Making the decision to enter a retirement village is a significant life decision and the options can be overwhelming, which is why you need to do your research and get the right advice.
Once you start your search for a village, you will soon find out that villages vary greatly not just in the services that they offer, but also in the various fees that they charge.
It’s all about working out what’s best for your specific circumstances, your needs and your lifestyle.
Once you make an inquiry about premises within a village, you should receive a General Inquiry Document, a Disclosure Statement and a Contract.
These are the key documents, which will enable you to make an informed decision about your purchase or lease of the premises.
Village Services and Amenities
When considering a specific premises, it is important to know exactly what amenities and services are offered by the village and make a decision as to whether those amenities and services are right for you.
To assist, you should ask yourself the following questions when considering the Disclosure documents and Contract:
- Carefully consider the layout of the premises – How many bedrooms does it have? Is it wheelchair friendly? Does it have stairs which may become difficult to manage further down the track?
- Do you require assistance with cleaning and are these services offered within the village?
- Do you have a car and if so, does the premises include off street parking, a carport or garage?
- What about pets – do you have any and if so, will the village allow your pets to move in too?
- What about guests – does the village impose particular restrictions on how long they can stay?
- What other amenities would you like to have within the village? Does the village have swimming pools, activities rooms, communal eating areas and restaurants?
- Are you interested in organised activities or daytrips and does the village offer these services?
When considering the answers to the above questions, it is also important to consider your future needs.
It is important that you understand the kind of financial commitment which you are making by entering into a retirement village.
Once you have carefully read and considered the Disclosure documents and Contracts and obtained the necessary advices, you should be aware of the following:
- The entry fee or purchase price for the premises – this is usually a fixed figure and easily identified within the Contract and Disclosure Statement;
- Recurrent or ongoing fees – these fees are generally contributions toward the costs of running the village and the maintenance of village facilities – it is important that you know how much your recurrent charges will be and exactly what it is that they cover;
- Optional services – these fees are generally charged for services not covered by the recurrent charges – it is important that you understand what optional services that the village provides and how much these services will cost;
- Exit, departure or termination fees – these are fees which apply should you pass away or otherwise cease living in the village – it is important that you know how these fees are calculated, as they will be important if you later move to an Aged Care Facility, and will certainly have implications for your estate planning; and
- Capital gains or losses – it is important that you understand whether you will receive a share of any applicable capital gain and whether you will be responsible for a share of any applicable capital loss and how such gains/losses are calculated.
This article covers just some of the issues and considerations that need to be answered and thought through before entering into a village contract.
At Atkinson Vinden we have solicitors specialising in the areas of retirement village law, who can assist in helping you to navigate and understand the Disclosure documents and Contract.
In receiving the right advice, you will be better placed to make a decision which is right for you. Please contact any member of our retirement village and aged care team if you have any further queries.