A roof over your head
If you're over 55, housing is probably your biggest expense,
especially if you don't own your own home.
Here are some accommodation options you might be
Government help with housing
Public and community 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
qualify. See the Department of Social Services (DSS) website
for a list of agencies who can help you with housing assistance.
If you are 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
home. See aged
care for more information.
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.
Government consumer agencies and fair trading offices
Tenants' unions and advocacy groups
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)
gives tips on dealing with real estate services or call
them 1300 302 502.
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:
- Will you need extra railings?
- Could you replace steps with ramps?
- Think about the size of your garden and if you can afford to
maintain it if you become less mobile.
Read more at Your aged care: Home modifications and
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
If you do decide to move house once you retire, make sure you
will have easy access to public transport. This can be critical as
you get older, particularly if you can't use your own
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. Try
to ask a solicitor who has had experience with retirement village
contracts and the Retirement Village Code of Practice in your state
You should 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 Retirement
Village Residents Association (NSW) or call 02 9858 1757, and
The Aged-care Rights
Service on 02 9281 3672 (country callers 1800 424 079; TTY
users 13 36 77).
Buying or renting a
Thinking about taking your home on the road? You will have a
number of decisions to make if you plan to travel around in a
caravan or live in a caravan park. The Grey Nomads
website: Choosing A Rig can help with your research.
Caravan park residents' advocacy groups
As a caravan-park resident, you may not enjoy the same rights as
a tenant renting a property. If you are concerned about your rights
as a resident in a caravan park, you can ask for information from
the organisations listed under the Renting section above, and a
number of other organisations.
- NSW Park and Village Service
(PAVS) 02 9566 1120 (country callers 1800 131 310)
- QLD Caravan and Manufactured Home Residents Association (CAMRA)
07 3893 0733
Start researching your accommodation options now
to ensure you have an affordable roof over your head when you
Last updated: 07 Mar 2017