Helpful Answers to Common Questions

Retirement Village Living

What is a retirement village?

A retirement village is a housing development designed specifically to suit the wants and needs of the over 65’s. A village offers a fresh lifestyle to those who want to live independently in their own home whether they are 65 or 90! Residents live in their own villas or apartments and have the freedom and independence that comes from being in their own home. However the major worry of most home maintenance and garden care is taken away, allowing a more relaxed and secure lifestyle.

When is the right time to make a move into a retirement village?

We find that most of our residents look to move into a retirement village when one or both of them has retired and they are planning their future to ensure they make the most of this time, with its unlimited options! Retirement villages are specifically designed to meet our residents’ accommodation, social and recreational needs. Living in a community of like-minded people with similar interests and hobbies often provides these residents with a new outlook on life.

Who looks after the interests of the residents?

The Retirement Villages Act of 2003 requires the appointment of a Statutory Supervisor who represents the interests of the residents. In addition your ORA provides for the establishment of a Residents Advisory Committee that comprises resident representatives elected at the annual general meeting. This committee will work with the village management to ensure the community meets the needs of its residents. The Manager’s door is always open to discuss any issues or concerns you may have. As a member of the Retirement Villages Association (RVA) of New Zealand, Fitzgerald Lifecare is committed to standards and principles that are laid down by them. Every three years the RVA conducts a full accreditation of the village to ensure their standards are being met.

What does the Village Manager do?

The village manager is based on-site during working hours and is in charge of the day-to-day administration of the village. The manager is the primary contact point for residents. If you have any queries, concerns or feedback about the village, the village manager or receptionist should be your first port of call.

How does government legislation protect the rights of village residents?

Retirement Village legislation regulates the retirement village industry. Areas of interest include: The Retirement Villages Act 2003, Residents Code of Rights and the Code of Practice 2008. Compliance with legislation is a prerequisite for RVA accreditation.

Financial Considerations

Is there a weekly charge? What does it cover?

There is a service charge for the independent living units. This covers rates, maintenance, emergency nursing assistance, grounds maintenance, window cleaning and administration. Charges are reviewed each year and normally increase by the amount of inflation.

The service charge for the studio units also includes electricity, laundry cleaning and all meals.

Will I own my cottage or serviced apartment in a retirement village?

All cottages and apartments are sold under an Occupation Right Agreement (ORA). This is how most retirement village units are now sold throughout New Zealand and these are governed by the Retirement Villages Act 2003. The ORA is the agreement between the resident and the village setting out the terms of your right to occupancy in a unit in your chosen village. While residents occupy their cottage or apartment under the ORA, the title to the land and buildings remains with Fitzgerald Lifecare.

What costs are involved?

There are three costs involved in a retirement village.
These are: Entry price of the ORA – this is the purchase price of your unit and is refundable to you on exit from the village (less the Village Contribution referred to below). Avon Lifecare will refund these monies within 1 week of a new tenant taking residence or 6 months after you vacated the unit.
Village Contribution – This is the deduction made at the end of your tenure from your Entry Price and includes a contribution towards village amenities and the refurbishment/sales costs of the unit on exit. This varies for each type of accommodation and can be supplied on request. Weekly Service Charge – this covers the day to day running costs of the village; includes rates, insurance, exterior maintenance of your unit, staff wages, gardening, and a contribution towards community centre costs. This varies for each type of accommodation and can be supplied on request.
Additional services are available on a user pays basis.

As a resident how will my financial interests be protected?

The ORA offers you the right to live in your dwelling for your lifetime (health permitting) and to enjoy the services and facilities provided within the village. Your interests as a resident are secured through an encumbrance over the Village land held by the Statutory Supervisor for the benefit of all ORA holders.

What happens in the event of a dispute?

All Village Managers follow Fitzgerald Lifecare’s dispute resolution policies and procedures and are pro-active in providing guidance and help in resolving matters. Our disputes resolution policies and procedures are in line with the requirements under the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and the Code of Practice 2008.

Who is responsible for insurance?

Fitzgerald Lifecare insures the buildings (including carpets and floor coverings and fixed chattels) and this is paid for out of your service charge contributions. You are responsible for insuring your own contents and personal effects, as well as your private motor vehicle. You will also be responsible for the excess on any insurance claim arising out of any damage done by yourself or your guests to the dwelling or community buildings.

What happens when my villa or apartment needs to be resold?

When you permanently leave your villa or apartment your ORA will be terminated. It is then the responsibility of the Village to resell the villa or apartment. The resale value is based on annual valuations and actual similar resales that have occurred in the village. You will receive payment for your villa or apartment 5 days from the occupation of a new resident or within 6 months of your vacating the unit. The sales process is strictly governed through the regulations of the Retirement Act 2003 and the Code of Practice.

Can I bequeath my ORA to a family member?

No, the ORA is not transferable.

Can a Family Trust purchase an ORA?

The ORA can only be issued in the names of the residents occupying the dwelling. However the funds used to purchase the Licence can come from a Family Trust. In this case, a separate Deed will be drawn up between the parties involved, to legally identify where the funds came from, and where they are later to be distributed on termination of the agreement, thereby protecting the assets of the Trust.

What are the costs of transferring from one unit to another?

Fitzgerald Lifecare has a transfer policy in place and the cost of transferring from one unit to another is covered in the ORA.

Residential Life

Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs?

Exterior maintenance and repairs to the chattels supplied (e.g. fridge, washing machine and dishwasher) are the responsibility of Fitzgerald Lifecare. Any damage caused by the residents own negligence, or misuse of equipment, may be rectified by us. An appropriate deduction will be made to cover costs when the unit is vacated and this will be discussed with the resident at the time of repairs.

Will someone help me monitor medication requirements?

This service is included in the fee for rest home and hospital patients. It is available to those living in the studio units for a small additional charge.

What if I need more help? What happens if I get ill?

A number of community services including short-term residential care are available free of charge to the elderly who are living in their own homes. Your GP can help you to access these within the retirement village. In addition, emergency assistance is available from Fitzgerald Lifecare staff twenty-four hours a day.

What are our responsibilities as residents?

Legislation requires all villages to create rules and regulations that encourage harmonious co-existence between residents. These vary from village to village but are always contained in your village documentation, which should be read and understood prior to making any final decisions about purchasing a home in a village. The rules may change from time to time as the needs of village residents evolve.

May we rent or sub-let our cottage or apartment?

This is not permitted at any Fitzgerald Lifecare location. This gives all residents the peace of mind and security of knowing that everyone in the village has the same degree of commitment about the lifestyle they have chosen.

Will help be available if needed?

Firstly, there is a 24/7 emergency call system available supported by modern monitoring and alarm systems. Each unit has at least one “call button” to ensure help can be rendered promptly. Each village employs a Registered Nurse. Clinics for blood pressure checks and dressing changes etc are planned for the new communal facility. In addition various levels of service are available that residents may choose from and these services are charged for on a user pays basis.

Can I bring furniture and personal effects with me?

Yes, this is encouraged in our spacious rest home and hospital rooms with insurance being the responsibility of the resident.

Can I redecorate my apartment?

Most of our apartments are decorated in neutral colours, but if residents wish to change the colour scheme, this can be done at their own expense. We may require a resident to pay for the unit to be reverted back to its original colour scheme at the end of the period of occupation if the makeover is too individualistic, so it is advised that any redecorating plans are discussed with the manager in the first instance. Any structural alterations must have prior approval.

Can my family and friends come to stay with me?

For those living independently, you may treat your unit as your own home and have visitors to stay on a temporary basis. We do not provide separate accommodation.

What type of activities and excursions are organised?

Our villages employ an activities co-ordinator and every effort is made to ensure that activities meet the needs of the individual residents. These include bowls, housie, quizzes and special theme events. A library service is provided and regular outings in the Fitzgerald Lifecare bus are popular with residents.