1. Retirement Village Lifestyle ChecklistThe information in this checklist is based on the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
Things to do
1. Write a list of the most important things you want from retirement village living.
2.Talk to residents about how they find living in the village.
3. Get a copy of the village’s occupation right agreement, disclosure statement and any other relevant documents.
4. Involve your family or friends in your decision.
Questions to ask
- Make sure you understand how the village operates.
- Is the village commercial or not-for-profit?
- What is the village’s philosophy regarding the care and support of older people?
- Is the village a member of the Retirement Villages Association or the New Zealand Aged
- Care Association? If so, what benefits does this provide?
- Who manages the village and how are they appointed? Is there a management agreement and when is it renewed?
- Is there an onsite manager and what rules must they follow?
- Is there a staff member onsite or on call?
- What experience do management and staff have in meeting the needs of older people, and what are their qualifications?
- Who is the statutory supervisor and what is their role? (Some villages are exempt from having a statutory supervisor.
- What are the criteria for living at the village, and do you meet them?
- Is there a waiting list?
In addition to the usual location issues when buying a house, there are other issues to consider when moving into a retirement village. The location will determine how much independence and contact with the wider community you’ll have.
- Is the village separate from or in integrated into the local community?
- Is the village close to friends and family?
- Is it close to medical services including hospitals?
- What public and village transport is available, and how much does it cost?
- Will the location allow you to keep up your existing interests, such as place of worship and clubs?
- Is the village situated on the flat?
Villages or units not yet constructed or completed.
If you’re buying off the plans:
- Are the units and facilities designed for older people?
- Will they be finished to the expected quality?
- Can you build to your own design and choose your décor, furnishings and appliances?
- What is the proposed completion date for your unit? What right do you have to cancel or to compensation if there is a delay in completion of the unit or other facilities?
- If you’re buying into a village where other units or facilities are still being built:
- What measures are taken to reduce disruption to residents during construction?
- Who pays for the rates, insurance and maintenance of units that are unsold?
- How long will it take for advertised services or facilities to start operating? What rights do you have if these services or facilities do not eventuate?
- How will future development plans affect your unit or the facilities?
Residential and care options
- Are there different housing options available, such as independent self-care villas and serviced apartments or studios?
- Are there rest home and hospital facilities?
- Who decides whether you need a higher level of care either within or outside the village?
- How is this decision made?
- Do residents have priority for these facilities and can you return to a more independent unit if you recover .
- Is temporary help available during a short-term illness or accident, such as a fall or ongoing care after a stroke?
- Will the healthcare offered meet your existing and future needs?
- Can you negotiate the level of healthcare and its cost?
- Are you allowed to have your own doctor?
- Are you able to use other service providers at the village e.g. DHB personal care services?
- Are services such as a doctor, dentist or ph ysiotherapist available within the village or nearby?
- Is there a qualified nurse onsite? When are they there? Where is the nearest hospital? Does the unit have a medical call button?
- Are the units, grounds and facilities in good order and how are they maintained?
- Who arranges for repairs and maintenance such as leaks or changing light bulbs?
- What are the timeframes for urgent maintenance?
- Is there a long-term maintenance plan for big items such as re-roofing, painting or road works?
- Who is responsible for updating installed appliances?
- Are there burglar alarms, sm oke alarms and sprinklers?
- Is there sensor lighting? Are there 24-hour call buttons?
- Who answers th ese calls and how quickly?
- What does it cost? Can windows and doors be securely locked?
- Are gates locked at night? Is the village patrolled at night?
Facilities and amenitiesFacilities may include shops, lounges, dining rooms and bars, libraries, hobby rooms, workshops and computer rooms, meeting rooms, gardens, swimming pools, spas, saunas, gyms and bowling greens.
- What facilities are provided an d are you likely to use them?
- Are there restrictions on using the facilities, such as the number of people or whether visitors or outside groups can use them?
- Are new facilities planned and when will they be completed?
ServicesServices may include a registered nurse availa ble 24 hours or a doctor on call, housework, laundry, gardening and lawns, and rubbish collect ion, meals, personal care such as help with dressing and bathing, mail collection, watering indoor plants and feeding pets when on holiday, and transport such as a vi llage van for shopping and outings.
- What services does the retirement village provide?
- What services are contracted in by the village?
- Are you eligible for some of these services through government assistance?
Social activitiesSocial activities may include shopping trips, ga rden visits, walks and pi cnics or trips to the movies or theater as well as clubs such as chess or bridge and keep-fit classes. In some villages, the residents organize these activities.
- What activities does the retirement village offer?
- Who organizes them?
- Check the location of telephones, power points and switches, medical call buttons and lighting. Is there adequate lighting, heating and ventilation in the unit and communal areas?
- Are taps and handles easy to use?
- Is there easy access to the shower and grab gr ips and non-slip surfaces in the toilet and bathroom?
- Are cupboards and shelves within easy reach, and benches and ovens at a suitable height? Is the unit likely to meet your future needs as well as your current needs?
- Can you make any modifications to suit your needs?
- What facilities are personally allocated to you, such as car parking and storage?
- Is there wheelchair and walking-aid access in the village and within the units?
- Are there handrails where needed?
- Can you use a scooter in the village?
- Where are they stored?
- What are the village rules?
- Can they change and how does that happen?
- Do residents have a say in the rules?
- Are there meetings between residents and management, and how often?
- Is there a residents’ committee and what is its role? How is the AGM organised and how can residents get involved?
- Is there a village noticeboard or newsletter, and how often is it updated or published?
- Talk to residents about how they find living at the village. Ask them about having input into how the village operates and the attitu de of management to their involvement.
- How does the village deal with complaints?
- How are complaints lodged?
- Who manages the complaints process and what is the response time?
- Can you or the village management involve someone independent if your complaint cannot be resolved?
Leaving the village or transferring within the village
- In what circumstances can you be made to leave or to transfer to a higher level of care?
- Who makes this decision and what say do you have?
2. Retirement Village Financial Checklist
The information in this checklist is based on the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
Things to do
- Contact an independent financial adviser or accountant who is experienced in retirement villages. Talk to them about th e costs involved and what you can afford.
- Think about how much money you might need for housing or care if you choose or need to leave the village, or you wish to leave a legacy.
- Ensure you make realistic arrangements that suit your financial situation.
- Ask the operator for a copy of the village’s disclosure statement, occupation right agreement and any other relevant documents and make sure you understand them.
- Make sure you get any verbal agreements in writing, or have them written into your occupation right agreement.
The financial viability of the village
You’ll need to be confident that the village is financially viable – if it isn’t, it won’t be able to provide you with the accommodation, facilities and services you’re paying for.
- Who owns the village and what is their reputation?
- Are the village’s financial accounts stand-al one or combined with another village or business?
- What does the village’s insurance cover an d what are the premiums and excesses?
- What are your rights if the village gets into financial difficulty?
- Who is the statutory supervisor?
- What is their role?
- What is the entry cost?
- What does this cost cover?
- How long is the ‘cooling-off’ period?
- How much are the ongoing fees? What do they cover and how are they calculated?
- What costs do you pay in addition to the regular fees?Also, ask who pays for normal outgoings such as rates, insurance, telephone and power.
- Are there any limits to how much and how often fees can be raised or changed?
- What is the village’s policy for passing on increased costs?
- Can you defer payment of some charges until you leave the village? If so, what interest is charged on these deferred payments?
- Do you pay these fees if you’re on holiday or in hospital?
- Do the fees change if the number of people in your unit changes?
Costs of transferring within the village
- Do you have to sell the existing unit before moving to a different one?
- Do you have to continue to pay village fees on the original unit until it sells, as well as on the new one?
- Do you have to pay further entry costs when moving to a new unit within the village as you did on entering the village?
Leaving costs (these questions are also relevant if transferring within the village)
- How is the unit sold? Can you participate in the sale?
- Can you live in the unit or rent it out while it’s on the market?
- What ongoing fees will you have to pay while the unit is on the market, and for how long?
- Does the unit need to be refurbished before it goes on the market, and to what standard?
- Are there deductions from the original purchase price or actual sale price for refurbishment, marketing or administrative costs?
- Will you be reimbursed for improvements you’ve made, and how are these valued? Will you get the capital gain or any share of it?
- When do you get paid what is due to you?
- What happens if there are significant delays?
3.Retirement Village Signing up checklistThe information in this checklist is based on the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
Things to do
Get a quote or estimate for hiring an independent lawyer, who is experienced in retirement villages, to carry out the legal work for buying into a village.
This will cost more than the legal fees for buying a house because it is more complex, but will be worth it in the long run.
Make sure the village manager has given you all the necessary documents.
This will include:
- Occupation right agreement
- Disclosure statement
- Code of Residents’ Rights
- Code of Practice
- Keep a written note of verbal assurances that are given or promises that are made. Ask the village manager or your lawyer to in corporate these in the occupation right agreement.
- Have the lawyer explain the occupation right agreement in a way that you understand before you sign it. This is a requirement under the Act. Make sure you go over any areas you’re unsure of in greater detail, and check that the agreement includes all the things agreed to. Make sure the lawyer witnesses yo ur signature and certifies that they have done this.
- Keep copies of these documents and any advertising or promotional material.
Other things to consider
- Use this time to review your will and prepar e an enduring power of attorney. There are two types of enduring power of attorney – one for your personal care and welfare and one for property. Do not appoint an yone associated with the village.
- If you have a family trust, find out if it ca n enter into an occupation agreement. If not, find out whether the trust can still pay the pu rchase price and if a payment like this is allowed under your family trust deed.