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A partnership of Terra Housing and Lumina Services, Terra Lumina specializes in social-purpose real estate, giving non-profit groups in B.C. the opportunity to develop seniors' housing tailored to their members and the local community.
A life lease is a form of pre-paid lease that offers a level of security and protection from the real estate market not found in standard condominium projects.
In a life lease, the resident pays an entrance fee (the cost of construction) to a non-profit society, which owns the building on title. This buys the resident the right to occupy the unit of their choosing in the development for as long as they so chose (the lease itself is typically 30 years less a day for tax purposes).
During the period of their occupancy they pay monthly fees, similar to condo or strata fees, which cover the maintenance and replacement reserve costs associated with the unit. Then, when the tenant decides to move or is no longer able to live independently the non-profit society returns the entrance fee to the resident, or their estate, directly, minus a small fee to refurbish and re-market the suite. In exchange for the simplicity provided by a life lease the resident gives up the capital appreciation on their suite. But, the non-profit society, being interested in providing affordable housing options for people who want to be able to age in their home communities, will not resell the unit at market value.
The life lease method is an excellent way for non-profits to finance the construction of seniors housing, without the need for major government subsidies or large mortgages.
Residents typically finance the purchase of a life lease unit with the sale of their existing home. Downsizing enables them able to help pay for their retirement using the equity saved in their previous home and by reducing the costs of home operations and maintenance