Frequently Asked Questions

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

Whilst the intention of the page 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 Thamesfield and residing there, will in every instance take precedence over any comment made on this Frequently Asked Questions page.

Last Updated: March 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 10% 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.

Indeed, we recommend that you should seek independent advice, support and representation as appropriate with regards to a move to one of our Villages.

6. What happens when I want to sell my property?

When you wish to sell the property you can offer it on the open market. Retirement Villages has its own in-house dedicated estate agency service offering a specialised sales and marketing service and will be pleased to offer its services to you for a fee to be agreed at the time. Alternatively, you may instruct another estate agent of your choosing if you wish.

7. What is the Management Company?

A Company (Thamesfield Management Ltd) set up for the sole purpose of the management of the estate and buildings at Thamesfield and arranging the services as set out in the Deed of Management.

8. 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.

9. How much are the service charges?

For the current financial year (1st April 2017 to the 31st March 2018) the Service Charge is £7,217.66 per annum.

There is also the Thamesfield Residents Club (formerly known as the Standard Plan) of £206 per week single occupancy and £303.85 per week for double occupancy, this includes a 24 hour response from trained staff – this includes a 24 hour response from trained staff – full details are available from the Village Manager.

Both of these charges are reviewed in February each year and any changes to the cost of the service charge or the standard plan will take effect from April.

The service charge and Thamesfield Residents Club fees are payable quarterly in advance.

There is also a Ground Rent of up to £300 per annum that is payable.

10. 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.

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

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

The Service Charge is variable and operates on a strictly “not for profit” basis, in accordance with the Housing Acts and therefore any future increases will only reflect any actual increased cost in providing the services. We will give at least 28 days’ advance notice of any change.

13. Can you show me a worked example of what all this might cost me?

As an illustration, we have calculated the annual costs for a typical property in Thamesfield and we have also given an illustration of the potential costs on sale. These are available upon request.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

Unfortunately we do not have any other overnight accommodation on site for guests, but the Village Manager will be able to recommend suitable hotels in the immediate vicinity. Any guests are of course welcome to join you here for all meals.

17. What about parking?

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

18. Are pets allowed?

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

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

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

20. 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.

21. 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.

There is a full programme of care through our own domiciliary care agency called “Thamesfield at Home”. The Care Manager will be responsible for agreeing the levels of care required with you and together with the team of qualified carers will provide a programme of care designed specifically for you. This can include monitoring and re-ordering your medications if this is what you would like.

We place a great deal of importance on recruiting the right people to work as carers and we then train them to our own high standards. The staff are all selected for their reliability, integrity, friendliness and professionalism.

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

Living at Thamesfield means that 24 hour care is available to any resident if this becomes necessary and unless your GP recommends that you need to move into a residential care or nursing home you will be able to remain in your apartment. Our aim is to ensure that you can be cared for within your own apartment by our own team of qualified carers for as long as you need us.

The Care Manager will agree the level of care and support required with you (and/or your family if appropriate) and arrange for this to be provided. Details of any additional costs will be agreed with you at the time.

In the very rare circumstances 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 to terminate the lease. 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.

23. Are there any social activities / facilities?

As well as the restaurant where residents can meet over a meal, The Orangery offer a light and airy space as a wonderful lounge with fabulous views down the River Thames. There is also a full and varied activities programme which you are free to join in as much or as little as you please.

These include coffee mornings, guest speakers and musical events as well as outings.

24. Does the Management Company consult tenants?

Yes.

We encourage residents to form their own Residents’ Association and the Village Manager is available to attend the Residents Association Committee Meetings by invitation.

Under the terms of the Deed of Management, the Management Company provides each resident 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 Residents’ 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 to each resident, 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.