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Retirement village questions answered

04 January 2016

Here are the answers to some common questions you might have about retirement villages.

Happy retired couple
What fees should I expect? Can I bring my pet?

Is there a minimum age restriction for residents of a retirement village?

Most villages will specify a minimum age of between 55 and 60. These minimum ages will vary and can depend on the local planning requirements. Some may specify, if there is a couple occupying a property, that only one of them needs to be the minimum age. 

Will I own the property where I live?

Most retirement village properties are offered on a leasehold basis, in a similar way to how flats and apartments are commonly sold. Some villages can provide properties to rent too.

Confused by all the fees and charges? Read our retirement village jargon buster.

How does a leasehold work?

Unlike a freehold where you own both the building and the land it is on, a leasehold gives you the ownership of a building, or portion of a building, for a set period of time. Most flats or apartments, whether in a retirement village or not, are sold as leasehold properties.

Can I sell my home if I wish?

If you are a leaseholder, you can sell your home. There are likely to be fees to pay when your property is sold. These fees should be clearly outlined before you agree to buy the property and fully explained to you by your solicitor.

What is it like to live in a retirement village?

Am I responsible for my household bills?

Yes, you will be in control and responsible for all bills for household utilities, such as electricity, water and gas.

Can I make changes or improvements to my home?

Decorative changes may be allowed by the village’s management. In some cases it is part of the contract to maintain good decorative order. 

It is unlikely that structural changes would be permitted. You do need to check this with your village operator or owner.

What fees should I expect?

Every monthly, annual and one-off fees should be clearly outlined by the operator of the retirement village. 

As retirement villages offer more facilities than standard retirement homes, there are fees to cover the cost of the services and amenities provided. The more there are, the higher these fees are likely to be. 

As well as fees for the management and provision of services, there are fees charged at the end of your residency too such as ‘exit’ or ‘deferred management’ fees. The village’s operator should tell you all about these, however you should ensure your solicitor talks you through each one of them too.

Things you should ask when looking around a retirement village.

What is included in the monthly fee?

You need to investigate this thoroughly with the retirement village you have in mind. 

Generally, the fee covers such things as the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, the village administration, communal care cover and provision of basic village services. There may be other fees to pay for any extra facilities offered by the village and any individual care you have arranged.

Can I bring my pet?

Most villages will welcome you bringing your pet with you when you move in. There may be some restrictions in certain areas, for example designated ‘pet-free’ apartments or communal areas, such as restaurants and cafés.

Retirement Living Guide

For further information about retirement living and how to find your perfect home, download and read our complete guide to Retirement Living and Villages.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.