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

36 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

  12. Lauren Deller says:

    Thanks so much Brenda 🙂

  13. Theresa hart says:

    Hellow Im 58 & Having trouble paying Private Rent .Only Income is My Disability Pension .No other Assets or Savings . Unable to work Due To Strokes .have no one to Connect to or Ask for help in finding Affordable Housing . Could you Please Help me in Any way Regards Theresa

  14. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi Theresa,

    Thanks for your comment. We have information about housing options we can offer about your options. We can discuss them over the phone or you can call us on 1300 13 50 90 and make an appointment to come into the office. In the first instance we will send you an email.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  15. Rhonda holland says:

    Hi I am 58 and working part time I am struggling to pay my bills and rent on my own .. I moved to an area that was more affordable but do not know anyone here and my family and children live over 3 hours away … I feel very lonely and wish to be closer to my children and grandkids but I can’t afford rentals there way on my own can you please advise me on what I can do regards rhonda

  16. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi Rhonda,

    We would like to offer information as per your post however we need more information to be able to provide the most appropriate response. Would you kindly contact our Seniors Information line on 1300 13 50 90 (open 9:30am to 1:00pm weekdays).


    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  17. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi Rhonda,

    COTA Victoria has a program called Seniors Information Victoria. We will contact you offline regarding this comment.

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  18. rebecca says:

    hi, my husbands grandma is homeless as his uncle sold her house and took the proceeds. she can not live with us as we dont have space and she requires care as she is disabled. We need help urgently as she has nowhere to live and has been livign with us and on peoples couches. can you guide me with what to do? her carer is not able to find her anywhere as she is too old.

  19. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Your husband’s grandmother should contact Housing for the Aged Action Group. They have a program called Home at Last to support seniors with housing issues. They can be contacted on 1300 765 178.

    If they are not able to help please do not hesitate to contact our Information Line on 1300 13 50 90 (open 9:30am to 1:00pm weekdays except public holidays).

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  20. K. says:

    In urgent need of finding suitable & affordable independent living for an 81 year old pensioner.
    No assets, No debt, Independent & Scocial.
    She has been residing in our family home for over 6 months now but is in desperate need to live independently within a community complex preferably within a close program to the Melbourne CBD as good public transport access is a requirement. (No drivers licenve) However open to all options throughout the eastern suburbs.
    After 6 months we are now at a crisis point in the health & wellbeing for all involved but primarily in fostering support for her continued capabilities of living independently.
    If you are able to offer assistance it would be appreciated.

  21. Brenda Lacey says:

    Hi K,

    I’m responding to your comment on our website.

    The first organization – and the best placed to support people in this situation – is Housing for the Aged Action Group. They have a program called Home at Last which supports older people to find accommodation.

    Their contact number is 1300 765 178.

    Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact our Information Line on 1300 13 50 90 (open 9:30am to 1:00pm weekdays except public holidays).

    Brenda Lacey
    Information Officer

  22. Joseph Fernandes says:

    I am D S Pensioner i am in of rental retirement unit as i am single and separated i can manage independently but i need a safe place to stay i dont drink and smoke and find it difficult to stay in rooming houses i suffer from depression and blood pressure kindly help me and reply to my email Thanking you Joseph

  23. Mardie Johnson says:

    Interesting site.I am well on the way to 81 years,I live in a 3 bedroom Co-Operative house its fully modified as my husband was disabled,I lost him 3 years ago, I can no longer look after the garden,and the Co-Opp has no were smaller for me to go so I went to the Knox council,I have been approved by department of human service for a one bedroom unit,smaller place, through the Knox council,I still have my brain fully operating ,and take no tablets of any kind,my question is when finding housing for the age,is the mental and physical well being taken into consideration,I am not a social mixer, I am not into clubs or aged groups,I have spent 9 years full on 24-7 caring for my husband, I like my own company,but I do sew I make clothes for the kids in Sri Lanka who have nothing, ,victims of the war that raged there for years,I donate them, My Daughter suggested this when I was so lost after losing John,My Daughter is Married to a Sri Lankan boy. I don’t want to stop doing this,it gives me a feeling of being useful,being locked into a one bed room flat ,I would have material cotton pins and machines living in my living space,that will send me mad, I need to sew then close the door till I want to sew again,I dont want to be sitting watching TV rubbish for the rest of my days ,I need to keep my brain stimulated,I need understanding and compassion,what are the rules,is there any hope of getting someone to understand this,I read where its the person offering the housing has the discretion of what you get.can you clarify the rules for me,If I am put in a one bed that is going to have adire effect on my general well being . how can I get them to give me a 2 bed.

  24. Tamara says:


    My mum is 63 years old and financially struggling. She has to move out of her rental property in December.
    Is there any seniors properties she can rent? She is independant however she has a back problem so cannot have stairs.
    Just need to find her somewhere she can afford to live.
    Thanks so much.

  25. Tamara says:

    My mum is 63 years old and financially struggling. She must be out if her current rental in December.
    Is there any seniors rentals available for people with a strict budget? She is independent however she has a back issue and cannot have stairs.

    Thanks very much.

  26. Hello,i am a 77yo pensioner living in a caravan park in kilmore living with my 16yo grandson who is attending wallan secondary school.i am finding it difficult to cope as i need him to finish school and his room in the cabin is about the size twice as big as my toilet.therefore i am desperately looking for a 2 bedroom house as i have 2 dogs.

  27. Hi Tamara,
    thank you for sharing your mum experience. Please get in contact with https://www.oldertenants.org.au/home_at_last
    For housing information and assistance
    Phone: 1300 765 178 – Interpreters available
    Email: intake@oldertenants.org.au

    COTA Team

  28. Hi Mardie,
    Thank you for your message.
    The best way is to call https://www.oldertenants.org.au/home_at_last They will be able to present and explain to you the different options available.

    For housing information and assistance
    Phone: 1300 765 178 – Interpreters available
    Email: intake@oldertenants.org.au

    COTA Team

  29. Hi Beverley,
    thank you for your message.
    Please get in contact with https://www.oldertenants.org.au/home_at_last They will be able to present you some options available.
    For housing information and assistance
    Phone: 1300 765 178 – Interpreters available
    Email: intake@oldertenants.org.au

    COTA Team

  30. seniors2 says:

    Thank you for your message.

    The best way is to call https://www.oldertenants.org.au/home_at_last They will be able to present and explain to you the different options available.

    For housing information and assistance
    Phone: 1300 765 178 – Interpreters available
    Email: intake@oldertenants.org.au

    COTA Team

  31. Leigh says:

    I read housing crisis after housing crisis and yet so much is not being done to address it and yet organisations like COTA are trying so hard. I am one who slips down the cracks and miss out. DHS Victoria; even as a urgent priority (wheelchair bound) applicant have been told 5-7 year wait. I am only 53. I need two bedroom unit or similar. I am not allowed NDIS access because of my problems stemming from car accident injuries (despite my other disabilities) so that rules me as ineligible for SDA housing; despite the level of care l get at home. I live very isolated (no family) in a very unsuitable private rental. This is destroying my mental health. The MV 3rd party insurer are hamstrung by policy and legislation and there is no support they can provide to get me out of my situation. I have been told several times to dump my dog; my little dog being my mental health first aid and l would rather die than part with him. Its ironic and sad things have become so segregated in funding; ACAT/Aged Care for over 60’s; Youth under 25; NDIS for eligible disabled; but still people like myself fall through the cracks and are left alone, unsupported and out on a tenuous limb. I just wonder how inhumane, unsupported and segregated the whole “human services” sector has become.

  32. Victoria Wells says:

    Thank you for your comment Leigh. Our suggestion, for a pathway for you, is to contact Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) This group advocates, at all levels for housing options also at all levels.

    I wish you well.
    COTA team

  33. Robert says:

    Hi there im irene enquiring to you about aged accommodation. The cost and criteria please. Im a female 78 and single and looking in the geelong area…can you help me please.

  34. Kasia Tkaczyk says:


    Please see links below where you can find detailed information re housing options.
    I have also emailed you a list of Independent Living Units in the City of Greater Geelong.

    Department of Human Services – Housing

    Housing for the Aged Action Group – Home at Last

    COTA Vic Team

  35. adam says:

    Hi, I am looking for advice.

    My grandma is 85 this year and currently lives in a house my parents own. She can’t pay decent rent and has been living at my parents expense for 20 years.

    My mother now has health complications and really needs the money, but my grandma is refusing to move out and into a facility better fitted to her. She has been on the pension for 20 years. Is there something I can refer her to?

    Thank you.

  36. Nicky Barry says:

    Hi Adam. This is a difficult situation for everyone. Housing For The Aged Action Group would be a good first port of call. They specialize is assisting people aged over 55 to find housing and accommodation of all sorts. They will be able to speak to your grandma about the different types of housing available to her and assist her to apply. https://www.oldertenants.org.au/ or 1300 765 138. Is your grandma registered for My Aged Care? If not, doing this will assist her to find out about what types of funded services she could have if she were to live independently from you family. If you would like to know more about My Aged Care you can have a look at their website https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/ or call 1800 200 422.

    COTA Vic Team

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