What does a regularly paid retirement village service and maintenance levy cover?
On top of the cost of keeping your home in good repair, is the time and frustration of coordinating tradespeople, quotes and payment of invoices. When you move into a retirement village, you will continue to cover the costs associated with keeping your living environs in top condition but the pain of coordinating maintenance and planning ahead is looked after for you. A retirement village’s service and maintenance levy predominantly covers the external maintenance of buildings, shared grounds and facilities, as well as the operational management and administration associated with running a retirement village. Internal maintenance of your villa is not included in your regularly paid levy, but keep in mind that you are moving into a new or completely refurbished retirement villa and maintenance tasks such as painting internal walls, fixing rising damp or re-grouting tiles shouldn’t be necessary for a number of years, or when you leave the retirement village. Here is a list of what you can expect a retirement village’s ongoing service and maintenance fees to cover both in the short term and the longer term:
· External maintenance of retirement village buildings
- A forward looking plan that covers ongoing and major maintenance works including upgrade or maintenance of shared communal facilities internally and externally.
· Maintenance of common grounds
- Lawn mowing and edging
- Planting and pruning of trees
- Care of all common ground garden beds, including weeding.
- If waterways provide the setting for the retirement village, maintenance of these are included.
· Insurances covering:
- All buildings (both units and buildings on common ground areas)
- Clubhouse or community centre contents
- Machinery breakdown (excluding residents contents)
- Public Liability
- Personal Liability
- Professional Indemnity
- Directors & Officers Liability
- Motor vehicles , in most cases this will cover the Village Bus
- WorkCover of all staff
- Volunteers Personal Accident (for example to cover residents volunteering to help at village functions)
· Effective running of the retirement village for your security and comfort:
- Employment of a full-time village manager
- Employment of village staff including a village receptionist, handyman / gardener
- 24 hour health emergency service with someone available to give assistance seven days a week
- Day to day operations of all common / shared property, buildings and facilities including maintenance and repairs of all equipment, internal fittings and fixtures
- Registration, repairs and maintenance of the village bus
- Use of the village bus for local shopping and other outings
- Maintenance of all common property lighting, roads, driveways, paths and fences
· Administration of the retirement village:
- Regular financial reporting to the Residents Association
- Maintaining proper books of account and presenting annual audited accounts to the residents
- Village accreditation
· Water and sewerage
- Water and sewerage rates covering communal property and residents’ units
- Water usage and sewage disposal covering communal property and residents’ units
· Utilities for running the common / shared buildings and facilities:
- Includes the gas, electricity and water usage necessary to run the shared facilities
· Use of all the communal facilities such as:
- Swimming pool/spa
- Bowling Green/Indoor Bowls
- Billiard Room
- Arts & Craft
- Residents Kiosk
- Dining Room
When factoring in costs of living in your own home versus a retirement village, make sure to consider both the lifestyle and cost benefits of having full access to the facilities available on-site. Your regularly paid service and maintenance levy means you will no longer need to:
- pay membership and arrange transport to get to and from facilities such as swimming pools or gymnasiums
- catch a taxi or public transport to and from a shopping centre – a retirement village bus provides this service
- catch a taxi or public transport to visit the doctor, hairdresser or physiotherapist that may be available on-site at the retirement village
Entertainment such as free movie nights may also be available adding to the lifestyle benefits.
The following expenses are covered by residents based on individual usage:
- Internal maintenance of your own retirement villa – keep in mind you’ll be moving into either a new or completely refurbished unit or villa
- Telephone and internet charges based on your own personal use
- Utilities charges such as gas, electricity and water for personal use in your own retirement villa
- Municipal rates
- Content insurance for your own contents housed in your retirement villa
- Maintenance of any external fixtures to your own villa such as hot water service or air-conditioner.
The power of bulk buying and savings is passed on to residents
Retirement village operators have an advantage in negotiating prices on some services and utilities because they are buying in bulk. Here are some examples of the savings that are passed on to retirement village residents:
- Electricity usage is negotiated in bulk and savings are passed on to the residents
- Reduction of telephone costs for residents by operating telephone switchboard systems such as a PABX telecommunications system.
- Bulk buying power of services and products means that cost savings can be passed on to residents
- An internet system servicing the village operates on a user pay system and keeps costs lower than what an individual internet service provider customer could negotiate.