Conventional "Short Term" Leases
Elsewhere in the world it is common for retirement village residents to occupy their accommodation on a conventional lease basis - perhaps twelve monthly with an option to extend or continue on a month to month basis. Australia's focus on up-front capital payments is relatively unusual and either a function of history, an uncompetitive market, a lack of capital or housing stock or combination of all these factors.
It can be argued that short term leases involve residents undertaking a greater level of risk with respect to accessing and retaining accommodation, and perhaps to price increases, but the systems works successfully overseas and it is certainly much easier to compare the value provided by operators with this type of service. This sector will likely grow with time but currently it is a very small part of the retirement village market in Australia and is largely confined to the less expensive end of the market.
Long term (more than one year) residential leases are unusual in Australia but the leases are likely to cover exactly the same ground as other occupancy arrangements, detailing the rights of residents to the use and enjoyment of their specific retirement accommodation and the common areas and facilities of the village, but likely to also focus on when and on what terms a resident may terminate or renew the lease.
The legal conditions in this situation are going to be the same, in most cases, as those applying to residential tenancies - and in some cases these types of lease will fall outside Retirement Village legislation. Whether this is appropriate depends on the individual resident - if they value flexibility in their situation more than security then it may represent a good match.
Financial: Entry and Exit
No up-front capital payment is required with this form of accommodation although you may be required, as in the ordinary residential market, to pay an accommodation bond comprising 4 to 8 weeks rental. Depending on the state or territory these may be paid to a Residential Tenancies Authority and you will receive the bond in full if rental is not owed to the landlord, or the property has not been subject to unfair wear and tear.
Note that Commonwealth Government rent assistance may be available to residents drawing an Age pension, and some Villages will assume access - with rental fixed as a proportion of age pension plus rental assistance (eg. 85% of Age pension plus 100% rental assistance).
As with lease and licenses, but operators of some Villages may offer "full board" options - with meals included in the lease package.