What is the lease?
Lifestyle Villages are a unique "own the home, lease the land" concept.
When you purchase a home and move into El Caballo you enter into a lease called a Residential Site Agreement. This lease states the terms and conditions of lease and sets out the obligations on both you as the resident and us as the owner/operator.
The lease grants you the right to occupy your site at El Caballo and use the resort facilities at El Caballo for the term of the lease. In return for this you pay a Weekly Fee which for all intents and purposes is the rent (lease) of the land.
The benefit of having a lease is that upon buying in to El Caballo you will not have to pay stamp duty or settlement fees and ongoing there is no burden on you meet the costs of land ownership.
The "land-lease" also allows those who are on a pension to claim Government Rent Assistance to off-set against the Weekly Fees. See "Weekly Fees" for more information on this.
How long is the lease?
The first leases granted to our residents is for 60 years, however the Government requires that all of our leases have a common end date (in the year 2073), therefore if you buy in now you will have an ever so slightly reduced lease period.
This period is reduced each time the home that occupies a site is sold. For example if your lease is for 59 years and you live in your home for 10 years, the next owner will have a term of 49 years. The lease is quite unique in this industry in that we are obliged to keep the lease with you in place for the full term, but you can exit the lease with just 60 days notice.
What happens at the end of the lease?
When we are 5 years out from the common end date (in the year 2068) we will advise the then-current residents of our intentions with the property. In all likelihood the leases would all be extended for another 60 years.
Which Act governs our lease?
The lease is primarily governed by the Residential Parks (Long Stay Tenants) Act 2006 and Regulations 2007. Under this Act your lease is classified as a Site-Only Fixed-Term Long Stay Agreement.
What happens if the village is sold?
Your lease remains valid notwithstanding any sale of the village. The lease is for a fixed-term and any prospective buyer of the village must acknowledge these leases in the purchase.
Can I be evicted from the village?
The simply answer is yes. But it is highly unlikely.
The terms of the lease provide for obligations which the Resident must meet. Most of our clients gain comfort in the knowledge that we have the ability to enforce rules that enable a functional, viable and harmonious village. This is something so often missing in the suburbs and a big reason why lifestyle villages are a popular choice.
Essentially so long as you pay your weekly fees and do not disrupt the enjoyment of the village for other residents life will be easy for everyone.
What are weekly fees and what do they include?
Weekly fees are for all intents and purposes the rent (lease) of the land where your home is situated. They cover your right to the exclusive use of that land and also cover your use of the shared facilities in the village. For instance, the fees cover the costs of :-
• Shire and water rates
• Rubbish collection
• Village management
• Maintenance of roads, signage, street lights and common landscaping including the front garden of your home
• Use and maintenance of all community buildings and resort-style facilities
You are required to pay for your own usage of water, electricity, gas and telephone.
How and when are the fees reviewed?
Fees are reviewed annually and are adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). We use this approach, rather than a market review, as it is a fairer system for our residents on pensions and tight budgets.
Are there any Deferred Management Fees?
No. These fees are generally associated with Retirement Villages and are not necessary in Lifestyle Villages such as El Caballo.
How do I pay the fees?
When you sign your Residential Site Agreement, you will also sign a direct debit authority. We will deduct the fees fortnightly from your bank account. If you are entitled to Rent Assistance, you are required to pay the full weekly fees and then the Government pays the subsidy directly to you.
Am I entitled to Rent Assistance?
If you are on a pension, you are most likely entitled to Rent Assistance when living at El Caballo.
Often Centrelink confuse lifestyle villages with retirement villages and may give you incorrect advice. We will provide you with a letter that clearly explains the nature of your residence at El Caballo so there can be no confusion when you visit Centrelink.
As at March 2016 the maximum Rent Assistance rebates (fortnightly) are $130.40 for singles and $122.80 for couples.
If you would like more information on Rent Assistance visit the Centrelink website by using the following link http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/rent-assistance
What do I need to know about village management?
Most importantly, the village management is there to manage the village, not the residents.
We have regular meetings with the Park Liaison Committee (PLC) which is a representative group of elected residents and village management. At these PLC meetings we provide updates on the stage of the development and discuss village operations to keep things running smoothly.
If you have any questions or comments we welcome your input and feedback on things we are doing around the village.
Unlike other villages we are available 5 days a week, sometimes more, and we are happy to put aside some time to talk outside of the regular meetings.
How do we receive mail?
Mail is delivered to the nearby post office. Village management collect the mail and deliver it to the residents on a daily basis.
We are working toward having Australia Post deliver directly to the village in the future.
Is there a social club?
Yes there is a social club where participation is voluntary. The social club regularly plans and organises small events and functions for the residents.
In addition to this, management through El Caballo Resort often have shows & events which the residents are invited to.
What facilities are available?
Most new villages don't have any facilities available to residents for the first year or two. At El Caballo we have facilities from the start and a plan to provide further facilities after a couple of years.
Right now you can enjoy tennis, pool, spa, sauna, gym, cinema theatre, library, restaurant, cocktail lounge and wine bar. You can also have access to business facilities at the office including fax and photocopier and we have a 45 seat village coach available for resident transport.
Currently being finished off are the workshops, arts and crafts centre.
Future works will bring more facilities including a new clubhouse and bowling greens.
For more information refer to our Facilities page.
What is the village coach for?
The village coach is for transporting residents to and from outings such as day tours and shopping days. The village management have provided the coach and will ensure regular servicing however the village social club will be responsible for diesel, cleaning and rostering its use.
If you have a HR class licence and are interested in driving the coach from time to time, please let us know.
Are there storage facilities?
We have a limited number of storage bays for caravans, trailers, boats and motor homes. If you need to store one of these please enquire with village management as to availability and cost.
We are also panning on introducing lock-up store rooms. While part of the idea of down-sizing is to get rid of unused items and de-clutter your life, there are times when you just can't part with items. These storage rooms should be available in stage 2, again they will be limited in number so please contact village management as to availability and cost.
What is the process of buying a home at El Caballo?
Please refer to our Buying Guide page.
Can I have friends stay?
Visitors are welcome and of course most of our homes are 2 bedroom so it's natural you'll have people staying from time to time. There are some restrictions on visitors staying for an extended period of time which are covered in the Lease.
Are children permitted at the village?
El Caballo is a lifestyle village designed for over 45's who do not have children permanently living with them. Children are certainly welcome as visitors and grandkids often stay for a couple of days over school holiday periods, they just cannot reside permanently at the village.
Are pets allowed?
Yes provided they are approved by management. Generally if they are not a danger to local wildlife or other residents and is not causing a nuisance or annoying other residents your pets can stay.
Is security good at El Caballo?
El Caballo is in a fairly safe location. Having said that village management take security very seriously. The village entrance has gates which can only be opened by remote control.
Very soon we will have CCTV and audio links back from the front gate to each home.
The best form of security in villages like this is the neighbourhood watch. We encourage our residents to look out for each other and to let us know if they see anything untoward. So far so good.
Can I make changes to my home?
Prior to construction we will sit with you at the pre-start meeting and make any required changes to a standard home so that it becomes your personalised home.
Once your home is in place, what you do to the inside is up to you, however external changes require the approval of village management. This is so we can ensure it complies with the regulations and doesn't detract from the visual amenity of the rest of the village.
How do I re-sell my home?
When you sign the Residential Site Agreement you engage our services to sell your home when you are ready to do so. Almost every resale of a lifestyle village home is an on-site sale, that is the home is sold to a buyer who wishes to live in the home in its current location in the village. We are the best people to do this as outside agents are not conversant with the ideals and policies of our village and being located on-site, we are available to meet prospective purchasers at the drop of a hat.
Is the Lease transferrable to a new buyer?
A new buyer is granted a new lease for the remaining term of the old lease. That may sound confusing but by not assigning or transferring the existing lease we are able to fully release you from all of your obligations in the lease which gives you peace of mind.
What happens to the proceeds when I sell?
We deduct a small percentage (7.9%) from the sale price as our fee for sales and marketing services and the rest is yours.
This fee covers everything our staff are required to do during the course of a sale including market and advertise your home, arrange inspections and meet buyers, act as your settlement agent, prepare new lease documentation for the buyer, familiarise the buyer with the village procedures and arrange a release of lease obligations for you as the seller (outgoing resident).
Other lifestyle villages charge up to 15% and retirement villages charge up to 30% and often take a cut of your capital growth which we think is unfair. We have worked hard to keep the lifestyle cost effective and to make sure your asset is not diminished unnecessarily.
What is the resale value like?
Interestingly homes in lifestyle villages tend to appreciate in value. As the village continues to grow, the number of vacant sites reduces and it becomes a matter of supply and demand. Eventually the only way to get in is for someone to sell out.
As we continue to grow and meet more and more people we hear more and more questions. We will add to these FAQ's from time to time to try and provide as much useful information as possible to people interested in El Caballo Lifestyle Village.