The Reinstatement Rip Off!

We have another article from a Retirement Village resident about the grey area that is ‘reinstatement costs’ in Retirement Village contracts! Read, download and share!

If you or someone you know is living in a Retirement Village and having concerns with your contract, fees, management or resolving issues, remember you can get in touch with HAAG’s Retirement Housing Advice Team for more information and support!


Paying Dearly for a Sense of Community

We have a bonus post this month! A resident of retirement housing in Victoria got in touch with us to share an article they wrote discussing different retirement housing options available and what it means to find your ‘forever home’ in this type of housing.

Great horned owl and chicks. Photo © Scott Copeland

You can download the article below:


Alright, Senator Pocock, I’m ready for my close up!

This month RAAG discussed HAAG’s upcoming delegation to Canberra and a few RAAG members recorded interview clips to be made into a short video to share with MPs to help them understand the lived experience of housing stress and homelessness for older people.

Members answered four questions:

  • What is one thing you want MPs to understand about the current housing crisis?
  • What kind of housing would actually be suitable for you (socially, financially, physically, accessibility, community, location)?
  • Why is it important for MPs to hear people’s lived experiences?
  • What does home mean to you?

If you want to share your answers to these questions with your local MP, you can find their name and how they vote on different topics here:

In the video below you can see Sen. David Pocock introducing the delegation in Canberra for Homelessness Week, and if you click HERE, you can have a look at HAAG’s report launch called Ageing In A Housing Crisis.


Housing for older people is a right not a privilege!

This month RAAG members discussed the Inquiry into the rental and housing affordability crisis in Victoria, and their thoughts on what needs to be considered for older people to ensure they have access to safe, affordable, secure, accessible long term housing.

The group all have different opinions, experiences, perspectives, priorities and solutions, but even so they found common ground on many factors.

The group agreed that housing needed to be built in appropriate and accessible areas that older people want to live in.

They do need to have a lot of the housing for older people in appropriate areas … I want to live near people with a similar way of life and life stage.

RAAG Member

Appropriate location is vital, for instance older people, they want to be near their families … medical centers, services, transport; it’s a town planning issue too.

RAAG Member

Members discussed using census data to work out where there were higher numbers of older people in housing stress and building houses there, as well as making sure the housing was close to places, people and services vital to living happily and well!

You have the stats and you have the projections for older people and the ageing population and housing. You know older people need housing. So do something!

RAAG Member
You can see here in this image from the Victorian government’s Ageing Well Action Plan that they are aware of the population of older people in Victoria. You can see the full link HERE!

Members also raised concerns about where the money the government earmarks for housing is actually going. Members relayed feeling frustrated when millions of dollars of money for houses are mentioned, and then the money seems to vanish and the houses still aren’t being built.

The housing money provided is an appeasement but is vanishes and there is no houses. Where is the material coming from, where are human resources, where are the builders? They aren’t available so how will the houses get built.

RAAG Member

Accessibility was also discussed in relation to making sure houses that were built were fully accessible for all older people, especially those with disabilities. The group all agreed that it is important for people to be able to age in their homes without having to get major modifications as their needs change.

“We need the government to say: this is your house until you go.”

RAAG Member

The group also see the investment in housing as an investment in future older people and the positive legacy that campaigning for housing justice now will have for future generations.

Baby boomers, we need this now, but the housing will be good for the next generations too if you invest and design it properly.

RAAG Member

There were many more ideas thrown around about the housing crisis, rent increases, housing investors, pension rates, rent caps and much more!

If you would like to have your say, or keep on top of the progress of this inquiry, you can find more HERE!

If you need support to write in, or to understand more about campaigning, you can find more HERE on HAAG’s website!


A cracking code Gromit….unless?

In May the RAAG group discussed the recently established Retirement Living Code of Conduct which came into effect on January 1st, 2020. It is a voluntary Code of Conduct that retirement housing providers can sign up to to ensure they “maintain high standards across best business operations and community experiences“.

The Code of Conduct is a initiative of the Property Council of Australia (PCA), which is a nationwide body which advocates for and represents the leaders of the property industry. The PCA has a Retirement Living division which represents national retirement village and senior living community operators.

The Code also involves a independent review Panel who oversee, monitor and review the Code, and deal with matters referred to it by residents and operators. The Panel is made up of an independent chair, as well as operator and resident representatives to ensure an unbiased review process. Additionally, all Panel members have dispute resolution experience.

Members discussed the pros and cons of such an initiative; some members thought it was helpful and showed the industry’s commitment to a high standard and to the needs and voices of residents, especially given that the panel included the residents perspective.

Other members were wary of a voluntary and self-managed governing body which represents operators in the industry; they were curious how residents can be certain that the industry will hold itself accountable and remain unbiased?

Additionally, members raised the potential financial impact on resident when a retirement village signs up to the code (click here to see the sign up form). The village has to pay for accreditation, and the cost can vary for each provider depending if you are a member of the PCA or LASA, if you are a new subscriber, and how many units you have in your village.

Depending what this amount it, there is potential that this cost will be absorbed by the maintenance charges without any tangible benefit to the residents paying them. This might be worth it in some cases to ensure high standards in housing and lifestyle, but there is equally a chance that villages could promote their certification of compliance and there would be no tangible difference to the housing, financial, and wellbeing indicators for the residents.

Members were all pleased to know the Code is releasing regular annual reports, which will show how many issues have gone through the Panel and the outcomes. So far due to how new the Code and Panel are, there are minimal examples of this, but RAAG members look forward to seeing how successful this is and what can be applied to other retirement housing types, or recommended to government for policy change.

Let us know what you think!


We need a managers manager to manage the managers!

This month the group was discussing the 4 key asks from the Retirement Housing Matters Campaign, with a focus on the need for manager training and accreditation and how this could practically be implemented, regulated and enforced.

The group brainstormed different ideas such as a Cert IV in Retirement Housing management that would require people to be tested on and pass a trade standard.

The group thought the course could include training on: legislation such as the Retirement Villages Act and Residential Tenancies Act, skills in selling property and explaining contracts, having a community services skill set and a person centered point of view, mediation training, first aid training, and gerontological training.

Though this sounds helpful, members also troubleshooted some potential flaws in that system. Who would authorise it, and who would be required to do the training? The CEO? The caretakers? The middle management? Who would regulate it and enforce if people were untrained?

Members thought that a lot of the issues arise from the personality type of specific staff members. The village rules can be consistent, but a change in management can really change how they get implemented, and as one member said, “you can’t train someone to be a nice person“.

What do you think?

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Gender Equality in Retirement Housing

This month RAAG members discussed the recently released National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality Discussion Paper to talk about how gender inequality has impacted people, especially older women living in different forms of retirement housing.

The members that attended this meeting were all women, and discussed the inequality they experienced in their personal and professional lives and how that has impacted their housing and financial situations as they have aged.

Discussion revolved around superannuation, career glass ceilings, pay differences, lack of childcare, perceptions of men and women in society and how care and caring roles in the home and at work are not acknowledged or valued.

Members relayed stories of never being promoted but repeatedly having to train new male managers in the job they could do better, of being told “you don’t need superannuation because you have a husband to look after you“, and of quitting a job and finding out a man had been hired immediately after at a higher rate.

The group all agreed this is something they do not want another generation of women to go through, but also wanted to highlight the fact that older women who have lived through superannuation not existing, or not being permitted to them in their working lives need to not be forgotten in future policy changes. True gender equality cannot be ageist.

“The saying was, one for mum one for dad and one for the country – and now those women are suffering the consequences in their retirement.”

– RAAG Member

If you want to read or download the summary, it is attached as a PDF below. Consultation is open unitl April 19th! You can have your say HERE.

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Consistently Inconsistent

This month RAAG members met and discussed the differences in legislation between the states and territories across Australia when it comes to retirement housing options. Many people do not realise such legislation is not national, and even if they do, they may not realise that people’s rights and responsibilities offered to retirement housing residents can be quite different state to state/territory.

RAAG members discussed that this can also cause confusion when contracts designed in one state are applied in another when a retirement housing operator opens up an interstate location.

Members discussed that having a national legislation or regulatory body would remove some of these issues.


The idea of a national approach to retirement villages and the retirement housing sector is not a new thought – the consistency provides security and reassurance for retirement housing residents and clear accountability and responsibilities for retirement housing owners and operators. An article shared in the RAAG meeting this month is uploaded below:

If you want to see more articles about retirement housing, or older people and housing you can have a look at HAAG’s ‘Ageing on the Edge Research Library‘ and search for topics that interest you. If you have articles you want to contribute you can also do this too!


The good, the bad and the confusing…

This month the group spoke about the issues with contracts for people in retirement housing types. HAAG and RAAG have been hearing about these issues and discussing them for years, which is why unfair contracts is a key ask in the Retirement Housing Matters Campaign established by HAAG, COTA, CALC and RRVV after the 2016 Retirement Housing Inquiry.

Image taken from Retirement Housing Matters Campaign Flyer

The group discussed items such as:

  • problems arising when village staff do not know the legislation or how the contracts work and give the residents incorrect advice
  • difficulties that arise when there are many different contracts within one village; residents cannot work together on common issues if some people are not impacted
  • issues with who to go to for expert and affordable advice when there are very few legal services that are experiences in the contractual nuances of retirement housing

Similar concerns were addressed when HAAG and the Residential Tenancies Commissioner ran a Residential Parks Roundtable.

You can read about contracts on page 2 of the PDF below:


Join RAAG!

RAAG is made from people living in all different kinds of retirement housing, with all different personal and professional backgrounds – and this is what helps the group stay productive!

Though there are many similar issues across all the retirement housing types, such as unfair fees, poor management training, complex contracts, and a lack of access to impartial and binding dispute resolution processes, there are also many differences in the rights and experiences.

RAAG aims to have increases members to brach off into 2 groups when needed – one group for those in Residential Parks and Caravan Parks generally covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, and one for those living in Retirement Villages and Independent Living Units generally covered by the Retirement Villages Act so we can bore down into the specific concerns!

If you would like more information on the group and how you can be involved get in touch with us at or on 9654 7389, option 2 to hear more about the work we do!

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