2020 04 02

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

We have put together a list of our most frequently asked questions to give you more information about buying and living in a Renaissance community. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, our friendly and knowledgeable sales managers will be happy to answer your questions.

Buying your Apartment
Is it more expensive to live in a Renaissance apartment than my current home?

Our owners have found that moving into a Renaissance apartment can be more cost-effective than living in a typical family house. Heating costs are often much lower due to modern insulation and energy-efficient construction methods.

Do you sell your apartments on a freehold or leasehold basis?

All our apartments are sold on a leasehold basis. A copy of the lease relevant to each development is available for you to view on request, either at a new community’s sales suite or by contacting our sales team.

Are your apartments part of fully-furnished?

Floor coverings are provided, but the apartments are sold unfurnished. The only exception is when we sell show apartments, in which case the furniture may be available for separate purchase.

What does buying off plan mean?

We typically offer our new apartments for sale before they have been built. This gives you the first choice of apartments, so that you can pick the best one for you.

Do you offer part exchange?

Yes we do, and many of our owners have found this helpful. You can find out more about our Part Exchange offering here. Please ask one of our sales consultants when you take the tour or by emailing the sales team – they’ll be happy to discuss the part-exchange option with you.

Do you rent apartments?

Yes, apartments are available to rent at a selection of our developments. Find out more on our Rentals page.

Can I obtain a small mortgage to purchase a Renaissance apartment?

We would encourage you to seek independent financial advice. For more information, please ask the sales team at the development you are interested in.

What deposit will I be required to pay to secure my apartment?

We ask for a deposit of £1,000 to reserve a new one-bedroom apartment, or £2,000 to reserve a new two-bedroom apartment, for an agreed reservation period. This amount will be deducted from the cost of your apartment when you exchange contracts. If you withdraw from the purchase, or the agreed reservation period expires, a deduction may be made for the administrative and legal costs we have incurred. Full details are set out within our Reservation Form. Please ask the sales team at your development for further information.

Do you charge a transfer or exit fee on the subsequent sale of an apartment in one of your new developments?

We do not charge a transfer or exit fee. We do, however, charge administration fees on change of ownership. There is an initial administration fee (crica £750 plus VAT - check your lease for the cost for your development) for approval of the incoming owner/occupier, including verification of age, and for providing management information to solicitors acting in the sale or transfer.

There is a further administration fee (currently £750 plus VAT) payable for preparation and completion of the Deed of Covenant required from an incoming owner and the provision of the certificate required for registration of change of ownership at the Land Registry.

Costs & Charges
How much is your service charge?

The levels of service charge vary between communities, depending on the facilities provided, the number of homes there and the size of the apartments. Advance payments are required every six months, with an end-of-year adjustment made once the service-charge accounts for that year are complete.

A copy of the service-charge budget at the time of purchase is available from our sales team. We do reserve the right to adjust the apportioning of service charges between the apartments if circumstances justify this, to ensure that all residents are treated fairly and reasonably. 

What does your service charge cover?

The service charge covers a range of services including:

  • The on-site Lifehost
  • Careline monitoring
  • Emergency-call equipment
  • Ground maintenance, including gardening
  • Window cleaning
  • Communal area cleaning and materials
  • Electricity in the communal areas
  • Lift maintenance
  • Water and sewage
  • Buildings insurance
  • Redecoration fund
  • Sundries.
Will your service charge increase after I move in?

Our service charge reflects the costs of the services we provide to our residents and as such, charges can move up or down according to the forecast for the year ahead, and adjustments made at the end of the year. In the interests of transparency, we share the breakdown of individual costs with our owners, outlining how each charge is calculated.

In the interests of fairness, we take account of our owners’ representations when we set the annual service charge budget.

Is council tax included in the service charge?

Our owners are responsible for paying their own council tax bills. For more information on council tax bands, please ask our sales team or the local authority concerned.

Do you charge ground rent? If so, why do I need to pay it?

As with all leasehold properties in England & Wales, ground rents are payable on all our apartments. The ground rent helps to meet the costs of providing the communal spaces that play such a vital role in the success of our communities, but which are nevertheless provided in the form of unsaleable floor space.

How much do you charge for ground rent?

Our ground rent charges vary according to the size of the apartment in question. At present, our ground rent ranges from £260 to £750 per year, which is broadly in line with that charged by our competitors.

Why is your ground rent higher than other apartments sold on a leasehold basis?

Ground rents associated with housing schemes of the type we build are usually a little higher than the charges linked to conventional apartments, because of the significant communal spaces that we like to offer our owners. 

How do I pay ground rent and will this increase in the future?

All ground rent is collected on a yearly basis and you will be clearly informed in advance about when this is payable. The ground rent linked to all apartments is fixed for the first five years of the term, and is reviewed every five years thereafter. All ground rent reviews will be associated with inflation at that time and linked to the Retail Price Index.

I thought the government had abolished ground rents, so why are you still charging them? What does this mean for purchasers?

In 2019 the Government announced its intention to prohibit the charging of ground rents as part of wider proposals to reform leasehold legislation. This proposal was largely triggered by issues arising from the sale of houses (as distinct from apartments) on a leasehold basis.

However, at present no legislation has come forward and it may be some time before any changes come into force. We will continue to charge ground rents until legislative changes are enacted.

What is the minimum age requirement to purchase and live in a Renaissance Retirement independent living apartment?

Generally, the minimum age for occupiers is 60 years. In the case of joint occupiers, one of whom is 60 or over, the other must be aged over 55. In some cases, the local council requires us to impose a higher minimum age limit, such as state pension age. Please check with our sales team.

If I buy a Renaissance Retirement apartment but I am not ready to live in it, can I rent it out?

Yes, you can, but the tenant must comply with the age limit and other criteria for occupiers set out in the lease.

About your apartment
Does the apartment come with a shower or bath?

Every Renaissance Retirement apartment is fitted with a shower in the bathroom and en-suite. However, by agreement, we can install a bath at the owner’s request. Terms and conditions apply. Please ask the sales team for more details.

Are your apartments sound proofed?

Our apartments comply with the sound-insulation requirements under Building Regulations current at the time of construction.

Does your apartment come with its own washing machine?

Yes, each apartment has a combined washing machine/tumble dryer installed. There are no communal laundry facilities at any of our developments.

Are there owners' parking facilities at your development?

Parking is available at most of our locations, but numbers may be limited so please ask our sales team if you need more information about parking provision at a specific community. All parking is offered on the basis of an annual permit, and isn’t included in an apartment’s sale. Any permit is personal to the licensee and non-transferable. A full copy of our parking policy is available from our sales team.

Can my friends and family stay at the development?

Yes, we warmly welcome our residents’ guests. There is a guest suite at each development, with en-suite facilities, TV, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. The guest suite can be booked through the community’s Lifehost. There is a reasonable charge for each night’s stay and the fee is a positive contribution to the service charge. Our Lifehost can provide you with information about the cost of a stay.

Do your induction cooktops interfere with cardiac pacemakers?

We fit induction hobs as standard in our kitchens. However, if you have a cardiac pacemaker this may not be suitable for you, as this type of hob generates an electromagnetic field that can interfere with pacemaker settings. If you are likely to be affected, our sales team will be happy to discuss an alternative.

Care & Support
Can you help me with the organisation of the move?

Absolutely. We offer a range of complementary services to help take the pressure off your move, from dealing with intermediaries to providing a packing and removals service. Please visit our Lifestory Homemoves page for more information.

Do your provide your own management services?

Yes, every Renaissance community is managed by the Lifestory Customer Operations Ltd.

Pets
Can I bring my pet dog or pet cat with me to Renaissance Retirement property?

Unlike many of our competitors, we allow our homeowners and members to have pets. And if you don’t yet own a pet, you are welcome to acquire one after moving in.

Can a friend or relative bring their pet dog when they visit?

Yes, your guests are welcome to bring their dog when they visit you at home, although dogs are not permitted in communal areas like the garden or the guest suite.