Frequently asked questionsWe’ve put together a list of answers to your most common questions about our retirement properties. But if you still can’t find the information you are looking for please call us on: 0800 201 4811 or get in touch online.
Looking for a property
Where's my brochure?
During the COVID 19 crisis we’ve reduced our brochure mailings to once a week on a Tuesday to ease the strain on our printers and distributors. If you haven’t received a brochure within 10 days of your request then please give us a call on: 0800 201 4811.
I want to view a retirement property — what do I do?
Please call us on: 0800 201 4811 and we’ll take you through your options, from virtual tours to booking a viewing.
How are you tackling safety at viewings since the coronavirus pandemic?
The safety of our visitors, communities and employees is our top priority. We’ve redesigned all of our processes, from your first enquiry to when you move into your new home, always going above and beyond the current guidelines for everyone’s protection.
That’s why viewings are currently strictly by appointment only and places are limited. You will be asked to run through some quick health questions before your visit and follow our safety procedures including a temperature check. Watch this video to learn more about the protective measures we’re taking and what you can expect from us when you arrive.
Your sales consultant will take you through everything you need to know before you come. Any questions? Call on: 0800 201 4811
What does ‘off-plan’ mean?
It’s when you agree to buy a property before the development is completed (usually around 6 months before). This gives you the benefit of the first choice of properties, and plenty of time to prepare. Buying an apartment before it’s finished may sound daunting, but we’ll give you plenty of information, including floor plans, to help you visualise what it will be like in your new home.
Can I rent a property?
Yes! Most McCarthy Stone developments offer properties with the option to buy or rent (or Part buy, part rent if you like) and you’ll be protected by an assured tenancy, which means we can’t ask you to leave unless you break the rules. For many people, renting provides a quick, easy and flexible way to enjoy all the advantages of life in a beautiful McCarthy Stone property.
How do I reserve a property?
A small reservation deposit is needed to reserve your new home. Talk to your sales consultant about the process or call: 0800 201 4811. You will receive your reservation deposit back if you don’t move into the property (whether you were planning to buy or rent).
Will my reservation deposit be refunded if I don’t move in?
Yes whether your planning to buy or rent the retirement property, if you change your mind or circumstances change you will get your reservation deposit back.
I’ve put down a deposit. How quickly can I complete the purchase?
Usually between around 12 to 16 weeks, but we will try to be flexible to your needs.
What is part exchange?
Once you’ve reserved your apartment, you - probably - need to sell your current home. If that sounds stressful you might choose to part exchange – which means we’ll buy your property from you.
It’s quick, cost-effective and simple
The benefits of our Part Exchange Offer include:
- Certainty – you can relax knowing you are definitely moving in on a set date and that the sale price is fixed
- No need to redecorate or prepare your house for viewings
- You'll have access to your sold property for two weeks after completion, giving you more time to move your possessions
- No estate agents fees to pay
- You’ll enjoy our free Smooth Move service, including free removals and up to £1,000 towards solicitors fees.*
Part Exchange in three simple steps
Three independent local estate agents and a surveyor will value your property.
We’ll give you a part exchange offer based on these valuations. There is no obligation for you to accept. Bear in mind you may get a higher price on the open market. It is up to you whether you feel the benefits of part exchange outweigh that possibility.
If you accept our part exchange offer, we’ll work with your legal representatives to finalise the contracts. We’ll even contribute £1,000 towards your solicitor’s fees*.
Do you allow pets?
Yes. Most of our developments are more than happy to welcome a well behaved pet to live with you in your new home. Call 0800 201 4811 for more details of our terms and conditions.
Is McCarthy Stone suitable for people with significant health issues like dementia?
If that is a concern, it’s important that buyers and their families understand the limit of the support McCarthy Stone can offer. If McCarthy Stone is unsure whether a would-be homeowner needs more support than we can offer, a care manager may ask to make a home visit to discuss their concerns or to speak to the customer’s GP.
If a homeowner develops dementia while living on our developments, there’s a lot we can do to support them. If they can no longer live safely and independently in a development, we can work with them and their family to help them move to a more specialised setting.
Age restrictions and age exclusive options for retirement living
What are the age exclusive options?
When it comes to finding your ideal new apartment, you should also consider which of our development types best fits your needs. We offer three unique age-exclusive options:
- Lifestyle Living - Luxurious and low maintenance private properties exclusive to people over 55
- Retirement Living - Luxurious and low maintenance private apartments in great locations, exclusive to the over 60s. Benefit from an on-site manager and access to communal areas for socialising
- Retirement Living PLUS - Luxurious and low maintenance private apartments in great locations, exclusive to the over 70s. Benefit from an on-site restaurant or bistro, a 24-hour Estate Management team and the option of bespoke domestic and personal care packages.
You can compare our age exclusive options here.
What do you mean by a Retirement Living apartment?
These are elegant low maintenance private apartments in great locations, exclusive to the over the 60s. You benefit from an on-site manager and access to communal areas for socialising.
You can compare our age exclusive options here.
How old do you have to be to live in a Retirement Living apartment?
Each development has their own lease requirements, so it is always best to check, but usually to have sole occupancy of a Retirement Living apartment you need to be aged 60 or over. There is no upper limit. For joint occupancy one of the occupants has to be over 60 and the other over 55. The lease will state that you’re not permitted to occupy an apartment under the age limit set.
There is no age limit for buying one of our apartments, just to live in them.
What do you mean by a Retirement Living PLUS apartment?
Exclusive to the over the 70s, these are luxurious and low maintenance private apartments in great locations. You’ll benefit from an on-site restaurant or bistro, a 24-hour Estate Management team, and the option of bespoke domestic and personal care package.
You can compare our age exclusive options here.
How old do you have to be to live in a Retirement Living PLUS apartment?
Each development has their own lease requirements, so it is always best to check, but usually to have sole occupancy of a Retirement Living PLUS apartment you need to be aged 70 or over. There is no upper limit. For joint occupancy usually one of the occupants has to be over 70 and the other over 65. The lease will state that you’re not permitted to occupy an apartment under the age limit set.
There is no age limit for buying one of our apartments, just to live in them.
Why are there age restrictions?
The age restrictions for occupiers are often imposed by council planning departments and are in line with government policy which encourages purpose built accommodation for older people. And as the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities it’s what we do.
Buying a property
Can I get a mortgage on a McCarthy Stone apartment?
Yes. A number of lenders offer specialist retirement property mortgages. Talk to your sales consultant or call: 0800 201 4811 for advice.
Can someone else buy the apartment for me?
Yes. Family or friends can own the apartment on your behalf, but only people that meet the age requirements and criteria for the development can live there.
I want to buy an apartment now to live in in the future. Can I rent it out to someone else in the meantime?
Yes. You can rent the apartment provided your tenant(s) meet the criteria for occupiers set out in the lease. We need advance notice of the proposed rental agreement and we ask for a reasonable contingency fee to be paid into an account held on trust for repairs to the property. Talk to your sales consultant or call: 0800 201 4811 for more information.
Are there guarantees on the build quality?
Yes. As a registered builder with the NHBC, all new McCarthy Stone apartments come with a 10-year NHBC Buildmark.
Buildmark provides pre-completion deposit protection; a two year builder warranty period backed by the NHBC resolution service and guarantee; and then an eight year insurance policy for physical damage to the home caused by a failure to build to the NHBC Technical Requirements.
Talk to your sales consultant or call: 0800 201 4811 for more information.
What happens after contracts are exchanged?
Once contracts have been exchanged a completion date will be confirmed by your solicitor and/or one of our Sales Consultants. The completion date is the day the property legally becomes yours.
Usually there is a two-week gap between exchange and completion to allow you time to prepare and book removal services. It is also possible to exchange and complete on the same day if you want to.
What is the ‘completion date’?
The completion date is the day when ownership of the property legally transfers from McCarthy Stone to you.
Usually there is a two-week gap between exchange and completion to allow you time to prepare and book removal services. It is also possible to exchange and complete on the same day if you want to.
What is your Smooth Move service?
With Smooth Move we offer you contributions towards your estate agent and legal fees as well as free specialist removals:
Up to £2,500 towards estate agent fees*
If you sell your existing property through our recommended estate agents, we’ll contribute £2,500 (inc. VAT) towards fees, once you’ve legally completed.
Up to £1,000 towards legal fees*
We’ll contribute to your legal fees when you use one of our recommended, independent solicitors.
Free specialist removal*
Our removals experts are on hand to help with:
De-cluttering, organising and packing your belongings
Transporting your possessions to your new home
Unpacking and heavy lifting.
To speak to your sales consultant about Smooth Move call: 0800 201 4811
* Read the terms & conditions.
Are retirement apartments a good investment?
The majority of properties built and managed by McCarthy Stone increase in value when resold. We also have an in-house Resales estate agency service which achieves an average of c.4% net price increase per resale.
And an independent study conducted by the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) in 2019 confirmed that new retirement properties typically increase in value on resale.
It’s also important to remember that our properties are more than simply a financial investment, they are an investment in the quality of life for our residents and their families. Our customers recognise that they are buying into a lifestyle based around security and companionship, as well as warmth, friendship, ease of maintenance, reduced responsibilities and enhanced wellbeing. As a result, our customers live independently and have healthier, happier and, hopefully, longer lives.
We have made significant improvements to our products and services in recent years to improve the quality of our apartments and their ability to retain value, including:
Setting up an in-house management services team dedicated to high standards and a single end-to-end service for customers
More internal space, en-suites, underfloor heating, walk-in wardrobes, improved bathrooms, level-access showers and enhanced kitchens
- Removing exit fees* and introducing 999 year leases
We have an in-house Resales team to support homeowners and their families when they come to resell their apartment. The team has a unique understanding of retirement living, enabling us to communicate all the benefits clearly.
Find more information here, speak to a member of our team on 0345 556 4104 or email [email protected]
*A 1% contribution of the resale price still applies upon resale. This goes into the sinking fund (the contingency fund) for each development, which covers maintenance of that scheme. There is also a small administration fee to cover the costs of checking that the incoming occupier meets the terms of the deed of conditions. Please contact our Property Transfer team on 01202 508299 for more details.
Are your cottages and bungalows sold as freehold or leasehold?
Do you promote Right to Manage?
Yes. Information on Right to Manage is given to every homeowner in the Purchasers Information Pack. It explains residents’ rights, including the right to set up their own management company or to go to a third-party provider. We offer to pay reasonable legal costs to homeowners who wish to establish a Right to Manage company.
There are websites offering advice to homeowners wanting to exercise this right. So far none of our homeowners have done so and we continue to provide services on their behalf.
Part buy, part rent
What is Part buy, part rent?
A flexible, affordable alternative to outright purchase, with all the benefits of ownership. For more information call: 0800 201 4811
How it works
You purchase a minimum 50% share in a brand new McCarthy Stone retirement property and pay rent on the part you don’t own.
It’s an affordable approach to owning a stunning new retirement home
- You may be able to access cash tied up in your existing property (known as ‘equity release’)
- You can choose to buy a bigger percentage of the property in the future – this reduces the rent you pay
- If you want, we can buy your existing property as a part exchange
- You’ll be eligible for our free Smooth Move removal service, plus a contribution to legal and estate agent fees
Is private shared ownership available at all McCarthy Stone developments?
No. This offer is available at selected McCarthy Stone developments, so make sure you check with the sales team on site.
What percentage of the property do I have to purchase?
70% is the standard option – there are options to increase this over time, known as staircasing.
What is staircasing and how does it work?
What further costs and fees are involved You can purchase further 10% increments, based on valuation at that point. You can staircase to 100% at which point the property would be wholly owned. You would stop paying rent, but service charges and ground rent continue to be payable to McCarthy Stone.
Each time you staircase you need to plan for additional costs such as valuation fee, legal expenses, SDLT*/LTT** if applicable.
*Stamp Duty Land Tax **Land Transaction Tax (LTT) has replaced SDLT in Wales from April 2018
Do I pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT) or Land transaction tax (LTT) on a private shared ownership property?
You will need to pay SDLT*/LTT** on a private shared ownership property, but you may have less to pay than if you had purchased outright. You should seek advice from your solicitor to confirm how much SDLT you have to pay.
*Stamp Duty Land Tax **Land Transaction Tax (LTT) has replaced SDLT in Wales from April 2018.
How much rent will I have to pay if I part buy, part rent and how will that change over time?
The rent is set at the point of purchase. Annual rent review on the date specified in your lease will be indexed to movements in the Retail Price Index (RPI) subject to a minimum 0.5%. RPI has been in the range c.1-4% since 2013 and was 3.3% in March 2018. 3.3% is equivalent to an extra £1.98 per week for typical rent of £60 per week.
What is an Assured Tenancy?
Assured Tenancy means that you agree to rent the property for a minimum term of 12 months, but after that you can leave at any time as long as you give two months written notice. We can’t ask you to leave unless you have broken the terms of the agreement.
I want to rent. What checks do you carry out and what do I need to prepare?
We’ll ask you to complete a Rental Application Pack and an Income and Expenditure form to get the information we need to do standard background checks. You’ll be asked for proof of income, savings and/or pensions, along with copies of your last three months’ bank statements. You’ll be asked to provide identification documentation that complies with the latest Government Right to Rent regulations – our sales consultants will talk you through what you need.
Do I need to pay a reservation deposit?
Yes, you will need to pay a small refundable reservation deposit to reserve the property. You will also have to pay a security deposit equivalent to five weeks rent when you move in.
What do I have to pay before moving in?
Before you can move into your property, you will need to pay the first month’s rent together with your security deposit, minus the reservation deposit you’ve already paid.
The security deposit is equivalent to five weeks rent. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you know the exact amount you need to pay in plenty of time.
McCarthy Stone is part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, membership number G10625. Download the Tenancy Deposit Scheme leaflet.
What date are rental payments due?
All rental payments are due on the 1st of each month and must be paid by direct debit. Your rent includes all of the development’s service charges, ground rents and property maintenance.
Can I amend my rental agreement?
You can make an amendment, if McCarthy Stone agree, for a £50.00 fee.
Are utilities included in my rent?
Unless we say otherwise, it’s your responsibility to arrange and pay for council tax, electricity, gas, water, sewage rates, TV licence etc. It is your responsibility to tell suppliers that you have moved in and to set up payment. In most of our developments water and sewage is included in the rent.
Do I need contents insurance?
We strongly recommend you take out tenants’ contents insurance to protect your belongings during the tenancy. It will also cover accidental damage to the fixtures and fittings.
What is an inventory document
The inventory contains details of the property and contents. This document could form the basis for any dispute at the end of your tenancy and should be checked carefully. If you disagree with anything in it, you must let us know within 14 days of the start of your tenancy. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you agree that it is accurate.
Do you carry out inspections after I've moved in?
Yes. We sometimes carry out inspections to check the condition of the property and to see if there’s any maintenance work we need to do. We will contact you to arrange a convenient time.
Do you allow smoking in rental properties?
No. We do not allow smoking in your property or the communal areas.
Do you charge for late rent payments?
We charge a fee for the cost of chasing rental payments that are more than 14 days overdue. The fee is 3% above the Bank of England’s annual percentage rate and it is charged for each day the rent is late.
What happens if I lose my keys?
If you lose or damage the keys to the property, you will be charged reasonable costs to provide replacements.
What happens when I want to end the tenancy?
Should you wish to end your tenancy after the 12 month fixed term, you need to provide two months written notice.
Are McCarthy Stone members of The Property Ombudsman?
Yes. McCarthy Stone is a member of The Property Ombudsman, Membership Number: T04786
What happens if my financial circumstances change and I can no longer afford to pay the rent?
Your rent, service charge and ground rent is a contractual agreement between you and your landlord. If you do fall behind with your payments, your landlord will contact you to arrange payment, or to work out a payment plan to suit the circumstances.
It’s important that the housing decision you take is suitable for your personal and financial circumstances, which is why we carry out an initial affordability check.
If I'm renting, do I pay a service charge or ground rent?
Yes, but it is included in your monthly rent.
Can I sub-let the property?
No, under the terms of the Assured Tenancy Agreement sub-letting is not permitted.
Service charges and other fees explained
How do I know if I can afford to pay for service charges etc.?
Our policy is one of complete transparency around costs. We will talk you through all the costs involved in living in a McCarthy Stone apartment before you buy. You’ll receive a service charge leaflet and our Sales Consultant will sit down with you to help you fill in the costs, review what’s covered in budget and compare the to day-to-day running costs with your current home. Our Sales Consultants ensure that customers have a detailed knowledge of ongoing costs before a sale is completed.
In many cases, service charges are lower than like-for-like costs in a purchaser’s previous property, so homeowners rarely have difficulties with ongoing costs. Also heating costs are often lower due to our modern construction methods and the more manageable size of the new apartment.
What is the service charge for and how much will I pay?
Service charges cover the day-to-day costs of management and maintenance within our developments, such as the heating and cleaning of communal areas, buildings insurance and redecoration. They are tightly regulated by national legislation and must relate to the management services provided within the development, not to construction or repair costs.
Our service charge varies slightly from development to development reflecting their different sizes and facilities, but they are calculated in the same way across the country.
Our service charges are ‘pass through’ costs which we do not mark up in any way. They are the costs of running your development.
For a typical Retirement Living apartment (based on Atwood House in Sanderstead), the latest service charge is £48.93 a week for a one-bedroom apartment and £73.36 a week for a two-bedroom apartment.
For a typical Retirement Living PLUS apartment (based on Chesterton Court in Ilkley), the latest service charge is £138.27 a week for a one-bedroom apartment and £184.31 a week for a two-bedroom apartment.
These figures are correct up to 30 June 2021.
Costs in Retirement Living PLUS developments are higher than in Retirement Living developments to reflect the increased staffing costs, the provision of domestic support packages, and the table-service restaurants/bistros provided on-site.
Do service charges make the cost of living more expensive than in my current home
That depends on your individual circumstances, but in many cases, service charges are lower than like-for-like costs in a previous property. Heating costs are also often lower due to our modern construction methods and the more manageable size of the new apartment.
What does the service charge cover?
Retirement Living developments
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
- 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 we employ. At some of our most recent developments, the service charge also includes the cost of heating the apartments.
Retirement Living PLUS developments
In addition to the above, the service charge also includes:
- The running costs 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
Additional personal care packages are totally flexible and can be adapted to suit our customers’ needs. Services include 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 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.
Are your service charge budgets accurate?
The service charge budgets represent the costs that we expect to incur in a normal year, with a full development. We aim for them to be as accurate as possible and we try to keep annual increases in line with inflation, although certain costs like energy prices can have inflationary pressures that are outside of our control.
Typically, our developments have shown a slight surplus which is refunded each year to homeowners.
Will service charge costs change after I move in?
Yes, but we try to keep annual increases in line with inflation although certain costs like energy prices can have inflationary pressures that are outside of our control.
What if my financial circumstances change after I've moved in?
If you do get into financial difficulties, we will work with you to agree a way forward.
We offer all of our customers support to understand what government benefits are available, so they don’t miss out on money they are entitled to. Over the past two years, our Entitlement Advice Service has helped our customers claim more than £1 million a year in unclaimed benefits, advising on things like Council Tax benefit, Attendance Allowance, and state pensions. For example, certain costs, like ground rents and service charges, are sometimes covered by Pension Credit.
For a free and confidential review, please visit our Entitlement Advice Service
Is the service charge competitive?
We believe the charge provides good value for money. Other than the House Managers and Estate Management teams, who we employ, we do not provide any of the services ourselves but instead get competitive quotes from other providers. At some of our most recent developments, the service charge also includes the cost of heating the apartments.
Checks and controls
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, we regularly monitor service charges in our managed schemes against current market practices and third party providers to ensure we offer competitive rates.
Every year the service charge is agreed in consultation with residents in our managed schemes through an open-book budgeting process.
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 managers at all new developments.
Is council tax included in the service charge?
No. Council tax is not included in the service charge
How much council tax will I pay?
Does the service charge have to be paid if my apartment becomes vacant?
Yes. It is important that the service charge continues to be paid to maintain services across the development and for the security of the other homeowners.
But if a homeowner or their family is experiencing difficulties in paying, we are here to help and will do our best to support them.
What is the sinking/contingency fund? And when is it paid?
It is a specific fund kept in the development’s own bank account. It is held in trust and used only on the maintenance of that development and cannot be accessed by McCarthy Stone for its own purposes. It is there to benefit all homeowners and is used to pay for the replacement of carpets and furniture in the shared areas as well as longer term repairs like roofs, window frames and lifts.
We believe it is the best way to protect homeowners from unexpected costs like a major refurbishment or structural repairs.
The service charge includes a small contribution to the contingency fund, but to keep it to a minimum, the fund is ‘topped up’ by a one-off charge of 1% of the resale price upon the sale of the apartment.
With regard to subletting 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 sublet (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 sublet period. This concession will apply for a maximum period of two years, after which time we will revert to the terms of the lease.
These fees are paid into the development’s sinking/contingency fund and are for everyone’s benefit.
For leases from October 2014, the subletting 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.
There is also a small administration fee collected by MSMS / YLMS to cover their costs to check that the incoming occupier meets the terms of the lease or deed of conditions (i.e. meets the age criteria and is capable of leading an independent life) and provide information about the development, the service charge and insurance.
Do I need to pay ground rent? How much is it and how is it set?
You will need to pay ground rents on our leasehold properties in England and Wales, but not Scotland, which operates under a different legal system. As with all leasehold properties, ground rents are a condition of the lease for our apartments. They are set by McCarthy Stone at the start of the development and are clearly highlighted to all customers.
Our ground rents are:
- Typically between c.£400-£500 per year
- On fair and stable terms
- Fixed for 15 years, longer than the average stay of our residents
- Increases linked to inflation or two per cent per annum if higher, and compounded yearly
- We remain as the landlord with all management responsibilities
Our ground rents are typically between c.£400-£500 per year depending on the level of service, number of bedrooms and location. Within the M25 area, they range from c.£500-£600 per year.
Ground rents are fixed for 15 years. They are reviewed on the fifteenth anniversary of the 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 are compounded yearly.
Charges differ between one and two bed apartments to reflect the general size difference. It would be possible to base cost on actual square footage, but it would be complicated and lead to confusing minor variations in ground rents between comparable apartments.
The ground rent does not increase after the 125th anniversary even though our new leases are for a term of 999 years.
How does ground rent differ to service charges? What is it for?
Ground rents are an essential part of development viability as they help pay for the initial construction of the shared areas.
Ground rent income goes towards the construction costs of the communal areas we provide. These areas total c.30% of our developments (for example, our communal lounges, restaurants, well-being suites, guest suites and staff accommodation) and are essential to the lifestyle that retirement living provides for older people.
Ground rent enables our apartments to remain competitively priced. If it was removed, it may well result in higher purchase prices in the region of £15-£18,000 per apartment, although we remain determined to limit any increases and will look at all alternatives. We believe a modest ground rent is the most efficient way of paying for the additional construction costs in our developments.
Ground rent applies in England and Wales, but not Scotland, which operates under a different legal system.
How do your ground rents compare to other retirement developments?
Our ground rents are comparable with those charged by other providers of retirement living accommodation and are competitive within the housebuilding industry. Ground rents in retirement housing can be slightly higher than open market developments as they reflect the larger size of retirement schemes, which include significant shared facilities such as the lounge, the laundry, the guest suite, staff areas, and, in some developments a dining room, restaurant and mobility scooter room.
How long are your leases and can they be renewed?
All developments released for sale from August 2015 have 999 year leases. A small number of developments may be less if we have not acquired the freehold of the site. For managed developments released for sale prior to August 2015, leases are typically for 125 years. Leases can be extended and you can find out further information from the Leasehold Advisory Service.
Is McCarthy Stone the freeholder and/or landlord of it's 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.
I see that the Government has announced plans to abolish ground rents?
In January 2021, the Government announced plans for removing ground rents for all new retirement properties. These proposals have not become law and the Government is not proposing to make them retrospective. As these are proposals there will be no immediate change to how we sell our apartments, but this may change in the future.
The retirement community sector uses ground rent income to recover much of the construction costs of the communal areas within our developments. Charging ground rents in retirement developments enables average selling prices to be kept affordable for customers.
If you have any questions, call us on 0800 201 4811.
What's the difference between ground rents and service charges?
Service charges cover the day-to-day costs of management and maintenance within our developments, such as the heating and cleaning of communal areas, buildings insurance and redecoration. They are tightly regulated by national legislation and must relate to the management services provided within the development, not the building costs.
Ground rents help to pay for the communal areas to be built.
Do you sell the freehold? 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 head leasehold interest and remains as immediate landlord with an ongoing responsibility and accountability for management of the developments concerned.
Unlike other housebuilders, McCarthy Stone retains this long leasehold interest until after the lease of the apartments on a particular development has expired. This means that we will continue to be the landlord and responsible for the estate management of the development. We will be point of contact for the day to day management of the apartment and manage the provision of services to the apartment and communal facilities of the development generally. We will collect the ground rent and service charges. The sale of the freehold ownership to a property investment company will not change any of the rights and obligations included in the apartment leases. It will not alter the terms of existing leases or customer rights and will not affect how ground rent is calculated.
The freehold is sold to property investment bodies who are owned by mainstream UK pension and annuity funds. The money raised from the sale of the freeholds is then reinvested into the business to assist with the funding of future developments.
Selling a property
What happens when I want to sell my McCarthy Stone property?
If you decide to sell, you will need to ask an independent estate agent/ surveyor for a valuation.
NB: You will be charged a contingency fee at 1% of the total resale price for the development’s reserve or sinking fund.
Our resales team can answer any questions you have. Call them on: 0345 556 4126 or find out more.
Do you charge a transfer or exit fee?
No. A transfer fee, which is also known as an exit or event fee, was a charge paid directly to the freeholder of the development when an apartment was sold or rented out. On 1st September 2008, McCarthy Stone abolished this fee on all leases in all developments built after that date.
If the development was built by us before September 2008 but third parties own the freehold, we are unable to control the transfer/exit fee, but the owners will be fully aware of this.
We do however charge a 1% sinking/contingency fee which is paid on resale. This fee does not go to McCarthy Stone but covers the long-term maintenance of your development.
Living in a McCarthy Stone apartment - including rights, rules and what's included
Can I bring a pet cat or dog with me?
Are your apartments furnished?
No. Other than the walk-in wardrobe, the apartments are unfurnished ready for your own furniture.
Can I decorate/ choose the colour of my walls/carpets/general décor?
Yes. You may of course decorate your apartment how you like once you have purchased it. We can recommend retailers of carpets, curtains and light fittings etc or you can employ your own choice of companies if you would prefer.
The walls are painted in cream or white as standard however we can also provide interior design options at an additional charge.
If your apartment has underfloor heating, carpets must be replaced with carpet which meets regulations.
Do your developments offer private car parking?
On-site car parking is provided, although arrangements vary between developments so please contact the on-site Sales or Management team for more details or talk to us on 0800 201 4811. We also offer a car club.
Are your apartments sound proofed?
Yes. Our apartments are built to comply fully with building regulations which cover sound proofing.
Are there slip resistant floors in the kitchen and bathroom?
Yes. All apartments have slip resistant floors in the kitchen and bathroom as standard.
Do you provide white goods?
Kitchens are fully fitted with white goods which come with a 2-year guarantee. Washing machines are not included, but some sites have a laundry facility.
Can I have my own washing machine?
Some of our sites have a laundry facility, although this varies. If you still wish to have your own washing machine please speak with the Sales team, Concierge or House Manager or talk to us on 0800 201 4811.
Is smoking allowed in McCarthy Stone apartment?
Yes, if you own the apartment then smoking is allowed within your apartment, but not within communal areas. You aren’t allowed to smoke in a rented apartment.
Can I make alternations 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 help you to find a reputable company.
I am a wheelchair user. Do the kitchen units move up and down?
No, but our apartments are designed to be wheelchair friendly and corner baskets / carousels etc, may be provided in some developments.
How long can I have a friend or family 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.
How long can someone stay in a development's guest suite?
Within a Retirement Living development a homeowner’s guest or guests are welcome to stay for as long as the suite is available and paid for. There is a maximum five night stay within Retirement Living PLUS developments. The cost is usually £25 per night for the room however this may vary depending on the development.
When people come to stay, do they have to use the on-site guest suite?
No. Our on-site guest suites provides you with an alternative option for your guests, but you can invite them to your home if you prefer. The cost is usually £25 per night for the guest suite, however this may vary depending on the development so please check with your Sales team.
All guest suites offer:
Tea and coffee making facilities
Access to the homeowners' lounge and other development facilities
Can I use the guest suites at any other McCarthy Stone development
Yes if you live on the development you can use the guest suite on some of our other developments. For a full list please speak to your House or Estate Manager.
What happens if someone develops dementia while living in an apartment?
McCarthy Stone properties are designed for independent living. They are not suitable for people with significant dementia care needs.
That said, if a homeowner develops dementia, there’s a lot we can do to support them. If they can no longer live safely and independently in a development, we can work with them and their family to help them move to a more specialised setting.
Is a homeowner responsible if flood damage from their flat damages adjoining flats?
This depends on how the flood occurred and who is responsible. The buildings insurance included within the service charge generally only covers 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 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 usually provide cover in the event of a leak caused by the homeowner (i.e. due to a running tap etc). It is best to take advice from an insurance broker.
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 to help homeowners negotiate on things like repair schedules, finance and social activities. Residents can also use the meetings to air their views. They can lead to a better understanding and faster resolution of matters concerning residents as a whole.
However, we’re committed to dealing with individual residents’ needs and concerns on a one-to-one basis and residents’ associations do not replace the personal touch.
I have a complaint – what do I do?
We take complaints very seriously. If you do have an issue, please do let us know so that we can resolve it.
Most problems can be solved quickly and informally by our House/Estate Managers or sales consultants, so please do speak to the team first. If you are still unhappy you can use our formal complaints procedure.
Additional information for living in a Retirement Living PLUS apartment (over 70s only)
What type of care services do you provide in your Retirement Living PLUS developments?
One hour’s domestic assistance is included in the weekly service charge in the majority of Retirement Living PLUS 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
- 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 Management Services (YLMS) is our care and management company, created in 2010. YourLife is regulated by the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales.
YLMS 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. Care 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.
What happens if either myself or my partner require additional care once we have moved into a Retirement Living PLUS?
We don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The Estates Manager provide a flexible care and support package tailored to your 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 Managers can provide you with more details, or talk to us on 0800 201 4811.
Note: While we provide a wide range of personal care and support services, it is not suitable for people who require residential nursing care.
How are your apartments adapted to support active over 70s?
Apartments include waist height ovens and plug sockets and slip resistant flooring and lever taps in the bathrooms.
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 — who can stay overnight in our guest suites.
One hour of domestic assistance per week is included in the service charge. This can be used for cleaning, running errands, 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 — you only pay for the care that you need.
In addition, there are shared areas, including a homeowners’ lounge, function room and maintained gardens.
Do I have a pay for the one hour domestic support if I don't use it
Yes, the hour support is included in the service charge at a flat rate.
Can I bring my motorised scooter?
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 storeroom, which often contains a charging facility. Conditions apply and the sales team can explain these in detail to you. Talk to us on 0800 201 4811.
Do I have to eat in the restaurant?
No. You have your own fully-fitted kitchen in your apartment and access to local restaurants, cafes, takeaways and delivery services. But the on-site restaurant/bistro offers good quality food at a low price on site every day with table service. Special dietary requirements can be catered for and friends and family are welcome to join for lunch.
How much does it cost to eat in the restaurant/bistro?
Charges vary slightly between developments and range from £4 - £7 per meal. A small additional charge will be added to guest meals. The fixed costs of the restaurant and the catering staff are included in the service charge.
Do you offer catering for special occasions like birthday parties?
We offer a function room at some developments. Homeowners can work with the chef to select the menu for their guests. Meals for special events will be priced by each individual experience and may cost more.
What is the difference McCarthy Stone developments and care homes?
We do not offer care homes. Care homes typically offer single room accommodation for rent, whereas our developments you own or rent your own private apartment.
Care homes fees are usually inclusive of personal care. We do not offer nursing care and are not 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.
What is the difference between our developments and sheltered housing?
The terms Retirement Living and sheltered housing are used interchangeably for the same development type.
What is the difference between 'extra care' or 'assisted care' and a Retirement Living PLUS development?
Extra care, assisted care and Retirement Living PLUS are terms used interchangeably for the same development type.
What is the difference between a retirement village and a McCarthy Stone development?
Retirement villages 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.