RETIREMENT VILLAGES

Purchasing a property in a retirement village is a significant decision, with many implications on lifestyle, healthcare and financial outcomes. People may move into retirement villages because they offer additional privacy, security, social opportunity and in house services. This page will educate readers with foundational knowledge if they are considering buying into a village.

When choosing a retirement village, there are many factors to consider. We recommend people understand the contract (retirement properties can be leased, loaned, rented, licensed or purchased under a strata or community scheme), product disclosure statement, deferred management fees (also known as exit fees), maintenance costs (some costs you can opt out of) and understand how the property can be used in a Will and the future events this may bear for your beneficiaries.

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COMPARING RESIDENCES

As readers will have gathered, there are variable situations from village to village, so it’s difficult to compare all residences evenly. The NSW Office of Fair Trading offers a retirement village calculator here, which can help during the planning stage. Additionally, employing a professional conveyancer or solicitor will help people fully understand the contract of sale and to ensure long term goals are premeditated.

While financials are a significant aspect of buying into a retirement village, the healthcare conveniences are even more important. As conveyancers, healthcare is not our area of expertise, however we do recommend people research the following avenues if they are considering purchasing into a retirement property:

  • Occupational therapy. Does the property require any home modifications or assistive equipment prior to moving in?
  • Transitional care. Ensuring a healthcare provider is available to assist with the transition.
  • Lifetime care and support. Commonly residents require ongoing healthcare services (such as physiotherapy). Villages may have existing partnerships with healthcare providers (or possess internal healthcare), or residents may be required, or wish to, obtain their own healthcare solutions.
  • Updating their knowledge and status with national healthcare schemes (i.e. National Disability Insurance Scheme, Department of Veteran’s Affairs) and understanding how these schemes may assist.

If readers would like to learn more about aged care services and government assistance schemes, visit the my aged care government website here.

RETIREMENT VILLAGES IN NSW - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The NSW Government has continually reformed laws surrounding retirement villages, with the latest update in 2017, the new legislation provides better transparency and protection for buyers, by way of standardising the mandatory information villages must disclose to their existing and prospective residents.

Readers can view the Retirement Villages Regulation 2017 legislation here. Some items of note are:

  • Part 2, Clause 11 “For the purpose of the form of a disclosure statement, average resident comparison figure means the monthly average of the sum of the following amounts over a period of 84 months” -

In other words, the product disclosure statement (PDS)  will outline the total cost of recurring fees, exit fees and payable capital gains. This standardised document will assist people with their financial planning and comparisons between villages.

  • Schedule 2 Standard Form of Village Contract. This is essentially standardising the contract with high level of detail specific to retirement villages. For example, the contract will list all fees (as viewed in the PDS), payment schedules, carport usage, storage areas, refurbishment, occupancy dates, services, facilities etc.
  • The cooling off period for retirement villages is 7 business days (normally, cooling off periods are 5 business days).

Readers may also wish to look at the Retirement Villages Act 1999.

HOW WE CAN HELP

  • Comparing multiple villages to align with your financial and lifestyle goals
  • Strategising the long term outcome, including calculating all recurring costs, exit fees and future sale of the property
  • Advising how the property can be used in a Will
  • Ensuring the village provider provides you with all relevant documentation
  • Helping you understand your rights and obligations as a resident of the community
  • Providing ongoing support (i.e. assisting with dispute resolution and exiting the retirement village)

FAQ

Who is responsible for the refurbishment (i.e. carpets, plumbing) of the property?

It depends on the terms of the original contract.

If a resident is loaning, leasing, licensing or renting a retirement property, the majority of the time, the village operator is required to organise and pay for refurbishment of capital items. This expense is viewable as one of the recurring charges that will be listed on the product disclosure statement.

In contrast, if the property has been acquired under a strata or community scheme, the residents will be responsible for organising and paying for maintenance of capital items. This expense is not listed as one of the recurring charges.

Who is the authority allowed to renovate the property? For example, a resident may require assistive equipment installed (stair climbers, access ramps)

This depends on the terms the property has been acquired under.

If a resident is loaning, leasing, licensing or renting a retirement property, the village provider is responsible for renovations of all capital property. A resident will require written consent from the village to perform the renovations. Additionally, the village will select the appropriate contractor to perform the renovations. The resident will pay for the renovations. The resident also has some ability to negotiate.

If you are considering a retirement village property and it requires renovations, we encourage you to seek legal advice and have the renovation clause noted in the contract prior to signing it.

If the property has been acquired under a strata or community scheme, the owner of the property holds the authority to renovate the property.

There are complexities that can arise, such as renovations near shared walls, or noise regulations. Work with your conveyancer, solicitor and village to work it out.

Who is the authority allowed to sell the property?

Assuming the property has been acquired under a strata or community scheme, the owner of the property holds the authority to sell the property entirely. The owner will not require consent or authorisation from any other parties.

Under loaning, leasing, licensing or renting agreements the village operator holds the authority to sell the property.