Buying a unit in a retirement village is significantly different from buying a freehold home, and there are a number of specific questions you will need to consider. As well as finding out as much as you can about the village and its reputation from its staff and residents, you will also need to consider the type of ownership it is offering, which may be, for example, an occupation licence or a unit title (see below for the different types of ownership).
In choosing a village you should start by visiting the villages in your area. As well as meeting with the managers and nursing staff, talk with as many of the residents as possible about how they find the staff and facilities, the standard of care, the standard of maintenance of the units and common facilities, and other issues.
As well as generally feeling comfortable with the village and its facilities, you should make sure you address a number of important specific questions:
You should obtain the documents for the legal ownership of any of the properties in which you are interested. Usually the main document will be an occupation licence (see below).
The Consumers' Institute provides a comprehensive checklist for choosing a retirement village unit on its website at www.consumer.org.nz/other/retirecheck.html or check the Ministry of Economic Development's companies office online.
The Retirement Villages Act 2003 introduces new rights and protections for residents, and intending residents, of retirement villages. It also introduces new responsibilities for operators of retirement village so that residents have a clear understanding of the financial and other obligations of being a resident, and to ensure and residents receive what they were promised or are entitled to. Before intending residents agree to enter into any agreement to occupy a unit in a retirement village, the person making the offer will need to provide the intending resident with an Occupation Rights Agreement and this must include a cooling-off clause.
From 1 May 2007 you are now able to search Retirement Villages registered under the Retirement Villages Act 2003 online at www.retirementvillages.govt.nz.
There are a number of different types of ownership agreements for retirement village units, and you will need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each form. The main forms of ownership agreement include the following:
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