What questions should I ask when enquiring about a retirement village?

A legal counsel experienced in retirement village legislation will be able to help you understand the ins and outs of what you are considering buying. When you start exploring retirement village options and arrange a time to tour the facilities, the following questions may help you understand the type of retirement living accommodation arrangement you are considering:

  • What facilities, services and support are available?
  • What are the retirement village rules and obligations I will need to comply with?
  • What type of legal structure is the contract with the retirement village based on? For example lease, loan or licence, strata title, freehold title, unit trust or community title.
  • What is the ingoing contribution or entry fee?
  • What are the ongoing service and maintenance fees and how are these calculated? Are utilities such as gas, water, Council rates and electricity included?
  • Are service and maintenance fees likely to increase? How are increases calculated? As a resident, do I have any say in fee increases? How does this process work?
  • What happens if I can no longer afford the ongoing fees?
  • How are exit fees calculated? Can you show me an example?
  • Who benefits from any rebates related to the property?
  • If there is a waiting list, how long can I expect to have to wait for available accommodation?
  • Is there a fee for having my name added to the waiting list? Is the fee refundable?
  • Who manages or runs the village? How much say do I have in the operations of the retirement village?
  • At what part of my tenure might I be asked to contribute to a capital improvement fund or long term maintenance fee or equivalent? What does the cost calculate to on a per annum basis?
  • What is the average refurbishment cost per villa/unit at the moment?
  • How many villas / units are currently in the retirement village? How many are vacant at the moment?
  • Is the retirement village completed? If not, how many more units / villas are planned in future development?
  • How are disputes resolved? What is the process?
  • Do I need to give the retirement village owner Power of Attorney?
  • What are the conditions associated with leaving the retirement village?
  • Will I benefit from any capital gain on the property once it is sold?
  • Will any of the ingoing contribution / entry fee be paid back to me once I end occupancy?
  • How secure is my tenure if the retirement village is sold to new owners?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provide a helpful checklist of questions for consumers to ask on the Real Estate section of their website on the page ‘Retirement Homes’.

What do I get when I buy into a Retirement Village?

Are meals provided in a retirement village?