Lesley McDonnellThe transition to retirement living can be a rewarding one. Along the way some important decisions need to be made.  One of those decisions may include moving into a retirement village. In an effort to help make that decision process easier for prospective residents, new laws come into effect on 1 October this year. It is timely to look at those changes and retirement living more generally.

Under the law, a retirement village is defined as being a complex containing residential premises that are predominantly or exclusively occupied by retired persons who have entered into a village contract with an operator of the complex. A retired person “means a person who has reached the age of 55 years or has retired from full-time employment”.

Up until this point in time there have been various forms of retirement village contracts.

From October there will be three main changes. Firstly, village operators will be required to use a new standardised village contract. Secondly, prospective residents will receive a general enquiry document that explains the services and facilities available to them in the village. Thirdly, a new simplified disclosure statement will be given to prospective residents before they sign a village contract.

According to the Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts: “These reforms will make the move into a village easier and less stressful for retirees and their families”. The new standardised contract “will allow prospective residents to compare apples with apples when making the important choice of which retirement village to move into”.

After making an initial enquiry with an Operator of a retirement village, a prospective resident will be provided with a two page general inquiry document. The document provides general information about the village including the village type, costs to enter the village and village facilities.

The new version of the disclosure statement provides more detailed and specific information including financial arrangements particular to the village and unit.

The new standard contract covers matters such as what residence rights are involved, entry costs, the settling-in period, recurrent charges, services and facilities, alterations and additions, repairs and maintenance, sharing of capital gains, and departure fees.

As an added measure of protection for residents and their families, the legislation still provides for a settling in period and cooling off period.

Making the move into a retirement village has significant financial and legal implications.  Taking the time to properly know and understand the village contract is essential to ensuring that the choice of retirement village is the right one for you. The experienced team at Everingham Solomons can help guide you through the process because Helping You is Our Business.

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