Land lease communities and traditional retirement villages have many similarities – both are designed for retirees who live independently and are seeking the security, friendly social environment and facilities of an age appropriate community.

What They Differ

Provision of a private secure and friendly community environment for retirees.Yes
A land lease community is a managed community. The law about land lease communities is regulated by NSW Fair Trading under the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013.
A retirement community is a managed community for retirees. Retirement villages are regulated by NSW Fair Trading under the NSW  Retirement Villages Act 1999.
Restricted to seniors aged 50+Most are
Land lease communities can have working, semi-retired and retired residents – most attract residents aged 50 +. Some land lease communities have residents of all ages. Those directed at the retiree market have age restrictions with rules limiting entry to over 50s or 55s for example.
Retirement villages are primarily for those aged 55+ or who have retired from full-time employment.
Gardens and recreational amenitiesYes 
Many land lease communities are located within landscaped grounds with resort style amenities such as club houses, swimming pools, bowling greens and tennis courts
Many traditional and modern retirement villages offer resort style recreational amenities and landscaped gardens.
Some land lease communities are gated, with a boom gate and onsite and after-hours security and assistance.
Traditional and modern retirement villages offer onsite management during business hours and on-call access to after-hours security and assistance.
Exclusively for permanent residentsYes 
Generally, sites are exclusively for permanent residents. However, some can also accommodate short-term holidaymakers.
Retirement villages are exclusively for permanent residents.
Maintenance  of Common AreasYes 
Maintenance of all common areas and facilities is the responsibility of the community operator.
Maintenance of all common areas is generally the responsibility of the village operator. In the case of strata retirement villages, the Owners Corporation is responsible.
Home MaintenanceNo
Maintenance of the home on the site is the responsibility of the home owner. Under the site agreement home owners have to maintain their homes in good order, consistent with the standards of housing in the community.
In most retirement villages maintenance of homes is the responsibility of the village operator.

In strata villages maintenance of the home is primary the responsibility of the Owners Corporation.
Onsite ManagementYes
Most land lease communities have onsite management offices and personnel whose role is to coordinate maintenance, administration and community activities.
Most retirement villages have onsite management offices and personnel whose role is to coordinate maintenance, administration and community activities.
Additional ServicesYes
Land lease communities are suitable for people who can live independently, however, as people age the community manager may assist them to coordinate additional home care services such as cleaning, home maintenance and meal assistance. These are usually external services that are paid separately by the hom eowner.
Retirement villages are for those who can live independently but the community manager can assist them to coordinate additional home care services such as cleaning, home maintenance and meal assistance on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Security of TenureYes
The community operator cannot terminate a residential site agreement without specific grounds; these are clearly set out under the Act and are usually also specified in site agreements. In some limited instances– such as sale or redevelopment of the land, operators can terminate site agreements. However if they initiate such action for these reasons they will have to pay compensation to home owners to assist them in moving.
Generally, the only circumstances that allow for removal of a resident revolve around a breach of the terms of the contract/license or village rules and by-laws.

How They Differ

The main differences between residential land lease communities and retirement villages are the type of contractual arrangements that are in place, their level of affordability and the legislation governing their operation.

Home Owners in Residential Land Lease Communities

Sign a site agreement with the Community operator and pay an average site rental fee of between $120-$300 per week.

Pensioners are able to offset part of this cost through the Commonwealth Government’s Rental Assistance scheme. To find out if you are eligible for rental assistance and the level of rebate you can claim click here.

You also purchase a manufactured home – either new or ‘pre-loved’. The average purchase price for a manufactured home within a land lease community ranges between $100,000 – to more than $300,000 (home costs vary according to the size and age of the home).

When a home owner chooses to leave the community they generally just sell the home to another incoming purchaser.

Residents of Retirement Villages

Have several different contractual models the most common of which are loan/licence or loan/lease agreements. With these agreements, residents pay an entry fee or ‘incoming contribution’, which can range between $300,000 – $1 million+.

The incoming contribution purchases either a long-term lease or a licence, which gives incoming residents a ‘right to occupy’ a unit or villa within the village.

Residents also pay service and maintenance charges which can average between $100- $200 per week depending on the size of the village and the facilities and services that are offered.

When the resident leaves the village their original inbound payment maybe refunded – less applicable exit fees (also known as a Deferred Management Fee).

As an example, if a resident pays $350,000 to enter a retirement village when they leave they are refunded their original contribution less a 35 per cent exit fee of $122,500.

There are also strata retirement villages where residents purchase the freehold to a unit or villa within the village.

In these instances residents become a member of an owners corporation and pay fees. When they leave they sell their unit or villa on the open market.

Type of Contracts

Land Lease Community vs. Retirement Village

Type of CommunityContractType of Tenure
Land Lease Community (Leasehold)Site AgreementA lease for the land on which your home is located.
Retirement VillageLoan/ Licence or Loan/Lease AgreementResidents purchase a right to occupy a unit or villa within a retirement village.
Retirement Village (Strata Title)Freehold Strata Title to a ‘lot’ which includes the residence plus ownership of common property within the villageResidents buy a strata title to a unit or villa within a retirement village and as members of the owners corporation jointly own common areas and are responsible for their maintenance and upkeep.

Compare Costs

Land lease communities are generally more affordable than retirement villages – largely because of the level of entry and exit fees that are payable. The chart below highlights the main cost differences.

Cost Comparisons – Land Lease Communities vs. Retirement Communities

Land Lease Living


Manufactured House Purchase Price

$100,000 – $300,000 +

Depends on size, style, new or ‘pre-loved’

Weekly Site Rental Fees

$100-$200 per week (on average)

Depends on lot size & location

Rent Assistance

Pensioners can claim Commonwealth Government Rent Assistance to help offset site rental fees.  Different rates of rent assistance apply for couples, singles or those sharing a house e.g. couples can currently claim a maximum of $122.80 per fortnight.

Stamp Duty

Not charged on Land Lease site agreements and housing purchases

Council Rates

Not charged to residents of Land Lease communities

Exit Fees

Not usually charged

Retirement Village

Loan/Lease or Loan/Licence

Upfront Entry Payment

Upfront entry payment – prices can reflect local real estate values.

Depends on size, location, amenity and age of village.

Weekly Service Charges


Charges vary between standards of villages and their level of amenity.

Rent Assistance

Yes – but only if the in going contribution is less than $151,500

Stamp Duty

No stamp duty paid on loan/licence or loan/lease agreements

Council Rates

Not charged to residents of these type of Retirement Villages

Exit Fees

Yes. A range of fees including a Deferred Management Fee and refurbishment costs.

Retirement Village

Strata Title

Purchase Price

Payment of purchase price for the property – can reflect local real estate values.

Depends on size, location amenity and age of village

Quarterly Owners Corporation Fees

Quarterly Owners Corporation Fees

$1500+ depends on amenities & maintenance requirements

Rent Assistance

Not applicable

Stamp Duty

Yes. Payable on sale price of unit

Council Rates

Yes. Payable by resident

Exit Fees

Yes. Payable as either a percentage of the entry price or as a percentage of the re-sale price of the unit or villa (e.g. up to 50% of capital gain).

(Figures are estimates based as at August 2016)

Reconnect with your family

Many communities welcome fury friends

You can choose to be as active as you wish

Always a mate to have a chat with