To help you decide whether to sign a residence contract with a particular retirement village, you must receive (at least 10 working days before a residence contract is signed):
- a pre-contractual statement, that provides accurate information about a range of matters including fees and charges payable by you in relation to the village you are considering (Form 1 or Form 1 A);
- a copy of the residence contract;
- a copy of the residence rules of the village, which may include limitations on visitors, pets, use of common areas and amenities, parking or gardening;
- a copy of the Code of Practice for Retirement Villages; and
- a notice that informs you about your rights, including the necessity for residence contracts to be in writing, documents you must be given and the cooling off period that applies after signing your contract.
Details of the two pre-contract disclosure statements can be found in Schedule 1 to the Retirement Villages Regulations 1992.
Form 1 applies to residence contracts where a ‘premium’ is payable. A ‘premium’ is a payment made to secure the right to live in a particular unit in a retirement village. It includes the purchase price for a unit in a strata or purple title village as well as the entry payment for a lease village but does not include a payment of $1500 or less paid to secure a lease of 12 months or less.
Form 1A applies to residence contracts with a term of 12 months or less for which an initial amount of $1,500 or less is payable.
The disclosure statement has to contain answers responding to a series of questions about the village including the:
- premium or other entry costs which will be payable to move into the village;
- an explanation of daily, weekly or monthly operating costs that will be charged;
- amenities and/or services available, and if fees and charges apply, what is the basis for determining those charges;
- how any budget surpluses, reserve funds and resident consultation are to be managed in the village; and
- estimates of the amount which may be payable to the resident when they move out (including estimates of exit and other fees payable if the resident were to exit after 1, 2, 5 or 10 years occupation). In relation to any estimates it is important you are aware these are often based on assumptions the premises will increase in value by 2% for each year of occupation. The value of the premises may increase by more than this amount, by less than this amount or may actually decrease.
Prospective residents are encouraged to consider a range of retirement villages by collecting disclosure statements from a number of villages and using these to form a view as to whether a particular village may be suitable for your long-term housing needs.
Once you have settled on a particular village or unit you should then obtain a copy of the residence contract and other information relevant to the unit you are proposing to buy or lease.
The residence contract must contain certain mandatory matters including:
- specific information about the fees and charges a resident will pay across the term of the contract;
- details about personal services, communal services, personal amenities and communal amenities the resident will receive or have access to if they move into the village; and
- a copy of the termination schedule approved by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection.
Additionally, there are prohibited matters that must not be included in contracts, including provisions which:
- require residents to give the operator (or a close associate of the operator) a power of attorney.
- do not calculate exit fees on a daily pro rata basis.
You must also receive (at least 10 working days before a residence contract or a service contract is signed):
- other financial information about the village, (this information may vary depending for example on whether the village is operating or under construction);
- information about the costs and process associated with leaving the village; and
- if the village is strata titled, a copy of the by-laws of the relevant strata company and an authority to inspect any record or document held by the strata company in relation to the village.
A prospective resident who has not moved in may rescind a contract within seven working days of signing the contract (or 17 working days after they receive any required disclosure information that was not provided within the 10 working day time period).
Be aware the cooling off period ceases immediately if you move into the village prior to its expiry.
Seniors housing guide
Detailed information about housing options for those over 55.
Seniors housing guide