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What is a retirement village?

A retirement village is a community of accommodation units and facilities designed to cater to the needs, services and lifestyle choices of people who are, generally, 60 years of age or older. A retirement village is not a hostel or nursing home or mobile home/caravan park.

What can I expect to receive as a resident of a retirement village?

Security, companionship, less worry with household maintenance and more time to enjoy leisure pursuits are just some of the many reasons people decide to move to a retirement village. Retirement villages can offer you all of the above along with a number of services and use of facilities.

You can expect to receive 24-hour emergency assistance, which enables you to access assistance in the times of an emergency; day-to-day village administration and management, consisting of staff experienced with the retirement village sector; general village maintenance and gardening.

Many villages also offer residents the use of a number of community facilities such as a community centre or clubhouse, pool, landscaped gardens, library, gymnasium, spa, craft/activities room, bowling greens, putting greens, games room and cinema room. You are able to use the communal facilities as often as you like. Some villages also have user pays services such as beauty salons, specialist consulting rooms (e.g. podiatry) etc.

How much does it cost to enter a retirement village?

The cost of your accommodation unit is determinable on many different factors, including location of the village, size and type of accommodation, services and facilities available and market factors.

You are required to pay an ingoing contribution, which is the amount of money you are required to pay the operator of the village in return for a right to reside, which allows you to reside in the accommodation unit of your choice at the retirement village of your choice and enjoy the services and facilities available.

Do I buy or lease my retirement village unit?

Just as there are many different types of retirement villages offering different services and facilities, there are many different types of tenure schemes available.

The most common form of tenure available in our portfolio is leasehold tenure. A lease is usually for 99 years or more and is registered with the Titles Office with you registered as the ‘lessee’. A lease terminates automatically on the death of the surviving resident or when the unit is on-sold to a new resident.

Another common tenure scheme is the loan/license arrangement. This is quite similar to a lease, however it is not registered with the Titles Office. Some villages are freehold/strata title tenure – you purchase the accommodation unit and are registered on the title deed.

Regardless of the tenure scheme offered at the village of your choice, you are protected by relevant state legislation.

Government legislation protecting the rights of village residents

How does government legislation protect the rights of village residents?

Retirement village legislation regulates the retirement village industry and ensures that residents of retirement villages have rights specifically pertaining to them. Legislation is state enacted and you should discuss with your solicitor the specific provisions applicable in your state. Areas of interest include: regulation of service fees, termination arrangements, methods of dispute resolution and the right to be actively involved in the management of the village. Compliance with legislation is a pre-requisite for accreditation.

How much will it cost me to live in the retirement village?

Our retirement villages are resident funded villages. This means that residents contribute to the costs associated with the day-to-day and ongoing management and maintenance of the village. This is an effective way of ensuring that facilities and services, that would normally be out of reach of most people, are available.

As a resident, you will be required to pay a maintenance fee, which covers the running costs of the village e.g. day-to-day village management and administration, general village maintenance, council rates, insurance, security costs and gardening.

The maintenance fee generally also includes a contribution to a fund that is used for major maintenance and repair of the retirement village’s capital items, ensuring that there are always sufficient funds available to cover repair and maintenance works.

Personal services charges are services supplied or made available to residents and are usually those services such as laundry, meals and cleaning which are provided to residents residing in a serviced apartment. Most villages will also provide these services to residents residing in an independent living unit, on a user pays basis.

How is the maintenance fee determined?

The maintenance fees are determined in consultation with the residents. Maintenance fees are generally set annually.

Are there any other costs in addition to the maintenance fee?

It is your responsibility to pay for electricity, telephone and contents insurance for your unit.

Can I bring my pet?

We recognise that pets are an important part of your lives. In a lot of our villages well mannered pets are very welcome. You can ask your consultant when you enquire at one of our communities.

Can I have family and friends stay over?

This is your new home. You can have family or friends visit or stay with you for a short while.

Do the villages have a Residents Committee?

Most of our villages have a Residents Committee. The Residents’ Committee works with the village manager to ensure that the needs and requirements of the residents are being met.

What is the responsibility of the Village Manager?

The Village Manager is responsible for the day to day operation of the village and is the point of contact for all residents; they will be able to help with any queries or concerns you may have.

What happens when I want to leave the retirement village?

There are many reasons why you might want to move from your accommodation unit. They include changing health, family and financial circumstances.

You must provide the operator of the village with a written notice of your intention to vacate your unit. Most villages have a pro-forma document that you complete and return. If not, you can write a simple letter advising of your decision.

You and the operator of the village must agree on the resale price of your accommodation unit. If there is no mutual agreement, the operator must obtain an independent valuation from a suitably qualified valuer. You must also agree on any reinstatement work that may be required to return your accommodation unit to the condition it was in when you moved in. This may include work such as painting, for example. Reinstatement work also works to ensure that the resale process is undertaken as expeditiously as possible and that the best possible resale price is obtained. Naturally, the age of your accommodation unit and the village itself must be taken into consideration when working out what work is required.

Depending on the nature of the contract that you entered into when you first moved to the village, we will have the first right, for a period of 6 months, to re-sell your unit. We must on-sell the accommodation unit to a suitable person and one who meets the criteria of a resident – e.g. must be 60 years of age or older. This ensures that the integrity of the village is upheld. You have the opportunity to introduce to us people whom you think may be suitable for residency during this period. If we have not sold your unit within 6 months, you may appoint an independent real estate agent to sell your unit for you. Obviously, the person found by the real estate agent must also meet the criteria of a resident.

We must provide you with an Estimate of Exit Entitlement, noting proceeds that may be expected upon the sale of your unit and detailing any deductions, such as the Exit Fee or Departure Fee.

The Exit Fee or Departure Fee (sometimes referred to as a ‘Deferred Management Fee’) is the return to us for our initial investment in the village infrastructure. The Exit Fee or Departure Fee can be calculated on either the ingoing contribution you paid when you entered the village or the ingoing contribution paid by the new resident, dependent on the contract you entered into. It is usually capped at a percentage of either contribution and can accrue over a period of years, depending on the length of your residency. The calculation of the Exit Fee or Departure Fee is disclosed in your residence contract.

Once your accommodation unit is resold, you must receive your Exit Entitlement – i.e. your share of the sale proceeds – within 10-14 days.

When making your decision to move into one of our villages, you can visit the village of your choice as many times as you like. Please do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you feel is necessary to get all of the information that you require – talk with the Village Manager, the salesperson, other staff and most importantly, speak with other residents.

Many of our villages offer you the opportunity to visit the village on a weekend where a special event is being held or during the week to enjoy dinner with other residents. This is a great opportunity to take in the atmosphere and surrounds of the village as well as to meet with residents to get their perspective on life at the village.