Entering a retirement village is a major life decision. It usually involves the sale of the family home and a significant financial investment. The size and complexity of retirement villages contracts can be daunting. We can help so you have less to worry about – Call Mark Lumley for a free consultation.
Get the Right Retirement Villages Advice
Our lawyers have the experience and skill to explain the retirement villages documents in plain English and to let you know if you’re about to make a mistake. They are also great people who care about and really want to help our clients. We go above and beyond to make sure our clients get great service and a fixed price.
Read our client reviews and then call us to speak with Mark Lumley without obligation. Mark has over 20 years’ experience as a commercial lawyer and was a director of Southern Cross Care (Broken Hill) for many years. Mark is an excellent lawyer but most importantly he is a great guy who will treat you like family and make you feel comfortable. You won’t have any regrets if you engage Mark to look after your interests.
Fixed Price Advice
We understand that price is important. That’s why we offer a free consultation without obligation. If you want to proceed with a review of the retirement village Residence Contract our fee is fixed at $1,450 plus GST.
Frequently Asked Questions
Under the Retirement Villages Act, 2016 a resident is entitled to a “settling-in period” of 90 days from the date the resident entered occupation. The resident is entitled to return of the ingoing contribution fee (usually after a new resident moves in) but is still liable for rental for the period of residence.
Where the period of residence exceeds 90 days, the resident is required to pay the relevant exit fees which included the deferred management fee, refurbishment and re-marketing fees.
The Retirement village may have a residents’ committee elected by the residents. The Committee is able to table the grievances from its members and pass these onto the operator for resolution.
If these grievances are not adequately dealt with by the operator the residents can activate the dispute resolution policy, which sets out how a dispute will be handled once a complaint is made.
The dispute resolution policy must clearly state the resident can complain to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if not satisfied with the response to the complaint (s46 Retirement Villages Act, 2016).
There are three types of costs to consider when entering into a Retirement Village Contract:
- The Entry Costs are also known as the “ingoing contribution” and can be considered to be an interest free loan advanced by the resident to the operator. The ingoing contribution will have a repayment date for repayment.
- Regular maintenance costs are paid to the operator on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. These costs cover rates and taxes, maintenance of the buildings and gardens, management expenses and repairs, amongst other charges. These costs could be compared to strata costs charged to residents of apartments.
- The exit cost is also known as the “Deferred Management Fee” and is paid at the expiration of the occupancy and will typically include the reasonable cost of making the unit suitable for the next resident, or any marketing fee and reasonable administration fees. These costs are off-set against the ingoing contribution fee.
These costs should be set out in the Disclosure Statement provided to prospective residents by the Retirement Village operator.
A lawyer acting for a prospective resident will ensure that the operator is registered with the Office for the Ageing and that the land on which the retirement village is situated is endorsed for retirement village use.
The documents provided to the prospective resident will include the Financial Statement for the last Annual General Meeting. This will provide a snapshot of the financial liability of the operator.
Word of mouth is always useful and it would be beneficial to speak to current residents to ascertain their level of satisfaction with the Village.
Moving into a retirement village is a major decision. The operator is required by law to give you notice that it is recommended that you obtain independent legal advice and financial advice about the contract. There is good reason for that requirement. See Mark Lumley’s article: “Retirement Village Contract Disaster”
The Residence Contract, Disclosure Statement and the Ancillary document required by legislation to be provided to the prospective resident can seem overwhelming. A lawyer familiar with Retirement Village Contracts can provide essential advice as the financial commitment involved in entering the Retirement Village and the rules of the Village applicable to all residents.
Retirement villages offer older Australians an independent lifestyle and the opportunity to be socially engaged. The villages are specifically designed to cater for residents with reduced mobility and offer organised activities which are not available to those living in their own homes.
An older person living in a freestanding house needs to ensure gardens, lawns, the interior and exterior of the house are all maintained. These worries are removed for retirement village residents.
A person in declining health may also see the retirement village as a logical step towards life in a nursing home.
Fees payable under a Retirement Village Contract may initially seem high but the contract also offers certainty in that the resident and their family know how much ongoing costs will be up front.
Do you Need a Lawyer?
Most people wouldn’t buy a house without having a conveyancer or lawyer look over the contract and to attend to the formalities to make sure they get good legal title at settlement. In our opinion entering a retirement village contract is legally more complicated than buying a house so it goes without saying that legal advice should be obtained before signing anything. Some good advice now could avoid a costly disaster.
Retirement village contracts must comply with the Retirement Villages Act, 2016 but there is a wide variety of different contract types and obligations. Some are better than others and some have attributes that may surprise. Don’t get caught out.
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Read our Client Reviews and then talk to us about your matter and how we can help you. The consultation will be free and on a no-obligation basis. In most cases, you will be talking to Mark Lumley within minutes but if he is not available you can rest assured he will get back to you as soon as possible on the same day.