Our friends at the NSW Retirement Village Residents Association (RVRA) explain the importance of communicating with family about your retirement village contract.

Most of us living in retirement villages are looking for a peaceful environment in a nice home or villa surrounded by like-minded people – and it is quite often our last home before moving on to either an aged care home or our final resting place.

Part of the moving-in process is that we sign a contract with the operator/owner that specifies such arrangements as freehold, leasehold, recurrent charges, exit costs, refurbishment costs and other costs.

When we sign the contract, we are bound by the conditions within it – however, the RVRA often gets calls about issues that can be answered by referring to the contract.

Unfortunately, a lot of residents do not fully understand what they signed up for and get upset when a cost is pointed out to them as part of their contract.

Equally so, residents’ kids often have no idea what their parents’ contract entails. They get upset and often angry when told the sale price of the home is not what they receive as beneficiaries of a will or guardians when their loved one goes into a home. They were not aware of exit fees, or that there is a 50% capital gain owing to the operator/owner.

This lack of knowledge places unnecessary stress on the resident, their children and the manager of the village who has to point out the details of the contract.

If residents are unsure of their contract, they are entitled to arrange a meeting with the manager to go over their contract and what the current situation is within their village.

If possible, it is a good idea to invite children/guardians along to become familiar with the terms of the contract and ask questions at the time. If no one can attend, send them a report of the meeting so they are prepared in the event they need to take action with your estate.

For more information, see here for prospective residents (and current residents who want to review their contract), and here to understand the Retirement Villages Act 1999 and Retirement Villages Regulation 2017.

To learn more, visit the RVRA NSW website to find out how they can help you with your retirement village questions.

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