Discover the difference: over 55’s lifestyle communities vs. retirement villages | MHIA Insurance
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Discover the difference: over 55’s lifestyle communities vs. retirement villages

4 minute read

Ever wondered what sets retirement villages apart from over 55's lifestyle communities? At MHIA, we specialize in home and contents insurance for over 55’s communities as well as contents-only coverage for retirement villages. This means we've gathered valuable insights into the differences our customers experience.

Both options offer unique leisure and ownership arrangements, which have a significant impact on residents’ lives and finances. If you want to be able to make an informed decision then this is the blog you should read.

Over 55's Lifestyle Communities

First let's explore over 55's communities, also known as land lease communities. These communities are filled exclusively with land lease homes, and here's how they work: you buy the home itself, which becomes your property, and you rent the land it sits on from the community operator. The rental fees you pay cover the use of the land, maintenance, and added security. You personally manage your water and electricity expenses, giving you control over your utilities. Many of these vibrant communities boast club houses, pools, bowling greens and active outdoor spaces accessible exclusively to members.

These communities are designed with a particular focus in mind – offering a fresh start to anyone over 55 looking to downsize and embark on new adventures with likeminded people. It's all about redefining retirement – think travel, fun, excitement, and a sense of belonging.

Retirement Villages

Now, let's explore retirement villages, which come in three main types: freehold, leasehold, and license options. No matter the type, all of them come with monthly fees, in addition to varying upfront costs, which can differ from one village to another. These monthly fees cover essential expenses like council rates, utilities, building maintenance, building insurance, and 24-hour emergency call systems. Importantly, residents have a say in fee increases – they can't be raised without your approval. Here's a closer look at each type:


In freehold villages, you own the unit on a strata title, treating it much like a regular house. This also means you'll pay stamp duty, similar to any other property purchase, since it becomes your asset.


In leasehold villages, you essentially lease the property for a set period, and you have the right to reside in it during that time. Since it's more like renting, there's no stamp duty involved, and your lease is registered on the village's title.


Now, for the license option – it's akin to leasehold as you 'license' the unit for a specific period, skipping the stamp duty. However, you won't find your name registered on the village's title.

Retirement villages offer a delightful mix of fun activities and often provide higher-needs support for those who prefer it. Some find it a more relaxed lifestyle, with additional assistance when needed.

Longevity & Security

It’s important to consider what your needs are now as well as in the future. Retirement villages often provide extended care services, allowing residents to stay longer and potentially avoid moving to a nursing home. Conversely, over 55’s communities are better suited for those with low or manageable health needs and greater mobility, offering more independence. When making your decision, it's crucial to consider your health and support requirements and pick the option that aligns with your budget and preferences, both now and into the future.

Smooth Transitions: Exiting A Lifestyle Community Vs Retirement Village

When the time comes to move on, or maybe sell up, there are some key differences between both communities to be aware of. In over 55's communities, homeowners bear the responsibility for upkeep, similar to managing a regular home. When you decide to sell, you can choose to give your home a makeover to potentially increase it’s value or leave it as is, the choice is yours.

When it's time to bid farewell to a retirement village, the operator takes care of restoring the unit to its original condition, and you're responsible for addressing fair wear and tear. These units are typically smaller, making the reinstatement process straightforward for village operators.

Choose Your Ideal Path

As you weigh your options, consider your vision for the future and the lifestyle that best aligns with your dreams. MHIA is here to safeguard your chosen path, offering specialized insurance solutions to protect your home and belongings. Reach out to us today for insurance coverage that empowers you to enjoy life on your terms.