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Your Questions Answered and Common Terms Explained

Is it important that a lawyer looks over my Occupation Right Agreement? ×

It is a requirement that each new resident receives legal advice to ensure understanding of the occupation right agreement prior to signing. The lawyer is required to witness the residents signature after clearly explaining all content of the agreement.

The resident is welcome to use a lawyer of their choice to review, explain and witness the signature or alternatively residents can contact the New Zealand Law Society for a list of lawyers in their region who specialise in retirement village contracts. 

It is important that any verbal agreements between the village operator and the resident are either amended in the contract or alternatively document separately in writing and signed by both parties. Any changes should be discussed with your lawyer who can support you with ensuring they are recorded officially in writing.

What is meant by ‘License to Occupy’ ×
A license to occupy is the most common legal title which New Zealand retirement village units are sold on. ‘License to occupy’ means the resident is paying to live in the unit for the duration of their life or for as long as they choose. In the majority of cases, residents cannot borrow against the capital equity of the unit and will most likely NOT be entitled to any capital gains. Some villages do offer an option to share in the capital gain by paying an upfront fee.

Residents may also be liable for capital loss if the ‘entry payment’ the new resident pays is less than what was paid by the previous resident. This is an unlikely situation but could occur with external market factors pushing value down. It is recommended that you speak with the village manager or sales consultant to make sure you have a clear understanding of the contractual details surrounding capital gains and loses. This information can also be found in the village's most recent ‘disclosure statement’ which is listed on the New Zealand Companies Office website.

Questions to ask
1. Am I entitled to any capital gain made on the unit?
2. If so, what are the details surrounding ‘sharing of any capital’ i.e. do I need to pay an upfront fee and is it split 50:50?
3. Am I liable for any capital loss and will I have a say on what price the unit is marketed at?
What role does the Retirement Village Association (RVA) play? ×
The Retirement Village Association is a voluntary organisation, governed by an executive committee, which is made up of senior members of accredited villages such as CEO's and CFO's. Retirement villages who choose to become a registered member of the RVA have to adhere to the associations auditing and accreditation scheme. This scheme requires villages to be audited every three years, ensuring they are compliant with the Code of Practice as set out by the Retirement Villages Act 2003. 

The benefit for residents choosing a RVA accredited village is reassurance that the village is being run in accordance with the Retirement Village Act as well as demonstrating a level of commitment by village management to operate in a manner that both protects and meets the needs of their residents.

What does a residents' committee do? ×

Typically, the main role of the residents' committee is to represent the interests of residents by acting as the communication channel between them and the operator.

Specific functions of a residents committee include:

  • Calling a meeting with the operator or its representative. The operator or its representative is expected to attend residents’ committee meetings when invited, unless the request is in some way unreasonable (e.g., too short a period of notice).
  • If the village has a statutory supervisor the residents’ committee may call a meeting with the statutory supervisor. The statutory supervisor is expected to attend residents’ committee meetings when invited, unless the request is in some way unreasonable (e.g., too short a period of notice).
The village operator is required to adhere to the above as outlined in the Code of Practice 2008.
What is a deferred management fee? ×

Other terms used to describe the deferred management fee may include membership fee, amenities fee, facilities fee, departure fee, village contribution or exit fee.

The deferred management fee (DMF) is accrued during your period of ownership and is deducted on the sale of your unit. Calculation of the fee is commonly calculated as a percentage of the purchase price multiplied by your years of occupancy and will include a maximum amount. What the fee covers may vary from one to village to another so it is very important that you discuss the details of the fee and how it is calculated prior to making any commitment.

Some examples of what it may cover are:

  • Refurbishment of your unit after you leave
  • Marketing & legal fees used to re-licence your unit
  • Maintenance of village communal areas 

Please note that the above are just examples. The details and calculation of the fee should be discussed with each individual village that you are interested in.

What does the weekly fee cover? ×
The weekly fee that you pay covers the day-to-day operation and management of the village. This fee may include items such as rates & taxes, insurance, staffing costs, lawns & garden care, running of cafes and other facilities that the village may offer. Make sure you ask each village to provide you with a breakdown of what the charges and benefits that this fee covers.
Do all villages have a complaints process? ×

Yes as outlined in Retirement Village Act, all registered New Zealand villages must have a complaints process which is made known to residents. 

Once a resident leaves the village when will they be paid what is due? ×
The most common situation is for payment to be made on settlement of the new occupation right agreement i.e. when a new resident has been found and has signed all legal contracts required to become a resident.

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