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A family has been waiting six months for a $120,000 payout from an Auckland retirement village after their mother died in April.
But the village says it expects to be able to pay before the end of the year once the buyer’s property sale settles.
Don McFarlane said his mother had passed away in April and although Pakuranga Park Village, where she lived, has re-sold her place no money has been paid to his family and won’t be paid until the buyer’s property sale goes through.
The village says the “domino effect” applies to property sales and is covered in the terms and conditions that people sign.
McFarlane said: “It’s so unfair. We’ve been fighting this for six months.
“The system is just wrong. We want to get publicity about this. We want the money back and to get an explanation and an apology. We also want a law change so that people can get their money out faster. If the place is sold, you should get your money back. Boom.
“The problem is they won’t release the money to us until the buyer of another place has paid them that money. Although someone has moved into mum’s place, we’ve not yet got the $120,000 back and it’s been six months,” McFarlane said.
Christian Pulley, village manager of Real Living’s Pakuranga Park Village, wrote to the family last month about paying, saying when the family will get their settlement is dependent on a separate sale – the mother’s buyer’s place.
The village won’t pay McFarlane’s family out until the sale of a unit that the buyer of his mother’s apartment goes ahead.
McFarlane said that buyer moved from 57 Village Dr to the mother’s serviced apartment at the same village recently.
“The buyer moved in about three weeks ago,” McFarlane said.
But until Real Living gets the money from the sale of that person’s place at 57 Village Dr, they won’t pay out the family for serviced apartment 311.
That’s all been explained in a letter to McFarlane’s family.
“I am writing to update you on the progress of the relicensing of the unit that pertains, to the pay out of [the] secured deposit, which is 57 Village Dr,” Pulley wrote to the family.
“The resident from 57 Village Dr transferred from their villa. This means that the release of the secured deposit is dependent on the settlement of a new resident in 57 Village Dr,” Pulley said.
“We have a conditional offer on 57 Village Dr, the unconditional date for the offer is 14 November and settlement is set for 14 December. If all goes to plan the deposit will be paid out within five working days of settlement, by Covenant our statutory supervisor,” Pulley wrote to the family.
Martin Oettli, Real Living’s chief executive, told the Herald the money would be repaid to the family once settlement occurred on the villa which had to be sold. Then, the family would get the money, he said. These were the terms and conditions that the mother had agreed to when she lived in the village and when she had transferred between properties.
The woman and her husband arrived at the village in 1993, paying $190,000, he said. She moved to an apartment two years ago at no extra cost, even though that apartment was valued at around $400,000 at the time of the shift.
“For her to be able to transfer into the serviced apartment at no extra cost two years ago, the outgoing person has to receive their refund once the villa was relicensed. That’s part of our terms and conditions. The mother benefitted from that in June 2020. The resident that’s moved into her apartment has also benefitted from that,” he said.
Payouts from villages became higher profile recently when the Herald reported on the case of another resident who complained that her village took nearly a year to sell her place after she couldn’t afford to stay when her husband became ill.
Consumer NZ reported on a recently widowed 80-year-old left in financial limbo, forced to pay fees for a unit she left almost a year ago.
But an industry group has hit back, saying the woman’s experience was not typical.
The woman was not named and nor was the North Island village. The woman (given the pseudonym Mary) and her husband moved into the retirement village in September 2020.
But soon after, her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to be moved to a different place with hospital-level care. She couldn’t afford weekly fees at the village and for her husband’s hospital-level care.
So last September, she told the village operator she needed to go, terminate her licence to occupy and said she wanted to get her money back. The village management said attempts to sell had fallen through three times but they continued to try.
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