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Articles and legal news from the Atkinson Vinden Team.

Over 55 and planning a lifestyle change? Then ask yourself these questions…..

Property Law
  1. Why do I wish to move from my existing home?
  2. If it is because of a recent bereavement, have I allowed enough time before making the decision to move?
  3. If friends have moved into a retirement village and are happy there, will the lifestyle in the village necessarily suit me?
  4. If the housework, gardening and general maintenance in my home have become too much to cope with, have I considered other service options such as Council Home Help or handyman help?
  5. Would I stay in my own home if these problems could be overcome?
  6. Have I considered other options such as buying a smaller unit in my present neighbourhood?
  7. If I move to be near my family, am I certain they will remain in that area? If they move again, how easy will it be for me to move out of the village?
  8. Have I looked at a number of villages to compare the facilities and financial arrangements?
  9. Have I talked to residents living in the retirement village I prefer, to find out first-hand the details of this type of living?
  10. Have I asked all questions of concern to me, and have I received satisfactory answers from the village I have chosen as my first preference?
  11. Have I returned to the village to discuss any additional issues raised by my family and legal advisers on matters I feel need clarification?
  12. Am I receiving appropriate legal advice or am I relying on friends or trusting the management of the village?
  13. Does my solicitor have expertise in this area?
  14. Is the chosen village accessible to my friends and family?
  15. Can I afford to live in the village I have chosen, and what are the financial consequences for me if I do not like living in the village and wish to move out?
  16. Does this village have a philosophy or way of life that I will be happy with? What alterations in my existing lifestyle will need to be made to comply with the village opportunities, regulations or restrictions?
  17. What restrictions are there on my opportunity to work from or conduct a business in my unit?
  18. What protection do I have if the village was taken over by a new organisation which may impose a different philosophy, a new approach to maintenance fees or a revised repayment schedule?

Health and Welfare Concerns

  1. Will I be requested to supply a medical certificate or report to certify my ability to live independently?
  2. Are housekeeping and meal services available?
  3. If so, are they provided by the municipal council or the village?
  4. What is the cost of these services to me?
  5. If meals are provided in the communal dining room are friends able to attend?
  6. Is there a registered nurse available 24 hours a day?
  7. What nursing services are provided and is there a guarantee that this existing service will continue?
  8. Is there an effective emergency call system 24 hours per day in the unit, and who backs it up?
  9. Will I be able to have my own doctor?
  10. Who makes the decision that I am unable to cope in either an independent unit or hostel? What say do I have in this decision?
  11. For how long can my unit be retained in my name if I am hospitalised or need nursing home care?
  12. If I become acutely sick, which major hospital is closest to the village?
  13. What insurance cover should I have for medical, hospital and ambulance, and why?
  14. If a nursing home or hostel is part of the village complex, is there an assurance that a bed will be available if I need it? If there is no attached nursing home, does the Village have a relationship with a home that I might have access to?
  15. What happens if I have a grievance with another resident or if I have a grievance with the village Operator.

Activities and Amenities

  1. What recreational activities are provided in the village?
  2. May I have guests to stay in my Unit and are there conditions governing their stay?
  3. Are pets permitted?
  4. What types of public, private or village transport are available?
  5. If I go on holidays, how long can I leave my unit and who looks after it in my absence?
  6. Is there a garden area for my use, and who looks after it?
  7. What is the difference between standard village services and optional services?

Buildings and Constructions

  1. If the village is not yet completed, what guarantee do I have that what is proposed on the plan is what I will get?
  2. Who is responsible for village maintenance inside or on the exterior of units?
  3. Does such maintenance include “safety” maintenance items such as repairs to locks, windows or screens?
  4. What will this unit maintenance cost me?
  5. If there is a delay in a village repair service for the units, can I get an outside tradesman in to do the job?
  6. If I do, will the cost be covered from the village maintenance finance account?
  7. What financial arrangements have been made by the village for major future structural maintenance or repairs? Who is responsible for such repairs?
  8. Is a car park facility and storage shed provided, and is it included in the initial cost? If not, am I permitted to build my own?
  9. Have security precautions been taken in the construction of the village? Are there safety locks or screens on the doors and windows of my unit?
  10. What type of heating or air conditioning is provided, and is there an estimate available on the likely personal costs of these and other utilities?
  11. Is the building accessible in the event that I become disabled and need a wheelchair or walking aid?
  12. What internal modifications related to frailty such as bath rails, have been made to the units?
  13. What building modifications am I permitted to make – e.g. air conditioner, canopy, fence?
  14. If I pay for modifications, what benefit will my capital repayment receive when I vacate the unit?
  15. What insurance cover is there on common property? What insurance cover will I need to obtain for myself if I want it?
  16. What is the ingoing contribution I must provide for the unit and for what does this provide?

Financial Matters

  1. What additional costs will there be if my unit is strata title?
  2. What financial information should be disclosed in the disclosure statement and how regularly post settlement of my unit should I receive financial information?
  3. What is the recurrent charge for maintenance purposes, and what exactly does this cover?
  4. How is the recurrent charge determined and what input do residents have?
  5. How often is the recurrent charge adjusted?
  6. Do I pay recurrent charges when I permanently vacate my unit?
  7. Have the village financial statements been audited?
  8. During my stay in the village will I be provided with a regular financial statement?
  9. Can a deficit in a village budget be carried over to the next financial year?
  10. When I permanently vacate my unit, when can either I or my estate expect to receive the ingoing contribution fund?
  11. Does my contract contain a clause which identifies a time to lapse before this ingoing contribution refund is made? What happens if I need the money to move to another residence outside the Village?
  12. What proportion of my ingoing contribution will I or my estate receive?
  13. What are the short term and long term repayment schedules?
  14. Are there departure fees? If so, how large are they?
  15. Do I receive capital gain? Do I have to contribute to capital loss?
  16. Can I handle the sale of my property, and determine the resale price?
  17. Are there restrictions as to whom the unit can be sold other than to someone 55 or over?
  18. Do these restrictions have tested legal standing?
  19. Is there a charge associated with the sale?
  20. Who is responsible for refurbishing when the unit is vacated?
  21. Are copies of the village’s financial statements made available to residents?
  22. Is a deposit requested on a unit and, if so, how much?
  23. What security do I have on my deposit?
  24. Under what circumstances will my deposit be refunded?
  25. If I move into a hostel or nursing home, if these facilities exist in the village, when do I receive the capital refund entitlement on my unit?
  26. In the event of such a move, what are the new financial schedules with which I would be involved?
  27. If I am eligible for a rate rebate, is this refundable directly to me?
  28. Do I pay CGT if the unit is my only residence and I rent it out whilst incapacitated or in hospital?
  29. Can an Operator impose the use of a particular utility provider or service provider on me in the village?
  30. Can an Operator impose requirements on me to obtain certain types of insurance?
  31. With a leasehold contract unit what is a facilities agreement and how is this repaid to me by the Operator if there is a capital loss when my unit is sold?

Legal Implications

  1. What is the type of contract I will enter into?
  2. Are there different forms of standard contract for different types of property ownership i.e. company title, strata freehold or leasehold interests?
  3. Are there limitations on what legal costs an Operator can charge me?
  4. If my partner dies do they get to live in the unit post my death?
  5. Is a title deed for the unit supplied?
  6. Can I lodge a caveat noting my interest if the contract type is leasehold?
  7. Where my resident right is a leasehold contract has the Lessor’s mortgage lender consented to my lease?
  8. What security do I have on my capital investments?
  9. Is there a trustee and what are the duties of the trustee and who are the trustee(s)?
  10. Does the village management provide a copy of the rules governing the village?
  11. Has a resident’s committee been established?
  12. If I wish to leave the village, what legal provision is made in the agreement for me to do so?
  13. How long is my cooling off period and when does it commence?
  14. How long is any settling in period and when does it commence?
  15. Is a disclosure statement mandatory, what must be disclosed in the disclosure statement?
  16. What are my rights if the disclosure statement is inaccurate or where a disclosure statement is not provided?
  17. Under what circumstances can I approach NCAT to determine a grievance.

Please do not hesitate to contact any member of our Property/Retirement Village Team if you have any enquiries.