Frequently Asked Questions

Owners handbook

Is a defferred fee payable on resale?

A transfer premium is payable on resale in accordance with the lease. This funds the estate agency services provided by Retirement Security Ltd. The fee is a maximum of 3% of the selling price.

What does "Run for you - not for profit", Mean?

The management of every court is controlled by the owners of that court. They elect owners to be directors of the management company.
That company sets the annual budget and service charge and appoints key members of staff.

It does this on a not-for-profit basis. This helps to keep the cost of items such as the restaurant service down, whilst maintaining high standards. The management company also appoints managing agents to handle day-to-day matters. At most courts – not all, because they are free to choose – the managing agent is Retirement Security Limited.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

Yes. The minimum age varies from one court to another. It is usually either 55 or 60.

Will I be able to afford the service charge?

After moving in, many owners are surprised by how affordable their service charge is, partly because it covers so many of the maintenance costs which, at their previous home, were high. Heating costs, too, tend to be lower. A high proportion of owners also qualify for government Attendance Allowance, which can make a big difference. We can help you to apply for that allowance.

Is smoking allowed?

Yes, smoking is allowed within owners’ Retirement Security apartments but not within communal areas or grounds.

What emergency service do the staff provide?

All courts have a duty manager on duty, at the court, 24 hours a day and every room in every owner’s home has an emergency pull cord. This means that, in the event of an emergency, someone you know is there, in the building, to help you.

Is there any help with houskeeping?

Yes – at all courts, the service charge includes one and a half hours of housekeeping every week.

Owners can have more at extra cost (charged on a not-for-profit basis by the owners’ management company).

How do duty managers know I'm OK?

One of their duties is, every day, to record that they have seen or spoken to you. For the most part, this happens naturally anyway. Formalising the process just helps to make sure that the managers know, without being intrusive, if anyone is ‘under the weather’.

What about personal care?

Personal care is help with things like washing, dressing and medication. Some courts are CQC registered and have qualified care staff. At all courts, the duty managers have a good knowledge of the local private and NHS care providers and, should it be necessary, can help you to put together a care plan.

If I ever needed a carer, could he or she stay in my apartment?

Yes. Central to the appeal of the Retirement Security concept is that you are much less likely, for all sorts of practical reasons and those related to general health and happiness, to ever have to move into a nursing home and suffer the great costs of doing so.

Is wheelchair access good?

Very much so. There is step-free access to all areas and the width of all corridors and doors accommodates wheelchairs. The proportions of the bathrooms and kitchens have also been designed with wheelchair users in mind. Kitchen worktops in many apartments are slightly lower than standard.
This is helpful for both wheelchair and non-wheelchair users, as we all get a little shorter with age.

What savings could I make compared to living in my current property?

You will not need to employ domestic, gardening or maintenance help. Buildings insurance is covered by the service charge and there is no ground rent payable. Because an alarm call system is fitted you will not need to register with an emergency lifeline service.

You will probably find that your utility bills are reduced – most owners are now paying less than previously for gas, electricity and water. You will usually pay less than the local market rate for additional services – charges for meals and for additional help are competitive as the owners’ company is non-profit making and charges are kept to a minimum.

Perhaps above all you will maintain the equity in your property – people with capital assets above £23,250 are required to fund the accommodation and living cost components if they move to a residential or nursing home. Our owners typically remain in their own home for much longer than average, and in most cases for life.

Can I make physical alterations?

Yes, although anything structural requires freeholder consent.

Do I have to pay ground rent?

No ground rent is not charged, please refer to the service charges and fact sheet.

What shared activities are there?

Typically, a great many! What they are varies hugely from one court to another, so please ask. There is no obligation or pressure to get involved in any activities. A significant proportion of owners say they like living somewhere where there is plenty of social activity going on, whilst being able to keep themselves to themselves.

In legal terms, what would I be buying?

When you buy a Retirement Security apartment or bungalow, you are buying however many years remain of a long lease on that property, purchased by its previous owner. That lease will have originally been for either 125 years or 99 years. Where it was originally 99 years, and where Retirement Security Limited is the managing agent of the court, Retirement Security is, at the time of writing, offering lease extensions of up to 26 years at no cost bar legal and administration expenses. This offer is entirely voluntary and believed to be without precedent.

What is the service charge and how often is it paid?

The service charge is an amount paid by the owner of each property at each court. It is paid monthly in advance, by standing order, into the bank account of the owners’ management company.

What does the service charge cover at a typical court?

The lion’s share covers the cost of on-site employees. Communal utility costs take up some 3% to 5%, whilst about 10% is for maintenance (e.g. alarm call system, fire alarms, general repairs, cleaning and gardening). Insurance, administration and professional fees account for about 12% or 13%. Most importantly, a significant contribution is put into a Fund for Future Maintenance. This evens out major capital expenses such as new roofs and windows.

By how much could the service charge rise?

The boards of directors of each of the management companies aim to keep the annual service charge increase at no more than the percentage increase in the state retirement pension. Should a greater increase be proposed, this must be agreed at a formal meeting of the owners.

What equipment do the apartments have

All have fitted bathrooms, and kitchens ready for washer-dryers and other standard items. What each has in place, varies from one property to another. Similarly, apartments are typically sold unfurnished, though most resales are carpeted and have a high standard of décor.

Who can use the guest suite?

The guest suite is intended primarily as a way for owners to be able to invite friends and family to come and stay for one or two nights, without having to put them up in their own apartment. Beyond that, different courts apply different guidelines for use, so please ask.

There is a (not-for-profit) charge for use of the guest suite, to cover cleaning and maintenance costs.

What costs do I have to meet over and above the service charge?

You are responsible for the utility bills (gas, electricity, water and telephone) for your own apartment. You are also responsible for paying any council tax on your own apartment. You will need to take out contents insurance.

You are responsible for payment for any additional services you may use, such as meals in the dining room or additional housekeeping assistance (over and above the 1.5 hours provided under the service charge).

Can I get help with my payments?

Many older people are eligible for attendance allowance, which is not means-tested. Depending on your financial circumstances you may also be entitled to financial support from the pensions service.

The services manager for the court can advise you in confidence and assist with making applications where appropriate. If you would like to discuss these options, please make your request by contacting Retirement Security Ltd. at our Stratford office.

For any further questions please contact us

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