Alternative Options for Community Living

Several options have emerged that combine community living with a really strong dose of independence.


Manufactured Home Villages

In manufactured home villages or estates, residents are either permanent, or parks that comprise both permanent residents and tourist sites for holiday makers.  Permanent residents own their homes and enter into a leasehold agreement with the village management to lease the land that the home occupies.


Homes are usually brought onto the village, new by the owners after having been manufactured at the factory to the homeowner’s own specifications. Alternatively, you may be able to find a home for sale that is already in a village.


You will need to sign a residential tenancy agreement for leasing the land your home sits on, and there may be additional fees for access to amenities such as swimming pools, exercise centers, etc. Most villages have scheduled social gatherings, including village-wide barbeques, tennis or chess opportunities, etc., as well. In many cases courtesy buses will transport residents to shopping or other specific outings.


Manufactured home villages are not “one size fits all.” Some are for seniors only and some are not. Some restrict access to common facilities and some do not. In many villages the management lives on-site, and sometimes they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Villages engender a close-knit community feeling, where neighbours watch out for neighbours. This element is extremely attractive to many seniors, who believe independent living in their own home is the best option, but want a location where they are not isolated, but rather, have community to depend on.


Seniors who buy their homes new from the factory also have the added benefit of designing their own homes to their exact specifications. The homes are hauled by trailer to the manufactured home village, unlike modular homes, which are transported in pieces. Manufactured homes are sturdier and more reliable than their counterparts, and, depending on your financial resources, can offer all the amenities possible.


Once purchased, the home is yours. There is no stamp duty tax on a manufactured home, and no need to pay land fees or council rates on the leased land. You also may be eligible for rent assistance from Centrelink.


Your research into manufactured home villages will first include meeting your own needs for location, climate, proximity to family and friends and the like. But before you actually sign a residential tenancy agreement, ask questions about the nature of the agreement and the rules and regulations of the village, such as the following:  


•       Is the village open only to permanent residents, or do you allow for part time occupancy; is it only for seniors, or all ages?

•       What happens if the village is sold or if regulations change?

•       What restrictions, if any, are there on visitors, pets, and the like?

•       What restrictions, if any, are there on the type of home that can be moved into the village?

•       What amenities are available; what are the regulations for use of common facilities?


Consult with a professional to help you craft a full list of questions that are most relevant to your situation. He or she will help you evaluate the rental/lease agreement for the property, and understand your rights. For additional information, click here to view Department of Fair Trading NSW Factsheet on Residential Park Living.


Co-Housing Communities


Living Aboard in Retirement