Do I get a Title Deed if I buy into a Retirement Village?
Some yes, and some no. Your right to occupy a home unit in a Retirement Village depends on how the Operator has set it up – some offer freehold title, some offer leasehold, some offer a licence, some offer a permit to occupy etc. In all cases, the law requires the Operator to give to an intended resident a Public Information Document and this document must comply with the requirements of the law so there you will find the answer to your question. Or simply ask the salesperson straight out.
If I don’t get a Title Deed, what do I pay all that money for?
It can be for “purchasing” a Lease of the home unit, or your entitlement to occupy can follow your “lending” money to the Operator on an interest free basis.
Am I free to sell the home unit when it is time to move on?
Mostly the answer is no. The Operator usually retains exclusive rights to dispose of the home unit and you may get all your money back (but no interest and nothing for inflation/improvement in value of the Retirement Village) but less an Exit Fee, or you may get a percentage of the sale price but less expenses and the inevitable Exit Fee. This will be all explained in the PID.
Is there any reason why I should go to the expense of engaging a Solicitor because if I like what I see and only have to sign some documents in exchange for my money, surely that’s not too hard?
It certainly sounds easy but wait until you see that PID. It is a very big document and usually not at all in plain English. You may want to know what a Caveat is and why you have to sign one of those. You may want to know about the Cooling Off Period and the consequences of that. Sometimes there is the sale of a former home that has to link with the acquisition of the retirement home unit. My experience is that clients take great interest in their future address for which they are paying a lot of money, are usually somewhat bewildered by the PID and are only too happy to have all the worry of this dealt with by someone who knows the ropes.
Can I take my pet dog and my caravan to the Retirement Village?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. With pets, usually your current pet is welcome provided it is not a nuisance to neighbours, but usually also it is not replaceable. With caravans, boats, trailers etc, some Villages make provision for this so if you are a grey nomad, you can travel for months at a time and know that your “home” is secure. But not all have these facilities.