Accomodation

When is the right time to move into a retirement village?

Only you can decide when the time is right to move into a retirement village. Retirement villages are specifically designed to meet the accommodation, social and recreational needs of older Australians, but you certainly don’t need to be retired to move into a retirement village. Most people choose to move once they have retired and want accommodation that is easier to maintain, want to travel and need a home they can lock up and leave, or want to live somewhere that provides a continuum of care so they have the independence they want now, and the support they might need later.

Will I own my home in a retirement village?

Specific legislation in each state and territory protects your right to occupy your home. Different villages use different legal forms of tenure such as strata title ownership, leasehold arrangements, licenses to occupy or company share arrangements with related residency entitlements.

Will I have access to residential aged care if I need it?

Some villages have a residential aged care facility attached or connected to it (called co-located or integrated villages) while others offer ongoing personal care and home help services to residents in their own private home on a fee-for-service basis. You can also access funded home care services if you pass an aged care assessment test (ACAT). More information about ACAT is available at the My Aged Care website.

Can we have guests stay with us?

Generally, you are more than welcome to have family and friends stay over. However, depending on the length of their stay, you may be required to obtain written approval from the village manager. This is to ensure the safety and security of all residents. You should ask the sales consultant or village manager for the rules relating to the village of your choice.

What sort of ownership rights will I have?

Tenure is the term used to describe the different legal basis for the various forms of occupation or ownership rights used in the industry. All forms of tenure are regulated by specific legislation which contain measures (which differ depending on your state or territory) designed to give some protection of your right to occupy. Different villages use different legal forms of tenure. In many cases you will enter into a lifelong lease.

What if I change my mind after I move in?

In some states and territories, legislation recognises that this may happen and allows a period of 90 days, called the settling-in period, for you to change your mind after you move in. You do need to be aware that some charges may apply. While this doesn’t happen often, the village understands that circumstances do change and will work with you to fully explore other options. This way, you have the chance to make an informed decision in the first place.

How do people secure or purchase a unit, apartment or villa?

A deposit is required to secure your choice. The sales consultant or village manager will discuss with you the details of the deposit, how it is appropriately held, and how it is refunded. Most villages generally allow up to three months for you to sell you own property. This will hopefully be sufficient time to market your property and they will stay in communication with you during this time to discuss any matters that might arise. Payment of your entry payment would then complete the purchase.

Village Life

Must I be retired while living in a retirement village?

It is not unusual for residents to continue to work in the village. In fact, some villages report 20-30% of residents still work full or part time and offer a range of business facilities and even meeting rooms. If you intend to work while living in the village, you should ask management what their policy is.

Are there village rules and will I feel restricted by them?

Most villages will have a set of rules that help residents and their guests enjoy the village facilities and lifestyle with minimal distractions. These rules are based on common sense and courtesy. They define a mutual understanding between residents and between management and residents about the use of the village common areas. Always ask to see a copy of the village rules before you make a commitment as only you can judge whether they are compatible with your expectations.

Is it mandatory to have emergency call system in villages?

While the installation of emergency call systems is not legislated, most retirement villages do have them. It’s very common practice in the industry to have them.

Can I have a pet?

Some villages will allow cats, small dogs, fish or birds – others none at all. Make sure to ask the village manager or operator about their pet policy.

Do I have to fit in with what everyone else is doing?

Absolutely not. This is your home to enjoy in any way you wish to. You are free to participate in community activities as much or as little as you like.

Are carports, garages, caravan or boat storage facilities available?

Some villages do provide a number of carports and lock-up garages. Caravan or boat storage may be available but it’s best to check with the individual village. Caravans and boats are not usually permitted to be stored on the grounds surrounding your residence.

Management

How are villages managed?

Generally, retirement villages are managed by an ‘operator’. Operators are generally businesses or not-for-profit groups (i.e. church groups or other community-based groups) and can vary from large publicly owned companies (listed on the Australian Securities Exchange), or privately-owned companies. There are also many medium to small companies which also operate retirement villages, as well as not-for-profit groups.

What is a residents’ committee?

A residents’ committee is a group of people who are residents in the village and who are elected by village residents to represent them. Generally, a residents’ committee will have a role in advising the village manager on the needs and wants of the residents and will also play a part in managing any issues and disputes. The committee may also be actively involved in organising or supporting social activities within the village.

What do I do if I have a complaint?

Often the village manager will seek cooperation from all parties to discuss and resolve the issue. Sometimes the simple ways are the best. But when something more formal is called for, most villages will have a dispute resolution process which can be activated. In the case of a dispute between a resident or residents and the village, the legislation sets out the formal process.
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