Australia: ‘I've changed my mind' – A checklist for leaving your retirement village

Assisted by Holly Pitt

You've moved into a retirement village but you're no longer enjoying the lifestyle, require more assistance with daily living than what's offered or prefer a change in location. It may also be that it has become more convenient for you to live with a friend or family member. Moving can be stressful at the best of times and I often have clients coming to me with questions about financial obligations, many wondering if the process is even worth it to begin with.

The following checklist will help you prepare and avoid any unexpected costs when you walk out the door:

Where are you going to live?

Start discussing your feelings about the future with the ones close to you. It is important that they know that you are no longer interested in living in your current village. It is equally essential that you know where you are going to live beyond the moving out process. Will you be moving in with your family or a close friend? Perhaps you will be moving to a retirement village that is closer to the people you love, or even in an area you're more acquainted with or have a preference for? Getting these details straightened out early on can take a load off your shoulders when you're done with your financial obligations.

Do I pay someone something?

When you moved in, it is likely that you paid the village what is known as an 'ingoing contribution'. Now, as you are about to leave the village, it is commonplace for the operator to keep a percentage of this initial lump sum that you paid them. This is usually referred to as a departure fee and is standard across most villages. If you're not sure how much of that initial sum of money will be kept, you need to revisit the contract you signed before moving in. Your paperwork will document what percentage the village operator will be keeping but if you're having trouble finding the information or would like to confirm the exact figures, your lawyer can assist you.

In regards to what money you get back from the lump sum, according to the law, if you are what is called a 'registered interest holder' (the term will be found in your contract), then your retirement village operator should have to repay your contribution (minus their departure fee) within 14 days after the village enters a new agreement with a new resident.

This can catch out residents who are expecting to receive the money back within a short time of moving as you can be waiting significantly longer than you anticipate if the village doesn't find someone to take your place. Plan for the worst case scenario so you aren't short of funds when moving into your new home.

If you find that you are a 'non registered interest holder', all hope is not lost when it comes to receiving some of your 'ingoing contribution' back. It just means that the village operator must repay you within six months of you leaving the premises so again, you shouldn't count on having the money straightaway to assist with your relocation.

What about all money I've been paying for services and maintenance on an ongoing basis?

The recurrent charges you have been paying for things like the general maintenance of the village, payments to staff and insurance will cease if you are a 'registered interest holder'. However, the catch is that these payments will only cease once a new resident enters the premises you are leaving. Alternatively, if the village operator is unable to find a new resident within 42 days of you leaving, then you will be able to split the recurrent charges with the village; in that the village will pay half and you will pay half until a new resident can be secured. Bear in mind that this can be a significant ongoing outlay if your property isn't filled quickly following your departure – especially if you are moving to another retirement village where you will also be expected to make regular payments.

Who is responsible for selling my home in the retirement village?

It might be news to you that real estate agents often don't deal with retirement village units. In most cases, your village operator acts as the agent selling the property on your behalf. This can work in your favour as they are well-versed in dealing with retirement village contracts and, of course, it is in their best interests to receive a good return on their property. Make sure you read over the fine print in any contracts as your responsibilities for the sale may include paying commission and advertising costs. In a worst case scenario, you may also be responsible for paying for updates to the property to make it more appealing to prospective buyers.

As always, it pays (literally) to do your homework so you know exactly what costs you may be looking at. Hopefully you will be lucky and your property will be filled quickly but you should plan ahead in case your property is slow to move.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.