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Selling your retirement village strata unit
You normally have the right to sell your unit through the independent agent of your choice, usually an estate agent or the retirement village operator.
If you engage an estate agent who is independent of the retirement village to handle the sale, the retirement village operator:
- is not allowed to charge a fee or seek a commission for the sale
- must decide whether to approve the buyer as a resident. If the operator does not approve of the buyer, the sale may not go ahead. Disputes about this must be resolved through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Before you sign a contract with an estate agent to sell your unit:
- note that operators cannot require people buying a strata title unit to assign exclusive selling rights to the operator (this law only applies to contracts signed after 1 August 2006)
- the agent must advise you in writing if you have to pay a commission should the sale not proceed because the operator does not approve the buyer. The agent must get you to initial the page containing this information
- view our Buying and selling property section.
Depending on the terms of your retirement village contract, you may also have to pay the retirement village operator:
If a retirement village operator has a waiting list but is not the selling agent for your unit:
- you do not have to sell to people on that list
- the operator does not have to give the waiting list to your selling agent.
Exit entitlements and aged care bonds
Your retirement village contract may entitle you to a payment after leaving your village, based on either:
- your original ingoing contribution, less any fees to the retirement village operator
- the current value of your unit, less any fees to the operator.
For more information about ingoing contribution and fees, view our [Fees and charges – retirement villages section].
Your contract determines when exit entitlements must be paid to you. Different rules about the timing of these refunds apply for contracts entered into since 1 August 2006, where:
- you do not own your unit (for example, when occupying under a lease or licence), and
- the retirement village operator will be liable to make a payment to you when you leave, once your unit changes hands.
The sections below explain how these rules apply.
Meeting aged care accommodation bond costs when leaving a retirement village
If you leave a retirement village to go into an aged care facility and agree to pay an accommodation bond, you should advise the retirement village owner (or the owner’s authorised representative) of the:
- amount of the accommodation bond
- date you have to pay it.
If your retirement village unit does not change hands in time for you to get your exit entitlement before the bond is due, the retirement village owner must advance to you without charge whichever is less:
- your full entitlement, or
- the full amount of the accommodation bond.
Where the accommodation bond is less than your full entitlement, the advance will be deducted from the amount payable to you when the retirement village unit changes hands.
The aged care facility accommodation bond should not be due until six months after you have left the retirement village and entered the aged care facility. The retirement village owner has 14 days from when you request it to advance the money. Notify the retirement village owner well before your aged care accommodation bond is due, so you can make the payment on time.
The retirement village operator must also advance any interest demanded by the aged care facility operator on the bond while it remains unpaid. This must be given to you without charge and will be deducted from the amount payable to you when the retirement village unit changes hands.
The law has set alternative ways to calculate the amount of your exit entitlement where it cannot be determined because your unit has not yet changed hands.
In commercial retirement villages:
- the current value of the right to occupy the unit will be determined by a valuation conducted by a valuer appointed by the President of the Victorian Division of the Australia Property Institute
- your entitlement will be calculated using the value from this valuation
- you and the retirement village owner share the cost of the valuation in the same proportions as you share any capital gain under your contract.
If you did not pay a market price for your retirement village unit, the current value of the right to occupy the unit can be determined in any way agreed between the retirement village and the resident. However, the value cannot be less than the amount you originally paid adjusted according to the consumer price index.
Extra retirement village contract terms about exit entitlements
If you signed your retirement village contract after 15 September 2006, it must either:
- provide for you to be paid your exit entitlement if your unit has not changed hands within six months of you moving out
- include extra terms (see details below) and provide for you to be paid your exit entitlement ahead of your unit changing hands if a court or tribunal finds these terms have been breached.
These extra terms:
- give you the right to engage an independent estate agent you find acceptable to market the unit
- commit the retirement village owner to use all reasonable endeavours to sell the right to reside in your unit
- prevent you being forced to pay any unreasonable charges in relation to selling the right to reside in your unit
- require that you receive monthly reports about enquiries and prompt advice about any offers if the retirement village operator is marketing the unit
- give you control over the advertised price and the selling price, if you paid a market price for the right to occupy the unit. You are required to exercise control over the advertised price and the selling price reasonably.
Ongoing charges when you leave a retirement village
The retirement village can continue to charge you some fees and charges after you have left.
If you signed your contract before 30 January 2006 and it requires you to pay personal service fees or maintenance charges for longer than allowed by the amended Retirement Village Act, seek legal advice.
The following legal rules apply if either:
- you entered your contract on or after 30 January 2006
- there are no terms or conditions in your contract about the period you must continue to pay fees after leaving the village.
You cannot continue to be charged for personal services beyond 28 days after you leave the retirement village.
Maintenance fees – strata title owners
You will have to pay owners corporation (formerly body corporate) fees until the retirement village unit is sold, as you remain a member of the owners corporation until then.
Maintenance fees – non-strata title owners
If you are not a strata title owner, maintenance fees for general services to the retirement village community, such as repairs, must stop within six months.
During this six-month period, the retirement village must stop charging you recurrent fees when either:
- the unit you have vacated is reoccupied
- someone enters into a contract to occupy it.
Can a retirement village make you leave?
Removal from non-strata title retirement villages
The retirement village owner can terminate your retirement village contract and ask you to leave in the following circumstances:
- You breach a provision of your retirement village contract. The retirement village owner may give you written notice that you must either fix the breach or stop committing the breach within 28 days. If you do not comply and the breach is substantial, the retirement village owner may give you a further written notice detailing the breach and ordering you to leave the village within 60 days.
- You have a periodic tenancy. The retirement village owner can give you written notice to leave at the end of six months or at the end of the rental period, whichever is later.
A retirement village owner may tell you in writing to leave the retirement village within 14 days if:
- your retirement village contract allows the owner to give you this notice, and
- the owner has met any conditions in your contract which must be complied with before such a notice can be given, and
- the notice includes a copy of a certificate stating that you need care unavailable at the retirement village. This certificate must be signed by two registered medical practitioners, as defined by the Medical Practice Act 1994. You must have nominated or agreed to one of the medical practitioners.
Removal from strata title retirement villages
The Retirement Villages Act 1986 does not provide for a retirement village operator to terminate your occupancy when you own the title to your residence.
If you own the title to your retirement village unit, you should seek legal advice if a retirement village operator tries to make you leave. You can find legal practitioners through the Law Institute of Victoria’s legal referral service.
Last updated: 02/05/2013