Frequently Asked Questions

The comments provided in this document are intended to give an overview of selected topics which, in the experience of Retirement Villages, have been raised by prospective purchasers at Castle Village and more generally at other villages within the Retirement Villages wider estate.

Whilst the intention of the document is to provide clarification in respect of the topics covered, the terms of any legal documents to which prospective residents will be required to commit, as a condition of purchasing a property at Castle Village and residing there, will in every instance take precedence over any comment made in this Frequently Asked Questions page.

Last Updated: July 2017

1. What is the Assignment Fee?

A fee, called an assignment fee, is payable every time a property is re-sold. All properties sold by Retirement Villages are sold on a long leasehold basis and when the property is re- sold the lease on that property has to be “assigned” in the legal language, to the new owner, hence the expression “assignment fee”.

The assignment fee forms part of the original agreement when you purchase the property and is not charged in respect of any service(s) to be provided.

2. How much is the Assignment Fee?

The fee varies from village to village and may also vary depending on how long you have lived in your property. The fee can be up to 12.5% of the sales price of a property and Retirement Villages will provide you with worked examples of how this is calculated. Please be sure that you have been given and understand, the exact details for the particular property you may be interested in purchasing.

3. Can I arrange to pre-pay my assignment fee now?

The terms of the Lease provide that an Assignment Fee is payable on each occasion that the property is sold and is calculated as a percentage of the sale price. If you would prefer to pre-pay the Assignment Fee when you buy your property, you have the option to do so. In that case, the amount payable will be determined by the percentage detailed in your lease. Please ask a member of staff for more details on this.

If you choose to pre-pay the Assignment Fee and then sell the property and assign your Lease within one year of your purchase the Landlord will refund you 75% of the fee. If you sell and assign your Lease after one year of your purchase, but before two years, then 50% of the fee will be refunded. None of the fee will be refunded if you sell after two years.

Your solicitor will be required to advise the Landlord, via our solicitor at the point of purchase, whether you wish to exercise this option and he/she will be able to explain this to you in more detail.

4. When do I pay the Assignment Fee?

The assignment fee is calculated as a percentage of the price when you sell your property. Since the assignment fee is expressed as a percentage and the selling price of properties will fluctuate over time it is not possible to know what the precise payment will be until a contract to sell is exchanged. If you wish to provide certainty and not wait until you sell before paying the fee, Retirement Villages will, as an option, agree to receive the fee when you purchase, calculated as a percentage of the purchase price.

5. Should I be legally advised?

The assignment fee can be a substantial payment and it is therefore clearly important to understand how the assignment fee is calculated and when it is payable and you are advised to obtain legal advice in this respect. Indeed, Retirement Villages will not grant any new lease or assign an existing lease to anyone who is not legally represented.

6. Who receives the Assignment Fee and what is it for?

The fee is payable to Retirement Villages, or one of their wholly owned subsidiary companies, being the Freeholder of the village, it forms part of the purchase price.

Please ask our sales staff for further information.

7. What is the Management Deed?

The deed sets out the services and amenities offered by the Management Company on behalf of the Landlord, and provides for the payment by the tenant, of charges in this respect.

8. How much are the service charges?

The service charge varies according to the type of property.

For the current financial year (1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018) the current charges are:

Band A            £5,123 per year

Band B            £5,309 per year

Band C            £5,496 per year

Band D            £6,706 per year

In addition there is a charge of £200.00 per annum for a second person living in the property, the current charges for double occupancy are:

Band A            £5,323 per year

Band B            £5,509 per year

Band C            £5,696 per year

Band D            £6,906 per year

These charges are reviewed in January each year and any changes to the Service Charge will take effect from the 1st April. The service charge is payable quarterly in advance or monthly by Direct Debit.

There is also a Ground Rent between £250-£350 per annum that is payable.

9. What do the service charges pay for?

1. Salaries and National Insurance:

  • Administration – A team including the Village Manager who are responsible for the supervision and control of the complete on-site management of the village.
  • Maintenance – Employed or contracted staff are responsible primarily of the upkeep of the communal grounds, buildings and equipment in the village. They will also carry out minor repairs to individual properties that have arisen from structural damage, and there is an appropriate arrangement for property emergencies outside normal working hours. Where residents require further assistance i.e. electricians, plumbers etc. they will be required to pay for this separately.
  • Domestic – Each property is entitled to have one hour of domestic assistance and to have up to eight pieces of linen laundered in our central facilities each week.
  • Emergency Response – 24 hour emergency cover provided by suitably trained and qualified staff.

2. Maintenance Reserve Fund (Sinking Fund)

There is a programme for planned maintenance, together with the replacement of large items of equipment. The reserve fund is designed to allow for these expenditures as and when they occur, thereby reducing the need for large variations to service charges. The fund is also there should unforeseen maintenance items arise.

3. Communal Rates

The business rates for the office accommodation, restaurant, shop/kiosk and all other central facilities.

4. Insurance

A block policy is in place to cover the buildings insurance on each property and on all communal buildings. Furnishings in communal areas and equipment used in maintaining the village are also covered, together with employers and public liability. You will need to arrange your own contents insurance cover.

5. Communal Energy

This is the cost of heating, lighting and water to all communal parts of the village. Residents pay these charges separately in respect of their own properties.

6. Office Supplies / Telephone

The costs of running the office and associated services.

7. Repairs and Maintenance

  • The external maintenance: decoration and repair of the majority of properties on the estate including the structure, roofs and foundations. There are some exceptions where this does not apply.
  • Internal maintenance: repair and decoration of the clubhouse and other common parts of the estate, but not internal redecoration of the individual properties which is your responsibility.
  • The provision of a refuse collection service.
  • The maintenance or replacement where necessary of such plant, machinery and equipment as required.

8. Maintenance Contracts

The payment of charges in respect of maintenance and servicing contracts for boilers, lifts, fire alarms, alarm call system and other communal equipment.

9. Accountancy / Legal

The annual independent Audit and the associated costs for the provision of Certified Accounts plus any other fees payable in relation to the operation of the Management Company.

10. Management Fee

The fee payable to the Landlord’s appointed manager, RV Services Ltd, for the provision of services to the on-site management company and for overall accountability of providing and monitoring the entire facility.

11. Miscellaneous
Cleaning Materials, Window Cleaning, Garden Supplies, Uniforms, Interest, Bank Charges and Recruitment Advertisements

10. By how much are the service charges likely to go up?

The service charge is operated on a strictly “not for profit” basis, in accordance with the relevant legislation and therefore future increases will only reflect the actual costs of providing the services.

It is not possible to give predictions for this but, suffice to say, the company has considerable experience, gained over 20 years of managing its villages and is very conscious of the need to keep costs under control whilst continuing to give a quality service.

11. Are there any other additional charges?

There are some additional Management Fee charges which may apply from time to time. Details of these can be found within the Leaseholders Handbook.

12. Who is responsible for the redecoration of my property?

External redecoration is the responsibility of the Management Company within a planned maintenance cycle. This is paid for from the service charges. Internal redecoration is the responsibility of the tenant at least every 5 years.

13. Can I make alterations to my property?

Subject to obtaining prior consent from the Landlord, minor internal alterations and improvements can be made. However, when the lease is assigned, the Landlord reserves the right to restore the property to its original condition at the expense of the outgoing tenant. An administration fee of £90 inclusive of VAT is chargeable for approval and final inspection of the works.

14. Can visitors stay?

Within the terms of the lease guests may stay with you for 28 days maximum at any one time. Please inform the office if any guests are staying.

En-suite guest rooms are also available within the Village at extremely reasonable prices.

15. What about parking?

Car parking is available within the Village on a “first come, first served” basis.

There are also garages available to lease for a term of 21 years. The cost lease premium for a garage is £12,000 plus a Ground Rent of £20 per annum.

The garage lease is not assignable, but can be surrendered to the Landlord for 50% of the full price paid originally (less a legal fee of £40 to cover the costs of de-registering the lease at the Land Registry).

16. Are pets allowed?

Yes they are. However, for obvious reasons it is essential that they are well trained and controlled.

17. Am I allowed to sub-let my apartment?

As per the terms of the lease, residents are not permitted to sub-let their apartments.

18. Is there a selection policy for prospective purchasers?

Retirement Villages does not discriminate on the grounds of age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation or disability and is committed to a policy of equal opportunities and diversity.

Our retirement villages are designed to provide an enjoyable and supported environment for older people living independently. So far as we are able, we will endeavour to accommodate residents in line with our diversity policy.

Prospective purchasers will be asked to confirm that they are generally in good health. Purchasers who have specific health problems may be required to provide further information via their G.P.

19. What emergency support is available?

A suitably trained and qualified member of staff is on duty 24 hours per day 7 days per week to provide an emergency call out support service within the Village. This strictly covers emergency first response only.

During the day there is also someone on duty who can provide advice on health matters, liaise with GPs, families etc. and generally to look after the well-being of residents.

Other care services can be provided at an additional cost.

20. What happens if I become unable to look after myself, or my partner?

The concept of the village is ‘Independence in retirement’. However, the Company is able to arrange care packages when necessary on a private basis, including packages provided by our domiciliary care agency, a subsidiary company of Retirement Villages at an additional cost. Residents can, of course, make their own arrangements with Social Services.

Where the situation deteriorates and independence diminishes to the point where permanent care is needed, then inevitably the resident themselves or their relatives will recognise that alternative living arrangements need to be made.

In the very rare circumstances of this not being recognised, and bearing in mind the best interests of other residents, the staff, and the resident themselves, then there is a covenant in the lease where the Landlord may give notice. It should be stressed that this is the very last resort and it is hoped, that matters such as this can be dealt with in a sensible and sympathetic manner by all parties.

Where a couple are occupying a property and one of them becomes unable to look after themselves, there is no need for alternative arrangements to be made, as long as the other party remains able to cope, with the assistance of outside agencies.

21. Are there any social activities/facilities?

At Castle Village there is a restaurant (open for three services per week as well as being available for special events), a conservatory, bar, library with an internet enabled computer, snooker room, kiosk (open Monday to Friday 09.15am to 10.15am), function room and a launderette.

The Village Residents’ Association also organises social events and outings for residents to join in if they wish. Some of the activities already in existence at the Village are as follows: art classes, keep fit, line dancing, theatre trips, poetry, music and bridge.

There are also coffee mornings, a luncheon club with guest speakers and events such as fashion show. A highlight of the year is the Village’s “Marquee Week” held in the summer when there is a week long festival of activities.

22. Does the Management Company consult tenants?

The day to day, on-site running of the village is the responsibility of Castle Village Management Ltd, to whom tenants pay their service charges.

However, the Village Manager regularly attends the Residents’ Association Committee Meetings, where any matters relating to the good management of the village can be discussed.

Under the terms of the Deed, the Management Company provides each tenant with a written estimated budget of the service charges for the coming year.

Prior to this being issued, the Village Manager meets with a Finance Monitoring Group appointed by the Resident’s Association, to discuss the proposed new budget and as far as possible to obtain agreement to it, having made available all the relevant figures and supporting information.

The Management Company will also provide for each tenant, as soon as possible after the end of the financial year, a copy of the statement of accounts of the village, duly certified by a Chartered Accountant.