anything like them!

  8. 0

    From what I’ve seen of retirement villages, I wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole.

  9. 0

    Do you get the feeling that everyone has got the message. Retirement villages are a ripoff.

    • 0

      That’s your opinion.
      My wife and I have lived in a Retirement Village for 14 years, and are perfectly happy. We could afford a three bedroom “independant living villa”, five hundred meters from a pretty complete shopping village, and within 20 minutes drive from beaches from Caloundra to Coolum, Airport, hospitals …. ar a cost of several hundred thousand dollars less than a comparable house in the same suburb. – This sum has provided us with half a dozen cruises, several motoring holidays within Australia, from Townsville to Tasmania, while we could still manage them physically, and now provides us with a quality lifestyle, secure accomodation, with all maintenance provided, for management fees about half what friends pay for body corporate fees, rates etc in an apartment.
      So our kids will get only half its cost back eventually? They’re quite happy with that – they haven’t had to worry about us for all those years.

    • 0

      Ok nev37 which retirement village are you with because a lot of people here are looking for a village that isn’t a ripoff.

  10. 0

    Should look into 50 plus lifestyle villages. Buy your home and rent the land, full capital gain and pay a weekly fee for staff, use of complex and rates. Been in our place at Newcastle NSW, paid $388,000 in 2014 and now worth around $620,000 if we sell.

    • 0

      Which retirement village are with because they have lost the trust of most people here. Or is 50 plus lifestyle village the company?

    • 0

      There are a few around, I am at Palm Lake Resort Newcastle. You could search for Lifestyle Villages on the internet. I do not believe there are any in Sydney of this kind.

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