- What is an Occupation Right Agreement?
It is important for intending residents to be fully aware of the nature of the occupation right agreement and how this affects ownership of their villa.
The Occupation Right Agreement is the most common form of occupation and ownership in retirement villages in New Zealand. All villages are required to be registered and are governed by the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and its regulations. One of these requirements being that the village appoints a Statutory Supervisor, whose role it is to protect residents rights.
An Occupation Right Agreement gives you the right to occupy your chosen villa for your lifetime, and the right to enjoy the land, buildings and facilities intended for common use in the village, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Occupation Right Agreement.
Under the Retirement Villages Act, you are required to get independent legal advice before signing an occupation right agreement. The lawyer must explain the occupation right agreement to you in a way that’s appropriate, then witness your signature and certify that they have done this.
Q What is the cooling off period?
Under the Retirement Villages Act there is a 15 working day cooling off period after you have signed the Occupation Right Agreement with your Lawyer. During this period you can cancel your agreement without any deductions, and receive your full deposit back with interest.
Any deposit you make to the village will be not be held by the operator, but will be passed onto the statutory supervisor to be held in a trust account on your behalf.
.Q What will it cost me to be a resident in the village?
- The Purchase Price of your villa.
- The Village Outgoings fee, which is set by management and covers the running of the village. This will be a weekly payment of $145.
- The Village Contribution.
- You are responsible for the costs of internal maintenance of your villa, and your own personal expenses, e.g., food, power, phone bills and contents insurance.
Q What is the “Village Contribution”?
The Village Contribution is an amount charged by retirement villages to cover the cost of providing village facilities, on-going development and maintenance costs within the village not covered by the Village Outgoings fee. Also on termination of the Occupation Right Agreement it covers the cost of redecoration and refurbishment costs, replacement of villa chattels, and costs associated with resale of the villa. Other villages may refer to the Village Contribution using various names which, may include “Amenity Fee”,” Deferred Management Fee” or “Facilities Fees”. The percentage or amount charged by each village can vary.
At Highfield Country Estate the Village Contribution accrues during residency, at a rate of 7% per year up to a maximum of 4 years (which equates to 28% of your initial purchase price). The Village Contribution is not charged until termination of the Occupation Right Agreement and your villa is re-sold.
Q What is the Village Outgoings Fee and what does it cover?
The Village Outgoings fee is paid weekly, it covers the various day-to-day operating costs of the village. Examples of these costs include:
- Exterior building maintenance of your home.
- Maintenance of all village grounds, gardens and lawns.
- Maintenance and repair of all buildings used for communal activities.
- Building insurance – for common facilities and your home.
- Village and water rates.
- Rubbish removal.
- Nightly security patrols through the Village
- Public lighting of streets.
- Maintenance of courtesy transport.
- External maintenance of the complexes’ fences, walls, etc.
- Water, gas, electricity, telephones and other utilities or services in relation to the common areas and facilities.
- Salaries, wages and other remuneration of persons involved in the management and operation of the Village, and 24-hour response to call button care system in your home.
- Statutory Supervisor and Auditor fees.
Q Does the Village Outgoings Fee ever increase?
The Village Outgoings fee will be reviewed on a yearly basis and may increase slightly due to an increase in overall village management and maintenance costs, however residents must be consulted before any adjustments are made.
Q What other costs are there for residents?
Your costs, additional to the village outgoings fee may include:
- your normal day-to-day expenses such as power, telephone, household insurance, food etc.
- Any additional services you may decide to select e.g. cleaning, hairdresser, beauty or health treatment etc.
- Any care services which have been requested by you.
Q Who looks after the interests of residents?
As part of the process for each Village to become registered, an independent Statutory Supervisor will need to be appointed who represents the interests of the residents. Their role is to monitor the financial position of the Village and has wide ranging powers available to protect residents’ interests and ensure that Villages fulfil their obligations as set out in the Occupation Right Agreement and Retirement Villages Act.
The Statutory Supervisor acts as a ‘watch dog’ on behalf of all residents and the management of the Village reports on a regular basis to their Statutory Supervisor. The ‘Deed of Supervision’ clearly outlines the responsibilities of the Statutory Supervisor and a copy of this document is available on request.
Highfield Country Estate has appointed Covenant Trustee Services as its Statutory Supervisor.
The Residents are encouraged to form their own Committee and have regular meetings. Meetings will also be held with Covenant Trustee Services (your representative) and Management to discuss any issues that may have arisen.
Other useful information regarding resident’s rights can be found at www.retirement.org.nz/retirement-villages.
Q Will I qualify to become a resident?
Highfield Country Estate management has set out guidelines for intending residents which are:
- You must be over 65 years of age.
- At the time you purchase an Occupation Right Agreement you must be in good health.
Q Can I have my friends and family to stay?
Yes, the villa you have chosen at HighField Country Estate is your home and family and friends are encouraged to visit you as often as they wish. You can entertain them in your villa or in the community centre, where your guests are welcome to use the facilities as long as you are present with them.
Q Can I bring my pet?
We would like to make your transition into the village as easy as possible and pets often play an important part in people’s lives. We will always be considerate of your needs but, while most small domestic pets are welcome, you will need to obtain the management consent before you move in.
Q Can I have my own garden?
Yes, we are more than happy to have you, if you wish, maintain the garden adjoining your own home or an area allocated by the Village Manager. However, if preferred all gardening and lawn mowing will be carried out by the village staff as part of the weekly fee.
Q What security will be provided?
Security and independence are very important issues to us. It is essential that you feel safe and secure in you villa.
- Emergency call buttons are installed in your villa, and trained persons are automatically notified when one is activated, 24 hours a day.
- Security gates are located on the front entrance and will require an access code after hours.
- Security will patrol the villages at different intervals during the night.
Q What if I want to go on holiday?
This is your home, so you have the freedom to come and go as you please. Whether you choose to go overseas for a few months, or just a short holiday in New Zealand we will maintain the grounds and security so you have total peace of mind while you are away.
Q How do I go about obtaining an occupation right agreement for a villa in Highfield Country Estate?
We suggest that you visit Highfield Country Estate and spend some time with the Sales Manager to ensure you understand the Village and the villa plans. You may also wish to bring your family to have a look around. We encourage you to talk to the other residents and get a feel for our Village.
If you decide to move into a villa at the Village you will need to complete an application form and pay a deposit.
Your deposit will be held by the Village’s Statutory Supervisor, Covenant Trustee Services Ltd. The application you complete will be for a specific villa. The application will set out your interest in the villa, the costs involved in moving in and any conditions that must be fulfilled so that the application can become unconditional. These conditions may relate to the sale of an existing property owned by you and our approving you for acceptance into our Village. After you have signed the application your solicitor will be forwarded a number of documents including an Occupation Right Agreement. The Occupation Right Agreement is the document which will give you the right to occupy your chosen villa at the Village. You will need to discuss these documents with your lawyer.
If you choose to sign the Occupation Right Agreement you will have a cooling off period of 15 working days in which you are able to change your mind about moving to the Village and receive a complete refund of your deposit. If you proceed with your Occupation Right Agreement, then you will settle on the agreed settlement date when you will pay the balance of the entry payment and move into the Village. The Sales Manager will work with you throughout this process to help answer any queries and to establish a settlement date for you to move into your new villa.
Q What can village life offer?
Village residents may enjoy benefits that are not readily available in a family home. Some of these include:
- Companionship thrives in the village environment. You will have access to facilities and activities that you can enjoy with like-minded people.
- The reassurance of knowing that assistance can be a push of a button or a phone call away. Highfield Country Estate has an emergency call system that is monitored 24 hours a day by staff who are trained in first aid.
- The burden of home and garden maintenance can be eased whether you attend to this yourself, or use your village’s services. Your villa will even be cared for while you are away.
- The economy of sharing costs and the ability to budget fixed outgoings for the year
- takes much of the uncertainty out of financial planning.
- You can enjoy as much privacy as you desire and continue to welcome the company of family and friends at home.
- Living independently and being an active part of the village community lets you choose what to incorporate in your life.
As with any home, choosing a village is guided by personal and other priorities. Ultimately, you decide what value the village has in your life.
Q What if I decide to sell my Villa?
You are free to sell your unit at any time providing the purchaser is over 65 years of age, approved by the Village management, and is willing to enter into an Occupation Right Agreement.
Q How involved in the village do I need to be?
It is entirely your choice. Some residents choose to be totally involved while others prefer to live quietly. Highfield Country Estate will be a community of similar aged residents with varying interest and different circumstances. Your villa has been designed for easy care and personal privacy so that you’re able to decide just how involved you become.
My wife Margaret and I have found everything at Highfield to be well above what we expected to find. As the first residents to move into Highfield we have seen a lot of construction progress and we are now enjoying the company of other residents.— Charles & Margaret Douglas