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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose The Vines at Bethlehem?

You are in the very best hands. When Tauranga’s long-established, highly respected Mills Reef winemaking family decided to create a retirement village on their flagship Bethlehem site, they were determined it would be something special. So they teamed up with Classic Builders, the Tauranga-based firm that has become New Zealand’s fifth largest residential building company. The wine makers and the builders share an impeccable track record, unswervingly high standards and a tendency to win national awards.

For residents this means two trusted names, two guarantees of quality.

And of course the location is unbeatable. Tauranga’s relaxed coastal lifestyle and warm, sunny climate are poorly-kept secrets among retirees, who move here and help the vibrant city grow and prosper. Since the forward-thinking Preston family created their winery on the 12-ha site in the early 1990’s,
Bethlehem’s orchards and farms have given way to a lovely, leafy, safe suburb notable for its beautiful homes and strong community heart. The Vines at Bethlehem offers resort-style facilities in an idyllic location.

We know you will feel at home here.

What will my home at The Vines look like?

Naturally, the village’s architecturally designed, modern houses are warm and comfortable and easy to live in, with high quality fixtures and fittings. But we have gone to great lengths to ensure they have that ‘homely’ feel, too. Your home will be situated in gracious, magnificently landscaped grounds, in a neighbourhood that loves its old, established trees.

We offer a range of housing options to suit your needs; whether you prefer a cosy space within reach of others, or you value space and privacy. Choose from a selection of two or three bedroom villas, in both detached and duplex configurations.

These homes are surprisingly affordable.

What facilities will I find on site?

The moment you move to The Vines at Bethlehem, you may enjoy the village’s dedicated clubhouse facilities. Inside, a series of tastefully designed rooms offer a snooker table, library, dining area, modern kitchen and a lounge with open fireplace. Those seeking more active pursuits will relish the pool and outdoor entertaining areas.

As the village develops the iconic Mills Reef Winery building will be transformed into a new, impressive community clubhouse. It will house relaxed living spaces, craft and card rooms, a woodworking workshop, beauty salon, and spacious lounge areas for resting and socialising with friends. For quiet and contemplation head to the media room, the chapel, or the extensive library, with nooks that invite you to tuck up with a book.

When the day – or the evening – calls for action, play snooker or pool with friends, or enjoy the gymnasium and a heated 15m indoor lap pool, or spa pool. A barbeque area, putting green, bowling green and croquet lawn will be connected via extensive walking tracks that feature benches for resting and conversing with friends.

A medical facility is also planned for the new clubhouse. Regardless, experienced staff are always available on site to provide assistance if you need support.

What will I find nearby?

Shopping and dining opportunities abound literally at the end of the street, be it boutique stores, fine dining, everyday grocery shopping, garden centres, or a treat shared at an outdoor café table. Should you need more, the downtown core is an easy five-minute drive. Drive a further five minutes and the resort town of Mount Maunganui abuts the region’s famously white, sandy beaches.

Excellent medical facilities – doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists – are within
strolling distance, while the city boasts excellent public and private hospitals.

Walking trails, golf courses, tennis clubs, hot pools, churches, social clubs and plenty more are minutes away too.

Tauranga’s central location and accessible regional airport makes it easy to venture further afield.

What if I go on holiday? Who looks after my home?

Just let us know you are going away and we’ll ensure your home is secure and the garden maintained in your absence.

Are guests allowed to stay with me?

Absolutely! We expect friends and family may want to visit you in your home for a few days or perhaps even a week or two and they are welcome to use communal village facilities. To discuss longer stays – more than 40 days – please give our manager a call.

How will I receive information as a resident?

Our reputation is everything to us. It is therefore essential that we communicate clearly, courteously and well with our residents.

Individual residents are welcome to discuss village operations or raise any concerns with our very approachable manager, who will also meet regularly with our residents’ committee. We will keep residents up to date on essential matters through regular newsletters and a communal noticeboard. For urgent matters, we can send an email or drop a note in your letterbox.

We pride ourselves on solving any small problems well before they become large ones.

What about pets?

In special circumstances, residents with a small dog or cat may be able to have them join them in the village for the remaining life of the animal. As consideration is given on a case-by-case basis, please discuss this with our manager.

How will you take care of my safety?

Residents’ homes are built with safety and security in mind. Each unit is fitted with several call buttons, to ensure help can be rendered within minutes.

Our onsite manager also ensures the village is secure. Regular security patrols will be supplemented with closed circuit television systems in essential areas such as entry gates. Once completed, the main clubhouse will feature round the clock staffing.

A 24-hour emergency call system is also available, supported by modern monitoring and alarm systems.

What if my health or mobility declines?

The villas are designed to enable easy mobility and we will gladly work with you to ensure your home meets your needs for as long as possible. If required, we can make modifications to areas such as the bathrooms. Just let us know what you require and we’ll discuss any additional costs.

Who owns my home in the village?

In order to live in a villa or duplex at The Vines, you will purchase an Occupation Right Agreement (ORA). This is different from a title. Instead, it’s a very specific kind of residents’ licence that is governed by the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and is common to almost every retirement village in New Zealand. It’s also regulated by the Registrar of Retirement Villages and the industry Code of Practice 2008. The title to the land and buildings remains with The Vines At Bethlehem.

What is included in an Occupation Right Agreement (ORA)?

An ORA grants you the right to occupy a villa or duplex for life. It also allows access and use of all facilities at The Vines at Bethlehem. It is a detailed legal document that sets out the relevant terms and conditions and complies with provisions of the Retirement Villages Act 2003. It covers things like the way the village is managed, fees, safety and security, complaints and disputes procedures, and much more.

When you decide to move into the village and deposit your entry payment, you will sign an ORA that must be witnessed by your solicitor, who is obliged to clearly explain all your rights and obligations. This agreement expires only when you leave the village.

Do I have any further legal responsibilities?

As you would expect, there are some sensible rules that govern living in the village. These are designed to protect the rights and lifestyle of residents and are provided with the document pack for new residents. We are happy to provide you with a copy at any time.

What happens when I leave?

When you permanently leave your villa or duplex, your ORA will terminate. It is then our responsibility to re-sell the ORA on your home and there is no additional charge for sales, marketing, administration and refurbishment (providing there is only minor wear and tear). You will receive payment once the new, incoming resident has completed their purchase. The sale process is governed by the Retirement Act 2003 and Code of Practice 2008.

If there is a time lag between your departure and the new ORA sale, you will need to cover the weekly fee (we still have to pay rates and insurance etc.). However, if the sale takes any longer than six months, the fee drops to 50%. We are happy to provide a copy of our disclosure statement.

What happens if I change my mind about purchasing?

If you change your mind within 15 working days of signing the ORA, we will cancel the agreement and refund your deposit in full.

We’re confident you will love living in the village and we want you to ensure you are happy with your decision. So, should you wish to leave the village, we provide you with a money-back guarantee for a period of six months following the date of occupation. We will then resell your home and refund your entry payment (terms and conditions apply).

How are my rights protected?

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 requires the appointment of a statutory supervisor – in our case, it’s Covent Trustees Services – who represents the interests of residents. The statutory supervisor will deal with all financial transactions that relate to ORAs, review the village’s annual accounts, and act on behalf of residents where appropriate.

What’s more, the same legislation covers specific disclosure and reporting obligations to residents. We are required to submit a comprehensive financial report at the resident’s Annual General Meeting. This report includes profit and loss accounts and forecasts. These accounts are audited and are reviewed by the Statutory Supervisor.

The Vines at Bethlehem is registered with the Retirement Villages Association.

What is the Code of Practice?

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 requires a village to observe the Code of Practice which sets out minimum standards for operating a retirement village. These include:
• Staffing of the village
• Safety and personal security of residents
• Fire protection and emergency management
• Transfer of residents within a village
• Meetings
• Complaints facility
• Accounts
• Maintenance and upgrading
• Termination of Occupation Right Agreement by operator or resident
• Communication

A copy of the Code of Practice will be provided to you when you apply for an
Occupation Right Agreement.

What if I need more details?

We are happy to provide you and your solicitor with copies of any of the documents mentioned here including the ORA, code of practice, and disclosure statement.

More information about the Retirement Villages Act 2003 can be found on the
Commission for Financial Capability Website at www.cffc.org.nz.

What if the market drops?

We all know the housing market is prone to fluctuation and this can affect retirement villages, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about capital loss. Even if we have to re-sell your ORA for less than you paid, you’ll still receive your entry payment minus the pre-agreed village amenities contribution.

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