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Retirement Villages - Legal Structures

There are at least eight different legal structures, which fall into the following categories:

  • long-term lease and license structures that require an up-front capital payment
  • direct ownership structures that offer freehold strata title or community title
  • indirect ownership structures that offer shares in a company or units in a unit trust that carry a right to occupy a unit in a village that is legally owned by the company or the trustee of the trust
  • manufactured home structures that offer ownership of a manufactured home and a lease or license to occupy a site
  • conventional lease structures that require regular rental payments instead of an up-front capital payment.

Although the first 3 categories are very different in form, they are quite similar in substance because each involves a significant capital outlay and each essentially provides lifetime tenure to a bricks-and-mortar home.

The last 2 categories offer quite different and usually relatively low cost accommodation alternatives.

The different structures can have different implications and raise different issues in terms of applicable legislation, stamp duty, GST, service charges, responsibility for refurbishment and capital replacement costs, security of tenure, termination, vacating the premises, etc.

In the case of manufactured home structures, it's important to remember that although you may "own" the home you live in, you do not "own" the land it sits on. You lease or license the site from the owner.

More Information?

Please see the following pages of this Retirement Villages Guide for further information:

  1. An Overview

  2. Top Ten Tips

  3. Services and Levels of Care

  4. Financial Considerations & Departure Fees

  5. Departure Fee Calculator

  6. Rental Accommodation

  7. Pets

  8. Legal Structures

  9. Legislation

  10. Publications

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