November 23, 2017

Goodbye, Carlex. Hello, Better Retirement Housing

Not without sadness, the trustees of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership have decided to close the website of the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation.

It has been replaced with a new site called Better Retirement Housing, www.betterretirementhousing.com

This site includes all the news archives and comments of the old website.

We had been feeling for some time that the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation was a bit negative and confrontational.

Certainly, leasehold tenure is the root source of many problems in this sector.

For a start, it explains why offshore tycoons are involved in it, hoovering up freeholds and their lucrative legitimate and more questionable income streams.

It explains why housebuilders have open season dreaming up revenue earners in leases, to the detriment of their own customers. Doubtless they are advised by those who counsel on “maximising ground rents”, such as the present chairman of the taxpayer-funded Leasehold Advisory Service, which is supposed to protect leaseholders.

But there is change in the sector (and leasehold generally, owing to the extraordinary ground rent scandal of new-build leasehold houses and flats, which LKP is primarily responsible for exposing www.leaseholdknowledge.com).

In retirement housing new practitioners and businesses are offering more imaginative solutions to housing the elderly.

New trade bodies such as Associated Retirement Community Operators seek a fresh beginning and a break with the sins of the past – sins that were only exposed thanks to the efforts of Carlex.

Many newcomers to the sector are care providers, where there are certainly complex charges, but where the freehold is not sold and where the management of the site is the core part of the business.

In these circumstances, a retirement property purchase is more akin to membership of a club. There is talk of dropping leasehold tenure altogether, replacing it with a licence to occupy.

In sometime operators there is even an undertaking to re-purchase the property at only slightly less than the original price.

That ensures these properties do not see the calamitous collapse in re-sale values, which have been such a striking feature of so many retirement properties.

For all these reasons, the focus of Carlex seemed too narrow and we were contemplating a change of name.

A push then came when an anonymous US purchaser – unrelated to retirement housing – offered a decent price for the Carlex domain names.

This was a welcome contribution to the slender finances of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership charity, so we decided that the lease was up on Carlex.

We will do our best to make sure that we put the money to good use.

Comments

  1. Michael Epstein says:

    In case anyone is wondering who will be first to post on this site: Wonder no more! i Whilst I fully understand that the “game has moved on” necessitating a change of emphasis, there are still people who live in retirement developments that are being exploited by some companies. The latest example (to name but one) is residents being charged 20% VAT for communal electricity when the correct rate is 5%! Only when challenged do this company offer a refund. I trust this site will continue to give a voice to victims of the worst excesses of retirement development management. I wish this site well in its important endevours.

    • Congratulations, Scourge of Peverel!

      You are right on all points.

      I don’t think we are going to cease doing what we have always done.

      Retirement leasehold has been too longed neglected owing to the massive progress in leasehold generally, owing to developers scoring a spectacular own goal by cheating their own customers with doubling ground rents, rendering them unmortgageable.

      Well, we did not predict that!

    • Well done Michael you are always first in my book.

  2. Remember also residential leaseholders who are being fleeced on a daily basis also,we can not see sell our flats, as our freeholder suddenly comes up with £10,000 to £30,000 we owe going back fifteen years,this happens just as we start advertising our flats, he owes around 100,000 on his flats , however he writes his debts off, plus if he buys our flats he write the debt off on ours also.

  3. Goodbye Carlex and welcome Better Retirement Housing!
    Absolute godsend to the uninitiated in the perils of onerous landlords and service charges. Opened up my eyes to the extent I must get out. Nearly there….away from the McCarthy Stone/Tchenguiz/Firstport circus which has somehow lost nearly £40k off my property. Any other residential property would be worth +£30k on the original value back in 2007. Latest concern is Firstport estate manager telling estate agents and viewers that only Retirement Homesearch are the company to be used in selling M&S retirement flats.
    When the flat is sold I will start my campaign and they will wish they had never heard of me!
    Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Chris,

      Good Luck with your escape! And greatly look forward to learning what campaign you’re planning.

      I’m presuming that one of the things you’ll be stung with will be an ‘Exit Fee’. If so, and you’re considering Small Claim Court action to try and get it refunded, contact Sebastian via this website for my private details.
      I believe my Claim was unsuccessful, not because it wasn’t valid, but because I took the case myself against the Fairhold barrister, and made basic mistakes. The naughtiest trick they played was to present their defence on the day of the hearing, and not in the proper time to enable me to study it. However, I’ll happily provide their defence to anyone who wants to take them on. You would have AMPLE time to consider their arguments!
      There was one sweet moment for me, though. It is most unusual for costs to be awarded in a Small Claim Court, so I wasn’t too troubled about the £10,000 costs Fairhold threatened me with. However, there was a small risk – so I enjoyed the moment the judge denied them costs. Their ‘win’ cost them considerably more than the Exit Fee I stood to have refunded.

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