VIC: Retirement village residents facing huge rate hike as council test ‘lifestyle’ tax – Geelong rates up 80%.

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Victorian retirement village residents have been watching their rates bills skyrocket because of increased valuations on their units.

This week, Geelong residents have been told to expect almost 80% on their next council bill. We understand the increased valuations are caused by the way the Victorian Valuer General is advising council assessors to take into account the lifestyle amenities in villages.

It is likely that, without action, this advice will become instruction and village residents will be permanently taxed for the lifestyle they already pay a premium price to enjoy.

According to Peter Nilsson from Village Glen on the Mornington Peninsula, action is needed now to stop this in Victoria and from possibly moving across state borders.

“In our village we are budgeting for rates to go up 50% over a five year period and while the extra money is a small amount for council – it’s a huge amount for residents to find from their pensions,” said Nilsson.

“There are two main issues which need to be addressed here – this is the first time in Australia that rates are factoring in lifestyle. You could own a house right next door to our village but because you don’t have access to the golf course or facilities, your rate bill will be a lot lighter.

“The second issue is that if the rates are going to take into account the lifestyle benefits enjoyed by residents – then they should also take into account what residents pay for themselves. On our property we run our own streetlights and roads – council doesn’t pay for them, the residents do so, really they should be getting a reduction on their rates assessment, not a hike.”

Normally council valuations are based on straight land values, not land and lifestyle values. This will affect all village financing and sales it becomes standard practice.