Housing Options

Looking for Housing? Look here for information on Retirement Villages, Independent Living Units, Abbeyfield Houses and Community Houses.

Retirement Villages

Retirement villages

Resident-funded retirement villages are an accommodation option for people retired from full-time employment, aged over 55, who wish to acquire the right to occupy a self-care unit or serviced apartment. The majority are run by private sector businesses, but a small number are run by not-for-profit organisations such as churches, and welfare agencies. Villages vary a great deal in size, services and costs.checklist

We have a checklist and an information sheet to use when considering resident funded retirement villages.

Further information is available;

Aged Care Guide – a listing of retirement villages which includes detailed information about each of them.

Consumer Affairs Victoria

  • Produce a Guide to choosing and living in a retirement village
  • Have a Public Register of Retirement Villages with a list of retirement villages which have notified the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria that they are operating under the Retirement Villages Act 1986.

Rental Units

Some residential villages do offer accommodation rental units, (sometimes known as periodic tenancy) but these are generally reserved for people with limited financial resources and are usually income assessed. The main providers of rental accommodation for seniors are non-profit organisations such as religious, charitable and other benevolent organisations and local councils. However, the private sector is beginning to develop purpose built rental accommodation for seniors.

Independent living units


An independent living unit is usually a small bed sit or apartment for an older person who can live independently.  They are usually for people aged 60 plus. Some are only for people on a low income. Most are run by not-for-profit organisations and have varying criteria for eligibility. Costs vary depending on the unit. You may have to pay an ingoing fee as well as rent.

We have an information sheet and an online directory of independent living units.

Residential parks

To live in a residential park, you usually own a movable dwelling (also called a manufactured home or relocatable home), and rent the underlying site (land) where your home is located. Residential parks are often marketed to people over 55 as an affordable housing option. They sometimes seem similar to retirement villages, but there are important differences.

Consumer Affairs Victoria have produced a publication Moveable dwellings a guide for residents, owners and managers which provides information about these differences.

Social Housing

Community Housing

Social Housing is long term rental housing for people on incomes or with special needs. It includes Public Housing and Community Housing.

In Victoria Public Housing is managed by the State Government Housing Department.

Community Housing is rental accommodation for people on low incomes or with special needs. It is usually funded by the government and managed by Housing Providers (generally either not-for-profit organisations or local governments).

These Housing Providers also provide other valuable services including:

  • Short-term housing-focused crisis support
  • Housing information and referral services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • Outreach programs to provide long-term support to people with complex needs and long histories of homelessness
  • Support and advocacy for people living in social housing to help them successfully establish and sustain their tenancies

Community Housing Federation of Victoria also provide information and support about Community Housing.

Supported Residential Services

Supported Residential Services (SRS) are privately operated businesses designed to cater for older people (or younger people living with a disability) who wish to live in a communal setting or whose health requires some support

Detailed information is available on the Victorian Government Health Department website

Abbeyfield Houses

Abbeyfield Houses

Abbeyfield Housing provide an affordable, secure housing option for people aged 55 and over who are eligible for public housing. They are suitable for people who wish to maintain their independence but need a little support to do so. They offer non-institutional family-style housing close to amenities in the local community.  Read more in our information sheet.


Homeshare brings together older householders who could benefit from help in the home and companionship, with people of integrity prepared to lend a hand in return for affordable accommodation. The Householder provides a bedroom and shared facilities. In exchange, the Homesharer provides approximately 10 hours per week of practical assistance such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and gardening, as well as providing company and the added security of having someone else sleeping in the home.

More information about Homeshare programs available throughout Australia is available on the Homeshare Australia website.

Aged care assessment

If you need some help at home or are considering moving into an aged care home, you may first need a free assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria). A member of an ACAS will talk to you about your current situation and work out if you are eligible to receive government-subsidised aged care services.

Further information about ACAS assessments is available on the My Aged Care website.

Respite care

Respite Care is a form of support to give an older person, or their carer a short term break from their usual arrangements. If you have a change in your health or care needs or your carer needs a break from their caring responsibilities alternate care can be arranged for you.

My Aged Care has information on respite options available and how to apply.

Residents rights/complaints

The Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) can give you information and advice about your legal rights. If something goes wrong, they can also help you to make an application to Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Aged Care Quality Agency checks and provides reports on the quality of residential aged care services.

Complaints about Aged Care are the responsibility of the  Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Elder Rights Advocacy is an independent agency funded by the Australian Government to provide advocacy services for people receiving Australian Government funded aged care services in Victoria We also assist carers and family members who represent the interests of aged care recipients, as well as people who have been assessed as eligible for an Australian Government funded aged care service.

Other useful information

The Commonwealth Government’s Money Smart website has information about the issues related to downsizing your home

Housing for the Aged Action Group have a publication Finding a Home – Housing options for older people in Victoria

11 Responses to Housing Options

  1. Sara Guardado says:

    Dear COTA Victoria,

    My father is 74 years of age and due to personal circumstances he is now needing a place to stay. He is a pensioner, independent and self caring. He just needs a home. I am unsure of where to turn to for help and would greatly appreciate any information and support in helping my dad. Can you help?

    Kind regards,
    Sara Guardado

  2. bmorton says:

    Hi Sara

    Have responded via email.


  3. Shannon Davies says:


    My father is a 66 year old retired pensioner and we are looking for an affordable unit for him to live independently.

    Please feel free to contact me.

  4. Hi Shannon,
    Thank you for your comment. A member of our team will respond to your request.
    Have a nice day!

    COTA Team

  5. Hi Shannon,

    thank you for your comment here more information about housing

    Have a nice day!
    COTA Team

  6. Gwen Brien says:

    Hi. We are a married aged pensioner couple living in a split level, ex Housing Commission House in Churchill. I am having problems more and more coping with the stairs here.
    Are there any appropriate one level units here in Churchill please??
    Thank you
    Gwen Brien
    Email: gwenbrien@yahoo.com.au

  7. Hi Gwen,
    Thank you for your comment. One of our team member will respond to your request by email.
    Have a nice day!

    COTA Victoria Team

  8. Ann-Marie Caspanello says:

    The property that my Mother is currently renting has been sold. She is 59 years of age and is struggling to find affordable rental accomodation. Please help!!

  9. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi Ann-Marie,

    We have information on our website (https://cotavic.org.au/info/looking-for-information/housing-options/) On this page there is an online database which includes accommodation options.

    If you or your mother would like to contact us directly to assist with options please do not hesitate to contact our information line on 1300 13 50 90 (open 9:30am to 1:00pm weekdays.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  10. Lauren Deller says:

    Dear COTA Victoria,

    My father is in his mid 70’s years and due to a caravan park closure he is now currently renting a unit nearby but is missing the community feel living the park offered and will not long term be able to sustain the high rent he is paying now. He is a pensioner, independent and self caring – but his health is starting to turn and we need to think about where will be best for him as he gets older. He just needs an affordable home with a community feel and my research isn’t really turning up many options for him .I am unsure of where to turn to for help now, can COTA help?


  11. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi Lauren,

    COTA Victoria has a program called Seniors Information Victoria which operates a phone line which is open from 9:30am to 1:00pm weekdays. You or your father are welcome to contact us on 1300 13 50 90 so we can provide both verbal and written information about housing options.

    We also have an online directory which includes listings of Independent Living Units (http://www.datascape.com.au/infocomse/cota/search.cfm) across Victoria which may be an option for your father.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer
    Seniors Information Victoria

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *