Deciding which option is right for you depends on an array of subjective circumstances and preferences as well as other legal and financial considerations.
Granny flats are an appealing choice for many. Not only because they can increase the value of a home by pooling the assets of parents and children, but also for the convenience and support they provide.
The physical proximity of granny flats can enable adult children to support their parents as they get older, as well as benefiting tired parents who are looking for assistance and support with their own children. It really can be win-win.
However, granny flat arrangements can raise complex family and legal issues. For example, what happens to the older parents if the marriage of the adult children ends and they need to sell the home? Or what happens down the line if an older parent requires more advanced care and now needs to move into an aged care facility? How are the funds accessed in these circumstances if they are tied up in the family home?
Furthermore, if the adult child gets sick and can no longer care for their parent how will that situation be managed? Contracts are key to protect the rights and interests of all involved. Granny flat agreements should be drawn up by an independent professional where possible to cover these situations and more.
Retirements villages are another option with an array of benefits for older people including the built-in support of a community. Retirement villages are often social places that encourage friendship and support through weekly activities and the mutual use of shared amenities.
Retirement villages are a good option for providing flexibility around different levels of care. Whilst there are often self-contained units or villas available there is also the option to have some assistance with cleaning and cooking if required as well.
However, retirement villages are known for their complex contracts and various fees. It is important that buyer beware and that anyone considering the option of a retirement village understand the full weight of their decisions, independent professional assistance is advised to ensure your interests are protected before signing on the dotted line.
Manufactured home parks
Another type of accommodation available to older Australians is a manufactured home. This relates to a movable home or dwelling, usually found in caravan parks. According to Port Stephens Council there are more than twenty five manufactured home estates and caravan parks in Port Stephens.
Manufactured homes create a good option for people looking to downsize as they can be cost-effective as well as providing the added benefit of an in-built community. Manufactured home parks are often in desirable locations, such as the warmer climates of northern NSW and QLD which can be appealing for older people looking to enjoy their later years.
A good benefit to manufactured homes is access to shared facilities such as playgrounds for grandchildren to visit and perhaps a swimming pool and barbeque areas. It is important to understand there will be fees attached to the upkeep and maintenance of these amenities, so it is fundamental to be realistic about whether paying the cost for these extras is going to enhance your quality of life or just add another cost burden.
Other important points and drawbacks of this option is that you will not own the land your manufactured home sits on, also and importantly you will still be charged fees even when you do not occupy the site for example if you go on holidays and are not living there for a time.
It is important to note that rent can and most likely will be changed throughout your stay, accordingly it is vital to read and understand your contract carefully. The law related to manufactured homes is governed by the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulations 2005 and can be complex, it is advisable to seek professional advise if you are considering this option.
This is a brief guide and overview of accommodation options available to older Australians. It should not be considered as legal advice. If you or a loved one is thinking about moving or changing your accommodation type contact one of our expert lawyers for professional advice in this complex area.