FAQs Part 2: What do retirement village general service or maintenance fees cover?
Welcome to Part Two of a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about retirement villages. This article follows on from Part 1: What does it cost to live in a retirement village? In this article, we’ll dive a little deeper into recurring general service or maintenance fees.
Please note, the information below is generic in nature and is relevant to retirement villages across Victoria as defined by the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (Vic).
If you’d like to find out more about Retirement Communities Australia’s (RCA) retirement villages and understand how our model works, we invite you to telephone, or visit one of our village websites:
- www.wyndhamgrange.com.au at Tarneit - Freecall 1800 123 131.
- www.mainstvillage.com.au at Pakenham – Freecall 1800 770 222.
- www.marthacovevillage.com.au at Safety Beach. Freecall 1800 633 126.
- www.pointcookvillage.com.au at Point Cook. Freecall 1800 64 52 64.
- www.beleuravillage.com.au at Mornington. Freecall 1800 633 126.
A refresher: ongoing service and maintenance fees
In Part 1: What does it cost to live in a retirement village? we provided a short summary of what service and maintenance fees (or a general services fee or recurrent charge) cover. These fees may go towards covering some or all of the following:
- the cost of running and maintaining the facilities, services and common areas
- higher levels of support services, for example 24 hour emergency support or personal care services
- building insurances and water rates.
All retirement villages charge residents recurrent weekly, fortnightly or monthly expenses, including maintenance fees.
What benefits do I gain from my investment in service and maintenance fees?
Retirement village accommodation is designed to encourage an active, healthy, secure lifestyle - not unlike a gated residential community - with many villages offering resort style amenities, layers of security, well maintained grounds, well lit walking paths and even transport.
Choosing to live in a retirement village is an investment in lifestyle and well-being first, with potential for future capital growth when you leave the village. The amenities and services the fees cover may include some or all of the following, depending on the village:
- Manicured common gardens, well lit walking paths and well maintained grounds, including visitor car parking and spaces for caravan storage
- Recreational facilities promoting active health such as swimming pools, health centres, pamper centres, bars, bowling greens, gymnasiums, libraries, community centres and shared BBQs and outdoor entertaining spaces
- Community buses
- Emergency call system monitoring in every villa, apartment, house or unit.
- External lighting and security.
Some villages offer residents assisted living options. This could include extras such as meal services, physiotherapists and hairdressing.
What if I don’t use the shared amenities or services?
It is unlikely that any one person would use all of the shared amenities, activities or services available.
While you may not be interested in using a communal heated indoor pool, you may be keen to join a social happy hour in the Clubhouse or Community Centre each week. Or, perhaps you’ll use the community bus regularly, while your spouse is using the bowling green.
Importantly, while you may not use a gymnasium or bowling green now, moving into a retirement village is the beginning of a new lifestyle. With a community of active residents, and ready access to secure, well designed facilities conveniently located within walking distance, you may surprise yourself!
Can I choose my own real estate agent when it comes time to sell?
When you leave a retirement village, you, or benefactors appointed by you, can choose your own real estate agent. In established villages, having an on-site sales office and staff can benefit you, and your family or benefactors, as intimate knowledge of the village lifestyle and prospective future residents (‘buyers’), means re-sale of villas, houses, apartments or units is handled confidently and efficiently.
Can maintenance fees increase?
Yes, but once maintenance fees are set and agreed to, they can only be increased in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or in exceptional circumstances. Visit the ‘Housing and Accommodation / Retirement Villages’ section of the Consumer Affairs Victoria website, for more information.
What information is available to help me make an informed choice?
Retirement village regulations that came into effect in July 2014, require retirement village operators to provide documentation, including an information fact sheet, to prospective retirement village residents. This fact sheet will help you, a prospective resident, compare villages. Consumer Affairs Victoria's website also provides helpful information for consumers.
Base your retirement village preference on your retirement lifestyle priorities, along with solid research, fact sheets and from the first hand, recent experiences of others – either residents, family members or friends of residents, or retirement village operators.
Image: supplied by Retirement Communities Australia