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Retirement Lifestyle villages have a number of different ways that they grant rights of occupation of property to their residents. These are all bound by some government restrictions. Most villages use Occupation Right Agreements. It is important to understand what you are entering into and the specialist elder law Team at Kannangara Thomson can assist you.

An Occupation Right Agreement will sometimes also be referred to as a Licence to Occupy or an Occupation Licence. The main difference between these and regular property ownership is that you only have a personal right to occupy the property. Instead of owning the property that you live in, you sign a contract which grants you the right to live there until a future specified event such as your death, or sooner if you have a need for a higher level of care.

There are a few restrictions with Occupation Right Agreements. You are not able to mortgage the property, transfer the right to occupy or sell the property. The right to occupy must be personal to the occupants and the occupation right agreement is generally always required to be in the personal names of the occupant(s).

Each village will have its own set of obligations and these usually include things like a code ofconduct, parking restrictions, your insurance obligations, who is responsible for repairs and maintenance etc. Most occupation right agreements will generally include the ability for friends or relatives to stay with you, usually for a specified maximum duration. You may also be able to make modifications or alterations to your unit in some circumstances and you may be able to keep a pet.

A regular service fee will also be payable to the village. The amount of the fee will depend on the level of care and/or services that you require. There may also be requirements that you must fulfil before you can enter into an Occupation Right Agreement. One common requirement is that each occupants signing the occupation right agreement must have a valid Will in place and Enduring Powers of Attorney. This is partially why it is legally required by Government to have a legal professional advise you and to be present when signing any Occupation Right Agreements.

We have a fantastic team at Kannangara Thomson ready and willing to help you. Click here to view our Retirement Planning team

You can also download our free Guide to Elder Care Booklet here