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Retirement Village Lawyers


Retirement Village Lawyers

As a professional retirement village lawyers, we deliver expert legal advice regarding the often complex contracts and/or leases which you must sign before entering a retirement village.

Expert Guidance on Retirement Village Contracts

A retirement village is residential real estate occupied primarily by people aged 55 years and over who have entered into a form of contract and/or lease with the village owner.

We strongly advise you seek the advice of an experienced retirement village lawyers when interpreting the different types of interests offered by the retirement village. The legal documents involved are often complex, so it is important to ensure the terms and conditions suit your position and that you fully understand the contract and/or lease before signing.

Let us help you by:

  • Advising You Of The Different Types Of Interests Offered By Retirement Villages And The Positives And Negatives Of Each Interest
  • Interpreting The Legislation And Providing You With A Full Understanding Of Your Legal Position – And
  • Advising You In Relation To Your Obligations Under The Contract And/or Lease.

Some of the questions a retirement village lawyers is asked:

Retirement Villages – What am I getting into?

There are a number of different types of ownership options available for retirement villages depending on the village you are looking at moving into.

The most common type of ownership in a retirement village is leasehold which will be explained in more detail below. A leasehold ownership arrangement is where the village operator owns the unit and you sign a lease to live in the unit, commonly for a period of 99 years or more. The lease is then registered on title with Land Registry Services. In these circumstances, you are then considered a registered interest holder, as opposed to the registered proprietor.

By entering into the village contract and/or lease, you will acquire a resident’s right to occupy a dwelling within the retirement village and be entitled to use the communal facilities and services. Ongoing recurrent charges will be payable for services and facilities and various shared residential costs, such as Council rates and maintenance.

When moving out of a retirement village, there is usually a liability to pay a departure fee to the operator, together with a share of any capital gain as stipulated in the contract. The formula for calculating the departure fee and the share of capital gain is not regulated and is determined by the operator. Other fees payable following permanent vacation may include costs of reinstating or refurbishing the premises, recurrent charges to a limited degree, and in some circumstances, costs of sale.

The operation of retirement villages is heavily regulated in New South Wales. The legislation sets out key rights and obligations for residents and operators, ensuring prospective residents are given important information before they sign a contract and/or lease, requiring village legal documentation to be in a standard form, and providing a system for resolving disputes. It is important that you are well advised as to exactly what you are signing and the consequences of such. If you are a prospective resident, please call our office to discuss your retirement village contract.

If you’re a prospective resident, please see the below document link to help you make the best decision for you:

How much does it cost to enter a retirement village?

Regardless of which retirement village you choose, you will be obligated to pay recurrent charges which encompass such costs as:

  • Maintenance charges either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. This cost helps cover costs associated with managing the village, maintaining facilities or providing additional services to all residents
  • Special levies to meet unexpected costs of repairs or new services
  • Personal services fees on an as-needed basis, such as meals
  • Metered services, such as telephone, gas, electricity or contents insurance

Prior to committing to any retirement village, you may find it useful to first enquire as to the financials of the village including:

  • A written statement of the ingoing, ongoing and outgoing costs of the village
  • Expenditure for the last three financial years and the anticipated expenditure of the village
  • Financial account of the village for the last three years
  • If applicable, the trust deed for the trust fund to which deposits will be made – and
  • Balances of the capital replacement fund or maintenance fund for the last three years.

The retirement village is under a legislative obligation to provide you with any requested document within its possession or control. It is important that you engage a solicitor to review your retirement village documents to ensure you are not surprised by any hidden costs disclosed.

What are the costs of departing a retirement village?

Departing a retirement village can be very costly and stressful. There is commonly an exit fee or deferred management fee required to be paid when permanently leaving a village. The exit fee is typically a percentage of the ingoing fee or the sale price of the unit (if applicable) and is outlined in the contract and/or lease upfront. This fee is paid to the operator of the village when you leave and can be deducted from your ingoing contribution. Exit fees can be a source of income for village operators, they allow for lower recurrent charges and lower upfront costs. Consequently, exit fees can be very expensive, so it is critical that you obtain legal advice on your village documents and are well informed as to the potential exit fees applicable.

Need expert advice from a professional retirement village lawyers? We can help. From our Newcastle office, we assist clients on matters based in New South Wales and Queensland.