A roof over your head
As you approach retirement you might be considering making some
changes to your living arrangements. Here we explain some options
available to you, whether you own your own home or are renting.
Staying in your family
If you plan to stay in your home as you get older, think about
making changes that can help you remain independent. You can plan
for easy-access transport and budget for modifications to your
house, so it remains comfortable to live in. For example, you might
want to install handrails or replace steps with ramps.
If you are thinking about home equity release, be sure to get
advice before you make a decision. It is a long-term
If you're thinking of downsizing to smaller or cheaper
accommodation, think about the cost of buying and selling in the
same market. There will be furniture removal costs, stamp duty,
legal fees, estate agent fees and inspection fees.
Read more about selling the family
With rising house prices, some people choose to, or have to,
rent a home. If you receive a Centrelink payment and pay board
or rent you might be eligible for Rent Assistance.
To find out more about your rights as a tenant in your state or
territory, you can contact a number of
organisations. While government consumer agencies give advice
to both real-estate owners and tenants, tenant unions and advocacy
groups are set up to give advice to tenants only.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)
website has tips on dealing with real estate services, or
call them 1300 302 502.
Government help with housing
If you find the private rental market too expensive, you might
find lower rent options in your retirement years. Church and
community organisations sometimes offer cheaper rooms or units for
retirees who do not own their homes. There's an assets test to
See the Department of Social Services (DSS) website for a list
of agencies who can help you with housing assistance.
If you're having trouble carrying out everyday tasks that used
to be easy, you may need to think about your aged care options. You
could be eligible for care and accommodation options such as in a
low-level care home (formerly a hostel), a high-level care home
(formerly a nursing home), or even a short break in an aged-care
care for more information.
Retirement villages have a range of independent, semi-supported
and flexible living options. Under the usual contract for a
retirement village unit, you do not become an owner, but you are
bound by a number of legal rights and responsibilities.
Make sure you understand all the fees and charges in the
contract, and how they could be increased. Get the agent to provide
these terms in writing.
It is very important to get legal advice before signing up. Find
a solicitor who has had experience with retirement village
contracts and the Retirement Village Code of Practice in your state
Check how much of your entry contribution and if any capital
growth in the value of your unit will be refunded if you decide to
leave the village. Also check the contract for exit fees, which can
be prohibitively high, and which you may have to pay until the unit
is sold or re-let.
More information is available from ACCC: Retirement homes or call 1300
302 502. In NSW you can also contact the Aged-Care Rights
Service on 02 9281 3672.
Start researching your accommodation options now
to ensure you have an affordable roof over your head when you
Last updated: 13 Feb 2019