Information for residents of leasehold retirement villages | Redland City Council

Information for residents of leasehold retirement villages

Current pensioner rebates

To be eligible for the rebate, applicants must meet the requirements for the Queensland Government's rates subsidy. Tenants or leaseholders are not eligible. This is because the property owner pays rates on the property, not the tenant or leaseholder.

Request to extend pensioner rebates

Prior to adopting the 2016-17 Budget, Redland City Council was asked to investigate the possibility of extending pensioner rates rebates to tenants of local leasehold retirement villages.

In adopting the previous Budget for 2016-17 councillors voted not to extend pensioner rebates beyond the current arrangement. The reasons for this are explained below:

1. Equity

With other tenants

Extending pensioner rebates to residents of leasehold retirement villages would contradict Council’s current policy of only allowing owner/occupiers to access the rebate.

It would also create inequity between pensioners in retirement villages and local pensioners in privately owned rental properties who would not have access to the rebate.

Across retirement villages

Residents of retirement villages pay a service charge to the owner of the facility, which it is assumed includes rates and utilities and possibly other charges that differ from residence to residence and village to village.

The calculation and billing of these charges is determined by the owner of the facility and as such Council has no visibility of what is and isn’t included. This makes it very difficult for Council to provide an equitable rebate across all retirement villages because each owner may use a different calculation or include different costs in their respective service charge.

2. Council systems don’t support change

Council is able to provide a rebate to the owner/occupier of properties because we have a direct billing relationship with them through our current rating system.

In comparison, the billing relationship Council has with leasehold retirement village schemes is with the owner, not the residents. This makes it very difficult to administer any rebate system with residents who live in these facilities.

3. Current system offers a better outcome for pensioners

Comparing General Rates to service charges

In investigating this request, Council compared the rates and charges paid by residents in leasehold retirement villages with what is paid by a resident eligible for pensioner rebate on their General Rates - this figure is an assumption and is calculated by dividing the total rates and charges applied to leasehold retirement villages by the number of leasehold units to find what portion each unit pays.

This showed residents in leasehold retirement villages pay much less than owner/occupiers receiving pensioner rebates, meaning residents of leasehold retirement villages are better off under the current arrangement.

When all fixed Council charges are taken into consideration, the average saving (based on 2016-17 figures investigated) for a leasehold retirement village resident is $1,444 in comparison to a property receiving a part rates rebate, and $1,279 when compared to a property receiving a full rates rebate.

Compared to other cities

Presently the Gold Coast City Council, Brisbane City Council, Cairns Regional Council and Toowoomba Regional Council provide a rebate to pensioners in retirement villages.

However, each Council rates these premises at a different rate in the dollar, with all of them charging a higher rate in the dollar than Redland City Council. This means that despite these other cities offering a pensioner rebate to residents of leasehold retirement villages, Redlands Coast residents in retirement villages pay the lowest rate in the dollar compared with these other Councils.