Frequently Asked Questions

We take the job of managing and maintaining our developments seriously, and are committed to being open and transparent in our communications with our homeowners. We aim to provide a best practice management service. 

Please browse our list of our most frequently asked questions, however if you cannot find what you are looking for, use the box above to type in your question.

Top ten

  • 1

    Can I bring my pet cat or dog with me?

    We understand how important the companionship of a pet can be, so we welcome a well behaved pet to live with you in your apartment. Please contact your Sales team for further details. Terms and conditions apply.

  • 2

    How much is your service charge?

    Our service charge varies slightly from development to development reflecting their different sizes and facilities, but they are formulated the same across the country.

    For a typical Retirement Living apartment (based on Emma Court in Basingstoke), the service charge is £35.35 per week for a one bedroom apartment for the financial year of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. For a two bedroom apartment, it is £53.03 per week.

    For a typical Assisted Living apartment (based on Lady Susan Court in Basingstoke), the service charge is £118.85 per week for a one bedroom apartment for the financial year of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. For a two bedroom apartment, it is £158.59 per week.

    Costs in Assisted Living developments are higher than in Retirement Living schemes to reflect the increased staffing costs, the provision of domestic support packages, and the table service restaurant provided on site. 

  • 3

    What does your service charge cover?

    Our management businesses, and service charges, reflect the expectations of our Customers and the Landlord (McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles) and the range of services required under the terms of the lease.  For example, we employ staff on each development, tender for all work with independent service providers and don’t take any commission or receive retrospective rebates.

    In our Retirement Living schemes, the service charge covers a range of services provided for homeowners, such as:

    • House Manager
    • 24 hour emergency call system
    • intruder alarm costs
    • camera door entry system
    • buildings insurance
    • laundry facilities
    • maintenance
    • water rates
    • sewerage rates
    • window cleaning for external windows
    • heating of the communal areas

    We believe the charge provides good value for money. We do not provide any of these services ourselves, with the exception of the House Manager, who is employed by MSMS. At some of our most recent developments, the service charge also includes the cost of heating within the apartments.

    In our Assisted Living schemes, in addition to the items set out above, the service charge also includes:

    • the running cost of the restaurant (with a small additional cost payable per meal eaten in the restaurant, which is typically £4.00 for a three-course meal freshly prepared on-site)
    • one-hour of domestic support per week from our staff on-site

    Our team, which can total up to 17 people per development, is based on-site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is registered with the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales. Domestic support covers whatever time-consuming chores our homeowners would like undertaken, such as cleaning, shopping, running errands and domestic help. Our homeowners choose how best to use this support.

    Additional personal care packages in our Assisted Living developments are totally flexible and can be adapted to suit our Customers’ needs, including help with going to bed and getting up in the morning, a sitting, night sleeping or waking service, preparing breakfast, getting to and from appointments or regular assistance during a period of convalescence.  All care and support services in Assisted Living developments can be provided by our on-site care staff.

    Homeowners are under no obligation to take care packages from us and can use a third party if preferred.  For a list of the additional care and support packages provided in our Assisted Living schemes, please click here

  • 4

    Will costs increase after I move in? How are budgets set?

    Our service charges are fixed on an annual cycle and reflect the costs of the services we procure on behalf of our homeowners.

    We share the individual costs that make up the service charge with homeowners and outline the methods for calculating the resulting charge. The service charge for each year is agreed in consultation with homeowners through an open book budgeting process.

    We do our very best to negotiate the best cost with third party service providers on behalf of our homeowners. As part of our system of checks and controls to ensure they are treated fairly, we regularly monitor service charges in our managed schemes against current market practices and third party providers to ensure we offer competitive rates. We have developed a simple chart to help Customers make a direct comparison for use during the sales process and a full breakdown of the service charge budget is available from our Sales teams and House Managers at all new developments.  

  • 5

    Is it more expensive to live in one of your apartments than my current home?

    While this will depend on individual circumstances, we find that, in most cases, service charges for one of our apartments are lower than like-for-like costs in a Customer’s previous property.  In addition, heating costs are very often lower due to our modern construction methods and, most likely, the more manageable size of the new apartment.

    When Customers discuss the purchase of a McCarthy & Stone apartment with us, they receive a service charge leaflet and our Sales Executive sits down with them to help them fill in the costs, review what is covered in the management services and compare them to day-to-day running costs in their current home.  Our Sales Executive ensures that they have a detailed knowledge of ongoing costs before a sale is completed. 

  • 6

    Are your apartments part or fully furnished?

    Other than the fitted furniture in the bedroom (wardrobe) the apartments are unfurnished ready for your own furniture.

  • 7

    What if someone develops dementia whilst living in an apartment?

    Our properties are designed for independent living in later life. They are not secure units and each homeowner is free to leave the development at any time they choose. Our accommodation is not suitable for people with significant dementia care needs. Therefore during the sales process it is important that purchasers and their families understand the limit of the support we can offer and satisfy themselves that their family member will be safe and secure within the chosen development. 

    We take time to meet all prospective residents and talk with them to make sure they understand the type of accommodation they are thinking of buying. We need to be sure that the purchaser is able to live independently at the development that they have support from their families and partners and adequate care/support packages are in place where appropriate. If at any time we are unsure that a retirement property is the right option we can request an assessment from our experienced care managers who will visit the prospective resident in their own home with their family present and discuss an individuals personal care needs. The assessment, if one takes place, is undertaken by an experienced care professional and if necessary we seek clarification from the customer’s GP. 

    We hope that customers will live happily in our apartments for the rest of their lives however we are aware that some of our homeowners will be impacted by health conditions in their later life that will mean that they are no longer able to live independently or safely in our developments. In these situations we will work with the resident and their family to explore whether appropriate domiciliary care can be put in place and where necessary help them manage the transition to specialist residential care.

  • 8

    Do you rent apartments?

    We currently market our apartments for purchase only but we can recommend a company who specialise in retirement rentals. You can visit the Girlings website or call them on 0800 525184

  • 9

    Are retirement apartments a good investment? Do they hold their value when they need to be resold?

    We believe that our apartments represent a good long term investment, particularly when compared to the alternative of renting or moving into a care home. Our research shows that our properties generally track the ups and downs of the housing market. As well as buying their own beautiful apartment, our Customers recognise that they are also buying a lifestyle based around security and companionship, as well as a share in many communal facilities.

    To support owners and their families when they come to sell their apartment, McCarthy & Stone offers advice to help homeowners and their families. Further information can be found here

  • 10

    What does buying off-plan mean?

    The idea of buying a new home before it's fully built can feel a little strange but with McCarthy & Stone there are lots of real advantages. For a start, you get first choice of the plots on the development. Then once you have reserve we can help make the move go smoothly- through to moving day and beyond. A dedicated Sales Executive and Customer Support Executive will be on hand to provide a package of services and assistance built around your specific requirements. 

Costs and charges

  • 1

    How much is your service charge?

    Our service charge varies slightly from development to development reflecting their different sizes and facilities, but they are formulated the same across the country.

    For a typical Retirement Living apartment (based on Emma Court in Basingstoke), the service charge is £35.35 per week for a one bedroom apartment for the financial year of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. For a two bedroom apartment, it is £53.03 per week.

    For a typical Assisted Living apartment (based on Lady Susan Court in Basingstoke), the service charge is £118.85 per week for a one bedroom apartment for the financial year of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. For a two bedroom apartment, it is £158.59 per week.

    Costs in Assisted Living developments are higher than in Retirement Living schemes to reflect the increased staffing costs, the provision of domestic support packages, and the table service restaurant provided on site. 

  • 2

    What does your service charge cover?

    Our management businesses, and service charges, reflect the expectations of our Customers and the Landlord (McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles) and the range of services required under the terms of the lease.  For example, we employ staff on each development, tender for all work with independent service providers and don’t take any commission or receive retrospective rebates.

    In our Retirement Living schemes, the service charge covers a range of services provided for homeowners, such as:

    • House Manager
    • 24 hour emergency call system
    • intruder alarm costs
    • camera door entry system
    • buildings insurance
    • laundry facilities
    • maintenance
    • water rates
    • sewerage rates
    • window cleaning for external windows
    • heating of the communal areas

    We believe the charge provides good value for money. We do not provide any of these services ourselves, with the exception of the House Manager, who is employed by MSMS. At some of our most recent developments, the service charge also includes the cost of heating within the apartments.

    In our Assisted Living schemes, in addition to the items set out above, the service charge also includes:

    • the running cost of the restaurant (with a small additional cost payable per meal eaten in the restaurant, which is typically £4.00 for a three-course meal freshly prepared on-site)
    • one-hour of domestic support per week from our staff on-site

    Our team, which can total up to 17 people per development, is based on-site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is registered with the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales. Domestic support covers whatever time-consuming chores our homeowners would like undertaken, such as cleaning, shopping, running errands and domestic help. Our homeowners choose how best to use this support.

    Additional personal care packages in our Assisted Living developments are totally flexible and can be adapted to suit our Customers’ needs, including help with going to bed and getting up in the morning, a sitting, night sleeping or waking service, preparing breakfast, getting to and from appointments or regular assistance during a period of convalescence.  All care and support services in Assisted Living developments can be provided by our on-site care staff.

    Homeowners are under no obligation to take care packages from us and can use a third party if preferred.  For a list of the additional care and support packages provided in our Assisted Living schemes, please click here

  • 3

    Will costs increase after I move in? How are budgets set?

    Our service charges are fixed on an annual cycle and reflect the costs of the services we procure on behalf of our homeowners.

    We share the individual costs that make up the service charge with homeowners and outline the methods for calculating the resulting charge. The service charge for each year is agreed in consultation with homeowners through an open book budgeting process.

    We do our very best to negotiate the best cost with third party service providers on behalf of our homeowners. As part of our system of checks and controls to ensure they are treated fairly, we regularly monitor service charges in our managed schemes against current market practices and third party providers to ensure we offer competitive rates. We have developed a simple chart to help Customers make a direct comparison for use during the sales process and a full breakdown of the service charge budget is available from our Sales teams and House Managers at all new developments.  

  • 4

    How do your service charges change year-on-year?

    Service charges cover the standard services for a development and do not change much year-on-year. Although charges are subject to price changes in the market, we aim to keep them in line with inflation and in the last year (2014/15), the average change was an increase of 1.4%.

  • 5

    What is the ground rent for?

    Ground Rent is the Freeholder’s charge for land on which leasehold buildings stand. With McCarthy & Stone developments, the freeholder retains a substantial investment in a proportion of the development, including the House Manager’s office, the communal lounge, etc.

    The level of ground rent, which can be higher than in conventional leasehold developments, is designed to ensure that, despite the passage of time, the freeholder maintains sufficient interest in the investment to provide effective management for the homeowners, for instance, should the building be damaged or destroyed.

  • 6

    How do your ground rents compare to other providers?

    The ground rents charged are comparable with those charged by other providers of retirement living accommodation and are competitive within the industry.

  • 7

    Do I need to pay ground rent, how much is it and how is it set?

    Ground rents are payable in England and Wales, but not Scotland, which operates under a different legal system. As with all leasehold properties in England and Wales, ground rents are a condition of the lease for our apartments. The level of ground rent reflects the size of the development and the level of service it provides. Ground rent in retirement apartments can be higher than mainstream apartments because they include more communal facilities, such as the lounge, the laundry, the guest suite and, in Assisted Living developments, a dining room and restaurant. These facilities are not saleable as they are retained for the use of all homeowners.

    For a typical Retirement Living apartment (based on Emma Court in Basingstoke), ground rents for the financial year of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 are £8.15 per week for a one bedroom apartment. For a two bedroom apartment, they are £9.49 per week.

    For a typical Assisted Living apartment (based on Lady Susan Court in Basingstoke) ground rents for the financial year of 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 are £8.34 per week for a one bedroom apartment. For a two bedroom apartment, they are £9.78 per week.

    There are differences between one and two bed apartments. The landlord sets the difference at a figure which it considers fairly reflects the size difference in apartments. While it would be possible to base the difference on actual square footage, this would be a complicated exercise and would lead to minor variations in ground rents between comparable apartments within any given development which would be administratively complex and could cause confusion.

    Ground Rents are fixed for 15 years. They are reviewed on the fifteenth anniversary of the date of commencement of the term and each successive fifteenth anniversary from that date. Increases are linked to either the movement in the Retail Price Index (RPI) since the last review, or if greater, by 2% per annum, and is compounded yearly.  

  • 8

    Do you sell the ground rents, why are they sold and who are they sold to?

    The freehold reversionary interests (ground rents) are sold but only on terms where McCarthy & Stone retains a headleasehold interest thus remaining as immediate landlord with an ongoing responsibility and accountability for management of the developments concerned and a continuing direct relationship with the homeowners.

    The sales are made to trusted and reputable investment companies. The proceeds of such sales help to secure a robust capital structure for McCarthy & Stone.

  • 9

    Do your service charge budgets proposed at the start of the year prove to be accurate?

    The service charge budgets represent those costs that would be expected to be incurred in a normal year of operation with a full development. It is the intention of McCarthy & Stone Management Services to ensure the service charge budgets are set as accurately as possible. Typically, our developments have shown a slight surplus to date, which is refunded each year to homeowners within six months of the end of the period.

  • 10

    Is a homeowner responsible for any flood damage from their flat which causes damage to adjoining flats?

    This depends on how the flood occurred and the party responsible for the flood. The buildings insurance that is included within the service charge will generally only cover damage that is caused to the building or communal contents (i.e. not contents owned individually by a homeowner).  However, if the landlord of the building is held to be responsible for the flood then generally any such damage will be covered by the buildings insurance or the landlord’s public liability insurance policy. 

    It is recommended that homeowners take out their own contents insurance, including accidental damage and public liability insurance, as this will generally provide cover in the event that a leak is caused by the homeowner (i.e. due to a running tap etc) which then causes damage to property of an adjoining flat owner. It is best to take advice from an insurance broker regarding this.

  • 11

    Do you charge contingency fees on your developments and how are they different to transfer fees?

    It is important that customers do not face any unexpected financial burdens in their new home resulting from, for example, the need to undertake any major refurbishment or structural repairs on the development. In order to provide confidence that there is enough money available to meet this work, the service charge includes a small charge to help cover unexpected costs such as these. This is called the Contingency Fund, and is similar to a ‘sinking fund’. It is a specific fund kept in the development’s own bank account. It is held in trust and its use is restricted to the maintenance of that development and cannot be accessed by McCarthy & Stone. It is there for the benefit of all homeowners.

    In order to keep this weekly cost – and hence the service charge – to a minimum, the development’s specific Contingency Fund is ‘topped up’ by a one-off charge of 1% of the resale price upon the sale or rent of the apartment.  McCarthy & Stone may waive the payment of the charge if the tenancy agreement for the rental is, for example, for six months or less and substitute a month’s market rent instead. The rental requirement may also be less in certain developments. Full details of the Contingency Fund are outlined in the lease and further information can be provided by our Sales Consultant or House Manager if you have any queries during the sales process.

    These fees are communicated to potential Customers before completing a purchase in the leases and sales literature. McCarthy & Stone is committed to a fully transparent communications process with all of its customers.

  • 12

    If I need any support with the costs, or I run out of money after moving, what help do you provide?

    We find that in most cases, service charges for one of our apartments are lower than like-for-like costs in a purchaser’s previous property so homeowners rarely have difficulties with ongoing costs. In addition, heating costs are very often lower due to our modern construction methods and, most likely, the more manageable size of the new apartment.

    All prospective homeowners receive details of ongoing costs before completing a purchase in the leases and all sales literature in order to ensure Customers fully understand the costs of living in a development. When Customers discuss the purchase of a McCarthy & Stone apartment with us, they receive a service charge leaflet and our Sales Consultant sits down with them to help them fill in the costs, review what is covered in the management services and compare them to day-to-day running costs in their current home. Our Sales Consultants ensure that customers have a detailed knowledge of ongoing costs before a sale is completed. 

    Our policy is one of complete transparency. We openly share the individual costs that make up the service charge with residents and outline the methods for calculating the resulting charge.  The service charge for each year is agreed in consultation with residents in our managed schemes through an open-book budgeting process.

    We do our very best to negotiate the best cost with third party service providers on behalf of our residents. As part of our system of checks and controls to ensure they are treated fairly, we regularly monitor service charges in our managed schemes against current market practices and third party providers to ensure we offer competitive rates. We have developed a simple chart to help Customers make a direct comparison for use during the sales process and a full breakdown of the service charge budget is available from our Sales Consultants and House Managers at all new developments.  

    We will always work with homeowners who do experience financial difficulties to agree a way forward. McCarthy & Stone also offers support to all of its Customers and those enquiring about a property to help them understand what Government benefits are available and how much financial support each Customer could expect to receive. Our Entitlement Advice Service helps Customers to identify entitlements they perhaps didn’t know existed. Over the past two years, we have our customers claim more than £1 million in unclaimed benefits.

    For example, it is possible that certain costs, such as ground rents and service charges could be covered by entitlements such as Pension Credit.  The most common areas of advice include Council Tax benefit, Attendance Allowance, and state pension advice. 

    For a free and confidential review of the benefits that you may be entitled to by living in one of our apartments, please visit our Entitlement Advice Service section

  • 13

    Do I have to pay the service charge when the apartment becomes vacant?

    When an apartment becomes vacant, for instance, if a homeowner passes away or moves into a care home, it is important that the service charge continues to be paid to maintain the efficient provision of services across the development and for the security of the other homeowners.

    If a homeowner or their family is experiencing difficulties, we are happy to discuss their situation with them and see what can be done to support them.              

  • 14

    How often would there be a complete replacement of the lift?

    The lifts are covered by a maintenance contract the cost of which forms part of the service charge. There is no fixed life cycle and complete replacement would take place when judged necessary.

  • 15

    Are there any fees that are payable on selling or letting?

    A contingency fee of 1% of the sale price or open market value (whichever is higher) is payable on resale and, in some cases, when the apartment is underlet. The contingency fees are held in a fund on trust for the residents and so do not go to the landlord or the management company.A transfer fee (sometimes referred to as an exit fee) is payable to the landlord on sale or under letting but this only applied to leases set up prior to September 2008 and is not applicable in any development where McCarthy & Stone is the landlord.

    With regard to under letting on leases prior to October 2014, we will charge a concessionary rate (irrespective of the provisions in the lease, which may be higher) of one month’s rent for each year that the apartment is underlet (or pro-rata for less than a year). This is a concession from the terms of the lease which are in essence one month’s rent for each six month under-let period.  This concession will apply for a maximum period of two years, after which time we will revert to the terms of the lease.  

    For leases from October 2014, the under letting contingency fee has been reduced to a contingency fee of 1% of the annual rent (or pro-rata for under-letting of less than one year ).  Where the underletting is for more than a year, the contingency fee is 1% of the annual rent payable annually on the anniversary of the commencement of the term.

  • 16

    Is Council Tax included in the service charge?

    Council Tax is not included within the service charge.

    We believe the charge provides good value for money. We do not provide any of the services ourselves, with the exception of the House Manager, who is employed by MSMS. At some of our most recent developments, the service charge also includes the cost of heating within the apartments.

Support for residents

  • 1

    What if someone develops dementia whilst living in an apartment?

    Our properties are designed for independent living in later life. They are not secure units and each homeowner is free to leave the development at any time they choose. Our accommodation is not suitable for people with significant dementia care needs. Therefore during the sales process it is important that purchasers and their families understand the limit of the support we can offer and satisfy themselves that their family member will be safe and secure within the chosen development. 

    We take time to meet all prospective residents and talk with them to make sure they understand the type of accommodation they are thinking of buying. We need to be sure that the purchaser is able to live independently at the development that they have support from their families and partners and adequate care/support packages are in place where appropriate. If at any time we are unsure that a retirement property is the right option we can request an assessment from our experienced care managers who will visit the prospective resident in their own home with their family present and discuss an individuals personal care needs. The assessment, if one takes place, is undertaken by an experienced care professional and if necessary we seek clarification from the customer’s GP. 

    We hope that customers will live happily in our apartments for the rest of their lives however we are aware that some of our homeowners will be impacted by health conditions in their later life that will mean that they are no longer able to live independently or safely in our developments. In these situations we will work with the resident and their family to explore whether appropriate domiciliary care can be put in place and where necessary help them manage the transition to specialist residential care.

  • 2

    Can homeowners set up their own residents’ associations and what rights does an association have?

    Yes. Residents’ associations are encouraged in our developments. They exist primarily for the benefit of homeowners in matters of negotiation, repair schedules, finance and social activities and as such will have a formal constitution, but residents can also use the meetings to air their views. 

    We are committed to dealing with individual residents’ needs and concerns on a one-to-one basis and residents’ associations do not replace the personal touch. However, they may help in streamlining communication and lead to a better understanding and faster resolution of matters concerning residents as a whole.

Buying your apartment

  • 1

    Do you offer Part Exchange?

    Yes. If you want a quick, simple way to sell your home and move into one of our retirement apartments, then Part Exchange could be the answer. For more information please click here.

  • 2

    Do you rent apartments?

    We currently market our apartments for purchase only but we can recommend a company who specialise in retirement rentals. You can visit the Girlings website or call them on 0800 525184

  • 3

    Do you promote Right to Manage?

    We support and promote Right to Manage where homeowners wish to explore this path. Information on Right to Manage is provided to every homeowner in the Purchasers Information Pack which explains the residents’ rights, including the right to set up their own management company or to go to a third party provider. To show our support, we will offer to pay the reasonable legal costs for our homeowners who wish to establish a Right to Manage company.

    There are websites offering advice and assistance to homeowners wanting to exercise this right. We are pleased to say that none of our homeowners in our managed schemes have decided to set up their own Right to Manage company or have gone to a third party, and are happy for us to provide these services on their behalf. 

  • 4

    What happens after an exchange of contracts?

    Once exchange of contracts has taken place, your agreed completion date will be confirmed by your solicitor and/or one of our Sales Consultants. At this point your removal company can be contacted to firm up your required moving in date.

    There is usually a one to two week gap between exchange and completion to allow you time to book and confirm removals. It is however also possible to exchange and complete on the same day. 

  • 5

    Can I obtain a small mortgage to purchase a McCarthy & Stone apartment?

    Yes, it is possible to take out a mortgage against one of our apartments. A number of lenders offer specialist retirement property mortgages. For further information and advice, please visit: www.hbfsonline.co.uk 

  • 6

    Can my family buy the apartment for me or does the owner have to be aged over 55?

    Yes. Family and friends may own the apartment but only people at the age of 55 or above can live in the apartment.

  • 7

    Can you help me with the organisation of the move?

    Yes. We’ve helped more people move in later life than any other developer – so we have all the skills and time to help take the pressure off your move. Whether it’s dealing with intermediaries or providing a packing and removals service – we can arrange it on your behalf.

  • 8

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

    At the majority of developments you will be required to typically pay a deposit of £500 to secure your new apartment. However, this does vary from site to site so please check with your Sales Executive for further details. Please note that you may be required to provide proof that you are able to purchase your chosen apartment. 

  • 9

    How long from putting down a deposit do I have to purchase the apartment?

    Usually this can take between 12 to 16 weeks. We understand that some customers may have a time period that will more suitable for them and we aim to be as flexible as we can.

  • 10

    What does buying off-plan mean?

    The idea of buying a new home before it's fully built can feel a little strange but with McCarthy & Stone there are lots of real advantages. For a start, you get first choice of the plots on the development. Then once you have reserve we can help make the move go smoothly- through to moving day and beyond. A dedicated Sales Executive and Customer Support Executive will be on hand to provide a package of services and assistance built around your specific requirements. 

Your development

  • 1

    What is the lighting arrangement in the entrance and corridors?

    It is our policy to leave the lights on continuously in these areas. However, we may consider putting sensors in place at some time in the future.

Your apartment

  • 1

    How long are your leases and can they be renewed?

    For developments released for sale from August 2015, our leases are for 999 years.  For developments released prior to this, they are for 125 years. Leases can be extended and you can find out further information from the Leasehold Advisory Service.

  • 2

    Is McCarthy & Stone the freeholder and/or landlord of its developments?

    McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles is the landlord in all new developments from September 2008. On new developments where the freehold has been sold, it is a condition of the sale that McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles remains as the head landlord to ensure continuity for its homeowners and to ensure that they do not have to deal with any third party.

  • 3

    Is it more expensive to live in one of your apartments than my current home?

    While this will depend on individual circumstances, we find that, in most cases, service charges for one of our apartments are lower than like-for-like costs in a Customer’s previous property.  In addition, heating costs are very often lower due to our modern construction methods and, most likely, the more manageable size of the new apartment.

    When Customers discuss the purchase of a McCarthy & Stone apartment with us, they receive a service charge leaflet and our Sales Executive sits down with them to help them fill in the costs, review what is covered in the management services and compare them to day-to-day running costs in their current home.  Our Sales Executive ensures that they have a detailed knowledge of ongoing costs before a sale is completed. 

  • 4

    Are your apartments part or fully furnished?

    Other than the fitted furniture in the bedroom (wardrobe) the apartments are unfurnished ready for your own furniture.

  • 5

    Is there a bath and a separate shower?

    Various choices are available all dependent on the chosen apartment/development.

  • 6

    Are our apartments sound proofed?

    Yes. Our apartments are built to comply fully with building regulations which cover sound proofing.

  • 7

    Are there slip resistant floors in the kitchen and bathroom?

    Yes. All apartments have slip resistant floors in the kitchen and bathroom as standard.

  • 8

    Do you provide white goods?

    Kitchens are fully fitted with white goods which come with a 2 year guarantee.

  • 9

    Can I have my own washing machine?

    Some of our sites have a laundry facility, although this may vary from site to site. If you still wish to have your own washing machine please speak with the Sales team, Concierge or House Manager who will be able to advise you.

  • 10

    Can I choose the colour of my walls/carpets/general decor?

    The walls are painted in cream or white as standard however we can provide details for interior design options (i.e wallpaper) for which there may be an additional charge. You may of course decorate once you have purchased.

    Carpets, curtains and light fittings can be arranged through us or you can employ an external company if you would prefer.

    If the development has underfloor heating, apartments come already fitted with carpet which meet regulations and can only be replaced with like for like.

    You can discuss all in further detail with your Sales team.

  • 11

    Are retirement apartments a good investment? Do they hold their value when they need to be resold?

    We believe that our apartments represent a good long term investment, particularly when compared to the alternative of renting or moving into a care home. Our research shows that our properties generally track the ups and downs of the housing market. As well as buying their own beautiful apartment, our Customers recognise that they are also buying a lifestyle based around security and companionship, as well as a share in many communal facilities.

    To support owners and their families when they come to sell their apartment, McCarthy & Stone offers advice to help homeowners and their families. Further information can be found here

  • 12

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

    No. A transfer fee, which is also known as an exit fee, was a cost paid directly to the freeholder of a development when an apartment was sold or rented out. Such a payment was for the benefit of the freeholder. On 1st September 2008, McCarthy & Stone abolished this fee on all leases in all new McCarthy & Stone developments built after that date. In addition, we do not collect any transfer fee on or after 1 September 2008 where we are the landlord even if the lease provided for its payment before purchase.

    On developments constructed by us before September 2008 and where third parties own the freehold, we are unable to control whether a transfer fee will be levied on the sale of apartments in those developments.  If a transfer fee remains applicable in these older properties, the terms in the lease are transparent and have been disclosed to the owner of the apartment. 

    McCarthy & Stone supports the removal of transfer fees from all retirement developments and we have led the way for this to become an industry standard. 

  • 13

    If I buy a McCarthy & Stone apartment, but am not ready to live in it, can I rent it out to someone else?

    Yes the apartment can be rented provided the proposed tenant complies with the age limit and other criteria for occupiers set out in the lease. McCarthy & Stone need advance notice of any proposed rental agreement and a reasonable contingency fee is charged which is paid into an account held on trust for the residents for repairs to the property. Further details can be obtained from our managing agents.

  • 14

    Can I make alterations to my home?

    Yes, provided you obtain the landlord’s permission and use properly qualified and insured contractors. Your House Manager or Estates Manager will be able to assist you in finding the right company.

  • 15

    Do McCarthy & Stone provide a guarantee on the apartments they build?

    Yes. As a registered builder with the NHBC, all new McCarthy & Stone apartments come with a 10 year NHBC Warranty. 

  • 16

    Do the kitchen units move up and down as I am a wheelchair user?

    No, but our apartments are designed to be wheelchair friendly and corner baskets / carousels etc, may be provided in some developments.

  • 17

    Is smoking allowed in a McCarthy & Stone apartment?

    Yes, smoking is allowed within McCarthy & Stone apartments but not within communal areas.

  • 18

    Which Council Tax band do McCarthy & Stone apartments fall within?

    The Council Tax band for a McCarthy & Stone apartment varies per development. Council Tax bands can be found at: www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands

  • 19

    What is a Platinum Apartment?

    Our Platinum Retirement Living and Assisted Living apartments can only be found at a select number of locations throughout the UK. They’ve been introduced as a result of customer demand and offer enhanced accommodation and higher specification design.

    All of our Platinum apartments have premium touches and everything is carefully thought through to make day to day life easier and more enjoyable.

Management Services

  • 1

    Do you provide your own management services?

    Yes we do. Property management and maintenance are important parts of our customer service offering. In 2010, we established our own in house management companies to manage all new Retirement Living and Assisted Living developments. 

    McCarthy & Stone Management Services delivers an efficient management service, overseeing all communal service and maintenance requirements in new Retirement Living developments.

    YourLife Management Services, a 50/50 partnership between McCarthy & Stone Management Services and Somerset Care Group, a large and very experienced not-for-profit care operation, provides a similar service in new Assisted Living developments.  YourLife Management Services also provides a range of flexible care and support services to homeowners who live within these developments.

    Each of our developments has an on-site manager and our area managers visit each development on a regular basis. This means that we have a day-to-day relationship with most of our homeowners and, in many cases, their family and friends. We also hold weekly coffee mornings at most developments and yearly service charge budget and accounts meetings at each development.

    Our approach links together property development, management expertise, support and care to provide a holistic service and single point of contact for our customers.

    We set up our in house services in response to Customer feedback. McCarthy & Stone’s Customers wanted to be reassured that the relationship they established with McCarthy & Stone through the sales process would be maintained while they live in their apartment. This gives certainty about their management service provider and the quality and standard of service delivered. As a result, we now have a long term involvement with our developments.  In schemes constructed prior to the summer of 2010, it is currently the case that these management services are provided by a third party.

  • 2

    Is McCarthy & Stone Management Services accredited?

    Yes, we’re delighted that McCarthy & Stone Management Services has achieved accreditation to ARMA-Q, the new national regulatory regime for residential leasehold managing agents, which came into force from January 2015.

    Accreditation shows that our management services team have an industry-leading standard of property management. ARMA-Q recognises that our homeowners are guaranteed a number of safeguards including:

    • Higher professional standards and levels of customer care
    • A transparent and open service
    • Access to an independent regulatory panel

    To achieve accreditation, our Management Services team have had to demonstrate compliance with over 160 rigorous industry standards. 

    ARMA-Q has been introduced by the estate management industry’s trade body, the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) and accreditation is voluntary.

  • 3

    Are your management service staff qualified?

    McCarthy & Stone Management Services manage Retirement Living and Ortus developments. It requires all its senior operational staff to have relevant property and / or management experience. 
    Your Life Management Services manage Assisted Living developments. All of our Estate Managers are experienced care professionals.  

    YLMS as a registered Personal Care Agency , requires its senior operational staff to have NVQ Level 5 Management and Care as well as being individually registered with the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales. All support staff are also encouraged to obtain an NVQ Level 2 in Care.

  • 4

    What training do you offer your management staff?

    Both McCarthy & Stone Management Services and YourLife Management Services encourage its management staff to be professionally qualified and to have experience of property management, together with appropriate knowledge and experience. This is supported by comprehensive induction training and ongoing updates through internal and external training, and general support as required.

    In addition, YourLife Management Services encourages all care workers to achieve an NVQ 2 and provides the obligatory care course as per the regulations outlined by the Care Quality Commission (including manual handling, medication handling and dementia training). Duty Managers are supported to achieve an NVQ 4 and above by loans out of salary.

  • 5

    How are your services regulated?

    McCarthy & Stone Management Services is a member of the Association of Residential Managing Agents and the Housing Ombudsman Service.

    YourLife Management Services is regulated by the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales for the care services it provides.

    McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles is a member of the National House Builders Council (which has its own consumer code, Customer charter and sheltered housing code) and the Home Builders Federation.

    Leasehold properties are governed by a number of regulatory bodies, including:

    • The National House Builders Council (which requires leases to be properly explained to new residents);
    • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    • The Association of Residential Managing Agents; and
    • The Association of Retirement Housing Managers.  

    McCarthy & Stone abides by the rules of each of these organisations and is a member of ARMA (http://www.arma.org.uk).  We joined the new ARMA-Q system when it was established in January 2015. 

  • 6

    Do you support further regulation in the industry?

    Yes. The residential property management sector has developed over the years through legislation, Landlord & Tenant Acts, and codes of practice, such as those of the Association of Residential Managing Agents, the Association of Retirement Housing Managers, and the National House Builders Council, and there is generally a good understanding of expectations.

    Through the actions McCarthy & Stone has taken, and the management services that McCarthy & Stone Management Services and YourLife Management Services provides, we aim to meet the highest standards in the industry.

    However, we recognise that there is further room for improvement elsewhere in the industry and therefore support the registration of managing agents, recognition of minimum standards and the introduction an industry-wide accreditation scheme and adjudication process, which was recently established with ARMA-Q and we joined in January 2015. We believe this will give greater transparency and consistency and will help with the communication of service standards and delivery across the industry. 

Assisted Living

  • 1

    Do I have to eat in the restaurant if I live in an Assisted Living development?

    No, you will have your own fully-fitted kitchen in your apartment but the restaurant is open for lunch 365 days of the year should you wish to use it.

  • 2

    How much does it cost to eat in the restaurants in an Assisted Living development?

    Every day of the year our homeowners can enjoy a three-course cooked lunch, which includes locally-sourced fresh ingredients at a modest cost in the on-site table service restaurant. Special dietary requirements can be catered for and friends and family are welcome to join for lunch.

    For those special occasions, a function room is also available and homeowners can work with the chef to select the menu for their guests. Charges vary slightly between developments, but average charges are £4 per meal in 2015. Meals for guests are priced at around £6 and meals for special events can cost more. There is no requirement to eat in the restaurant each day. Fixed costs of the restaurant and the catering staff are included in the service charge. 

  • 3

    Can I bring my motorised scooter to an Assisted Living development?

    Yes. The use of lightweight motorised scooters (maximum speed 4 mph) is permitted within the development.* This type of scooter must be stored in your apartment. You can also store Class 3 (maximum speed 8 mph) scooters in the store room, which often contains a charging facility. Conditions apply and your Sales team can explain these in detail to you.

    * Subject to availability. 

  • 4

    What happens if either myself or my partner require additional care once we have moved into an Assisted Living development?

    We don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The Estates Manager can provide a flexible care and support package tailored to your individual needs. So you only pay for the care you need at the time you need it. The care packages can be increased or decreased as your needs change. The Estates Manager can provide you with more detail of the services available. Whilst Assisted Living provides a wide range of personal care and support services, it is not suitable for people who require residential nursing care.

  • 5

    What type of care services do you provide in your Assisted Living developments?

    One hour’s domestic assistance is included in the weekly service charge in the majority of Assisted Living developments. However, this varies and some developments offer 30 minutes of domestic assistance. Many homeowners use this time to have their apartment cleaned. Other tasks can include:

    • General tidying
    • Changing bedding
    • Helping to look after pets (but not dog walking)
    • Shopping for food
    • Posting letters or parcels

    In addition, a member of our management team is on site 24 hours-a day, 365 days-a-year to provide reassurance.

    YourLife is our care and management company, created in 2010 as a joint venture with the highly regarded long established care provider, Somerset Care. YourLife is regulated by the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales.  

    YLMS is therefore able to provide flexible personal care and support packages, individually tailored to suit our homeowners’ needs. Homeowners only pay for the care they need when they need it. It can be increased or decreased according to homeowners’ changing circumstances.

    The sessions start from as little as 15 minutes per day and can be increased and decreased as required. Our rates are competitive and all care and support services are delivered by our staff who are employed on site. We can arrange a private, confidential Wellbeing Assessment with the Estates Manager, and a personalised care plan is then put in place so homeowners can be sure they’ll have all the care and support they need from the moment they move in.

  • 6

    Do I have to pay for the 1 hour domestic support if I don’t use it? (Assisted Living only)

    Yes, the hour support is included in the service charge (whether or not actually utilised) and is a flat rate.

  • 7

    What is the difference between Care Homes and Assisted Living?

    McCarthy & Stone's Assisted Living apartments are not care homes. Care homes typically offer single room accommodation for rent, whereas choosing a McCarthy & Stone Assisted Living development means you own your own private apartment. To ensure that the accommodation needs of homeowners are met, these apartments have been specially adapted to include waist height ovens and plug sockets, and slip resistant flooring and lever taps in the bathrooms. In addition, there are shared areas, including a homeowners’ lounge, function room and maintained gardens. As well as the kitchen facilities in the apartments, residents will also have a table service or bistro style restaurant available for use at a small extra charge. This can be used by visiting guests and relatives.


    In McCarthy & Stone Assisted Living complexes you’ll find guest suites* which can be used for overnight stays – so visiting loved ones can be accommodated in comfort.

    In terms of care, Assisted Living homeowners have one hour of domestic assistance per week included in the service charge. This can be used for cleaning, running errands, helping to care for pets, changing bedding and so on. For homeowners with greater personal care needs, additional care and support is available to purchase from our in-house staff teams, meaning that you only pay for the care that you need.

    By contrast, care homes are usually inclusive of personal care. Our Assisted Living developments do not offer nursing care and wouldn’t be suitable for someone with medical care needs. 

    A clear difference between care homes and our apartments is that the apartments are available for purchase, meaning that your beautiful new home really is yours.

    For further information, please click here.

  • 8

    What is the difference between extra care and an Assisted Living apartment?

    Extra care and Assisted Living are terms used interchangeably for the same development type. 

  • 9

    What is a Wellbeing Suite?

    Wellbeing Suites are available in some Assisted Living developments. There may be a hairdressing facility, staffed by experienced mobile hairdressers, as well as nail technicians. There may also a treatment room where therapists can provide various treatments such as chiropody, massage and reflexology. 

    This may vary from site to site. Please ask your Sales Executive for more information.

Retirement Living

  • 1

    What is the minimum age requirement to purchase and live in a Retirement Living apartment?

    Age restrictions form part of the lease which states you are not permitted to occupy an apartment if under the age limit set. Where there may be two occupants, both must meet the age requirement. There are two types of age restrictions, one is for sole occupancy and the other for joint occupancy.

    Sole occupancy for Retirement Living is usually 60 and over. There is no upper limit however the homeowner would have to be able to live independently.Joint occupancy is usually 60/55, therefore one of the occupants would have to be over 60 and the other over 55.

    Each development will have their own lease requirements, so it is always best to check with the Sales Executives at each site to determine the age limit requirement. There is no age limit to purchase one of our apartments, the restriction is only for the occupier.

    The age limits for occupiers are often a requirement imposed by Council planning departments and are in line with Government policy which encourages purpose built accommodation for older people.

  • 2

    What is the difference between a Retirement Living apartment and Sheltered Housing?

    Retirement Living and sheltered housing are terms used interchangeably for the same development type.  

  • 3

    What is the difference between a retirement village and a McCarthy & Stone development?

    McCarthy & Stone does not provide retirement villages. These are typically large-scale out-of-town developments of up to 250 units, providing a range of accommodation and care options.

    Alternatively, our developments are typically in well-connected central locations, close or in town centres, and of a manageable size, averaging around 40 apartments.

Guests

  • 1

    Can my friends and family stay at the development?

    Yes. There is a guest suite in every development with ensuite facilities, a TV and tea and coffee making facilities. Your guests are welcome to stay, at a small nightly charge of £25.

  • 2

    How long can someone stay in a development's guest suite?

    A homeowner’s guest or guests are welcome to stay for as long as the suite is available and paid for within a Retirement Living development. There is a maximum five night stay within Asssisted Living developments. The cost is usually £25 per night for the room however this may vary depending on the development. 

  • 3

    Are guests obliged to use the on-site guest suite?

    No, our on-site guest suites provide you with an alternative option for accommodating your guests. 

    A homeowner’s guest or guests are welcome to stay for as long as the suite is available and paid for.

    The cost is ususally £25 per night for the room, however this may vary depending on the development so please check with your Sales team.

    All guest suites offer:

    • Ensuite
    • TV
    • Tea and coffee making facilities
    • Access to the homeowners' lounge and other development facilities
  • 4

    Are residents of a McCarthy & Stone development able to use the guest suites at any other McCarthy and Stone development?

    Homeowners on a MSMS or YLMS managed development can use the Guest Suites on other MSMS or YLMS managed sites.  For a full list please speak to the local House or Estate Manager. Homeowners on a MSMS or YLMS managed site cannot use the Guest Suites on sites managed by other organisations.

  • 5

    How long can I have a friend or family member to stay with me in my apartment if they are visiting?

    A friend or family member can stay with you in your apartment for a maximum of six months.

Car Parking

  • 1

    Is there private car parking available?

    Yes, there are car parking spaces, subject to availability. These may be available to purchase. For more information please ask the Sales Executive at the development as this may vary from site to site.

    Some development schemes operate parking on a first come first served basis.

Pets

  • 1

    Can I bring my pet cat or dog with me?

    We understand how important the companionship of a pet can be, so we welcome a well behaved pet to live with you in your apartment. Please contact your Sales team for further details. Terms and conditions apply.

  • 2

    Can my relative bring their pet dog when visiting?

    Yes, relatives and guests can bring a dog although they are not permitted in the communal gardens, guest suite or if the stay is an overnight visit in a guest suite.

Complaints

  • 1

    What is your complaints procedure and how do you promote it?

    Both McCarthy & Stone Management Services and YourLife Management Services have detailed complaints procedures that are clearly communicated to customers in the Purchasers Information Pack which is given to all new homeowners when they complete their purchase.  Copies are also available in developments.

    All complaints are formally acknowledged in writing within three working days of receipt and are responded to within 25 working days for McCarthy & Stone Management Services and 28 working days for YourLife Management Services.

    We will always try to understand and resolve complaints as and when they arise. Sometimes they are within our area of responsibility and/or control and sometimes outside. Homeowners have a range of options depending on the nature of their complaint. Hopefully they can be dealt with internally, however if the issue can’t be resolved in this way then there are external bodies who can adjudicate, including one of the trade bodies mentioned above, industry regulators, the Housing Ombudsman or the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

    We are pleased that we have not had any complaint taken to an independent third party for adjudication since our management services teams were established.