WHAT IS A LIFE LEASE IN WINNIPEG? HOW DOES IT WORK?
In a Winnipeg Life Lease project, a resident pays an Entrance Fee for the right to live in his or her suite for life or not less than 50 years. When the resident moves out or the tenancy comes to an end, the full Entrance Fee is refunded to the resident. The Entrance Fees are used by Life Lease landlords, like Sterling Parkway Residences Inc. (referred to in the following as the “Landlord”), to help pay the construction costs of the project (in this case, The Link 55+ Seniors Community in South Tuxedo). Once construction is complete and the resident moves into his or her suite, the tenant pays monthly rent to the Landlord who is responsible for paying, among other things, property taxes, building maintenance and repairs, building insurance, and other operational expenses.
The Life Lease concept has been used successfully in many projects throughout Manitoba and provide a viable and attractive housing option with a proven record of success.
Additional information is available on the Government of Manitoba website.
CONDOMINIUM OR LIFE LEASE – WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
Ownership of a condominium means the resident owns the suite and a share of the common areas used by everyone. An owner of a condominium actually owns real estate, which can rise or fall in value over time. When the owner of a condominium wishes to move from the condominium, he or she must sell the unit to a new purchaser. If the condominium has gone up in value, the owner can gain a profit. If the condominium has gone down in value, the owner can suffer a financial loss. In addition, condominium owners are involved in the management of the condominium corporation because they have voting rights and can serve on the board.
In contrast, a Winnipeg Life Lease resident does not own their living space or the common areas. A Winnipeg Life Lease resident is not formally involved in the management of the building, but residents are invited to annual meetings and can discuss the operation of the complex. There is no need to sell a Life Lease suite after a tenant moves out or passes away. When you move out of your suite or pass away, the Landlord will refund your Entrance Fee from a refund fund. Also, a Winnipeg Life Lease resident is not formally involved in the management of the building, but residents are invited to annual meetings and can discuss the operation of the complex.
Both condominiums and Winnipeg life leases have advantages and disadvantages over the other, depending on the resident’s circumstances. But both are similar in that they allow for relatively carefree occupancy.
A typical Winnipeg Life Lease resident is 55+, prefers to live with people that share similar interests, enjoys having many amenities in the building, and no longer cares for the real estate equity risk that home or condominium ownership would entail.
WHERE DOES THE ENTRANCE FEE GO?
All Entrance Fees paid by Winnipeg Life Lease tenants are deposited with a trustee, which in the case of The Link is Tapper Cuddy LLP and/or Concentra Trust.
The trustee holds the Entrance Fees before and during construction of The Link. The trustee will not release funds until the Landlord has met strict conditions set out in The Winnipeg Life Leases Act and its Regulations (Manitoba), such as the receipt of building permits, zoning compliance, clean environmental report, insurance, stipulated price contracts sufficient to build the project in accordance with architectural drawings and the construction budget, performance bonds, professional liability insurance, adequate financing to complete construction, and a registered second mortgage in favor of the trustee to secure the refund fund. The released Entrance Fees may only be used for The Link construction related costs.
Once construction is complete, a portion of the Entrance Fees are held by a professional trustee in a refund fund. The sole purpose of this fund is to allow as timely a refund of a resident’s Entrance Fee as possible when the resident moves out. The trustee is prohibited from paying any part of the refund fund for the tenants to the Landlord.
DOES MY ENTRANCE FEE GO UP IN VALUE?
You are refunded your Entrance Fee (and your Additional Contribution if you chose the rent reduction option) when you move out regardless of how long you have lived in your Life Lease suite or what the value of the real estate is at the time that you move out.
Occasionally, there are Life Leases that allow, or require, the residents to find a new tenant and assign or sell their Life Lease when they move out. This means they may experience an increase, or decrease, in value for their Life Lease. The Link will not be operated in this way. The Link will refund the tenant’s Entrance Fee (and Additional Contribution if applicable) and find a new tenant for the suite.
If: (a) you entered into an Equity Participation Agreement with the Landlord; and (b) the Landlord re-leases the suite at a higher Entrance Fee than was paid by the original tenant; then the Landlord will share the difference in the Entrance Fee with you in accordance with the terms of the Equity Participation Agreement.
WHAT PROTECTION DOES THE WINNIPEG LIFE LEASE LEGISLATION OFFER?
Effective December 1, 1999, the Manitoba Government implemented The Winnipeg Life Leases Act and Regulations, which apply to The Link. The primary purpose of the Act is to protect tenants’ funds and to ensure that tenants are given sufficient information and disclosure to enable them to make informed decisions. The Government’s Residential Tenancies Branch has informational Fact Sheets about the legislation available on its website.
WILL MY RENT INCREASE?
The rent stated in your Life Lease Agreement will not change in the first year. After the first year of operation, the Landlord will review its costs related to The Link and prepare a budget for the next year. The Landlord may adjust the rent in the next years to better reflect its costs, but has an interest in keeping rent increases to a minimum to in order to remain competitive to other Winnipeg Life Lease projects and other housing options in the surrounding area. The Landlord will comply with all rent regulations under The Residential Tenancies Act (Manitoba), as applicable. The Landlord must give 3 months’ notice of any rent increase and may only increase the rent once every 12 months.
IS MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED TO MOVE INTO THE LINK?
The Link is open to everyone who meets the criteria regarding age (at least one of the tenants must be 55+), abides by the Winnipeg Life Lease Agreement and the Landlord’s policies, rules and regulations, and pays the Entrance Fee and rent on time. There are no membership requirements or fees to become a resident of The Link.
WHAT STEPS DO I TAKE?
Second, a Winnipeg Life Lease documents package will be offered. The Entrance Fee is paid as follows:
(a)$5,000 is paid when the Life Lease Agreement is signed; and
(b)the remaining balance is paid within 30 days of the commencement of construction of The Link; or if construction has already commenced, then 30 days after the Life Lease Agreement is signed.
You have seven calendar days to change your mind after you sign the Life Lease Agreement. You may choose to obtain a legal opinion during this seven day period. Cancellation after this 7 day period may result in the forfeiture of $5,000 of your Entrance Fee.
The estimated Entrance Fees applicable to The Link are set forth in Appendix I to this FAQ.
For example, if your entrance fee is $195,000, you will be asked to pay $5,000 when you sign your Life Lease Agreement and then $190,000 within thirty days after the commencement of construction. These amounts will be forwarded to Concentra Trust, who is a trustee of The Link, or as they may direct from time to time.
Upon occupancy being granted, a tenant may cancel their Life Lease with three months’ notice in writing to the Landlord. The tenant’s Entrance Fee will be refunded by the trustee from the refund fund.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Pets will be permitted in The Link subject to certain policies and rules. Please see Appendix II Pet Policy to this FAQ for details.
The Landlord will provide appliances to the first tenant who moves into the suite, and those appliances are the property and responsibility of the tenant. Accordingly, the tenant is responsible for any repair or replacement of those appliances. When tenants move out of The Link, the tenants may take their appliances with them or sell them as they see fit.
The tenant cannot alter or improve his or her Winnipeg Life Lease suite without the prior written permission of the Landlord. Any permitted improvement made to the suite, except for appliances and window coverings, becomes the property of the Landlord when the tenant moves out. The Landlord may require the tenant to return the suite to its original condition (excepting reasonable wear and tear) when the tenant moves out.
Balcony enclosures will not be permitted.
Tenants will have to abide by the Landlord’s non-smoking policy. The current non-smoking policy is attached as Appendix III. Smoking will be permitted only on balconies and at certain outdoor locations designated by the Landlord.
The Landlord may have other policies, rules and regulations for The Link which will be provided to the Winnipeg Life Lease tenants prior to occupancy, or thereafter as the Landlord formulates them. The Landlord reserves the right to change the policies from time to time; the Landlord will provide notice of revised policies to all tenants.
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