Retirement Living Council wants a level field to take on land lease developers with changes to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)

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With land lease operators proving to be the most affordable option, the Property Council’s Retirement Living Council has for the first time recommended Federal Government provide rental assistance to prospective village residents.

With 90% occupancy across retirement villages, the peak body wants to allow people with lower incomes, including mature-age single women, to move into the safe environment of a retirement village.

Retirement Living Council CEO Ben Myers (pictured) said the sector had “not been focused on selling our stories”.

“We want people with fairly modest savings to look at buying into a retirement village,” he said.

A retirement village resident is deemed to be a homeowner (even if they do not have freehold or strata title of their unit) when their ingoing contribution is more than the difference between the homeowner ($268,000 single) and non-homeowner ($482,500) asset threshold. This means, if a retirement village resident pays an ingoing contribution higher than $214,500, they are ineligible for CRA.

Land leasing allows buyers to avoid stamp duty, a deferred management fee and council rates, and potentially to claim Commonwealth Rental Assistance, making it a cheaper alternative than retirement villages. The $214,500 cap does not apply to land lease communities.

“Retirement living – a solution for older women at risk of homelessness”, a report by the Retirement Living Council, released on Monday, is calling on the Federal Government to remove the $214,000 incoming contribution price cap for villages.

The report also recommends:

  • making more retirement living properties eligible for Commonwealth Rental Assistance,
  • introducing government-backed loans to help eligible people enter retirement communities,
  • allowing early access to superannuation to help older women secure retirement living housing, and
  • new incentives and grants to support innovative retirement living projects.
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