Retirement and Mature Lifestyle Estates
South Africa’s’ elderly population is expected to double by 2050 according to the World Health Organisation. Its “World Report on Aging and Health” states: the portion of South Africa’s’ population aged 69 years or older will double from 7.7% to 15.4% of the country’s total population over the next 31 years – taking it from a current approx. 4.3million people to approx. 10million elderly people in 2050.
The challenge of housing the more affluent sector of the growing elderly population has been taken up by property developers focusing on retirement and mature lifestyle estates. Marina Constas – director of BBM Attorneys and specialist Sectional Title attorney says: “Accommodation for the elderly is increasingly moving away from nursing home type facilities towards independent living and preventative care. Sectional title retirement villages are becoming the way to go for senior housing; but the involvement of attorneys with extensive Sectional Title experience is necessary, right from inception of a new development, to ensure that that there is the necessary balance between the developers’ objectives and the interests of the residents.
Constas is also the author of Demystifying Sectional Title, and states that: “It is critical in retirement schemes that the sectional title development is correctly structured at the outset and that the rules are written in such a way that they are clear and enforceable.”
“In a retirement development, buyers are often investing their hard-earned life savings in the property. Developers may find themselves dealing with difficult homeowners who, having put all of their investments into the Estate, may be inclined to scrutinise and challenge any potential issues and will have the time on hand to devote to this. In additions to falling under the Sectional Title Act, retirement schemes are also regulated by the Housing Development Schemes for Retired Persons Act”
“Under this Act, only people who are 50 years or older, or their spouses may occupy a retirement or Mature Lifestyle Estate. The exception to this is when all other owners in the Estate give their consent in writing. While the occupant must be over 50 – the buyer need not be: someone younger may buy a unit for an elderly parent. With the current demand for retirement homes, this would also be a lucrative investment” she says.
Expanding on what buyers should look for in a well set-up retirement scheme, and what developers should aim for – Constas says the rules will stipulate exactly what facilities and services the elderly residents are getting in addition to accommodation. The advantage to the developer and the buyers of getting input at the start from attorneys experienced in Sectional Title are innumerable as to pointing out where problems may lie.
Constas cites the new Heritage Estate in Modderfontein as an example of a retirement scheme that has been meticulously set up with the necessary care and professionalism. She and her team were contracted to set out the Rules of the Scheme.
“Today, frail-care facilities are astronomically expensive to run and generally unsustainable. The move towards preventative care in the Estate with home-based care options is in line with development all over the world.” Constas says.